email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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Booth Brothers of Dublin Lathe

Booth Brothers were known for their woodworking tools, treadle-powered grinders and similar devices - but whether some or all of these were manufactured in-house or re-badged from other makers, is not known. However, one of their lathes - a backgeared and screwcutting type (that would also have been available as a simple, plain-turning/wood-lathe type) is known to have been made by Goodwin Engineers of Leek, in Staffordshire. However, it is certain that Booth Brothers did manufacture their own machines, one example looking as though it was of a design current during the period 1860 to 1900. This was, for Ireland, an unusual machine - only two other lathe makers native to the country are known: Kennan & Sons, of Fishamble Street, Dublin - well known for their range of high-quality machines aimed at the amateur market including a number of superb ornamental-turning lathes  - and Sheane Brothers in Wicklow, who produced a very ordinary, plain-turning type.
A simple lathe, devoid of both backgear and screwcutting - and of quite ordinary construction - the genuine Booth Brothers had a centre height of around 4 inches and a between-centres capacity of 20". Mounted on a treadle stand consisting of cast-iron standard under the headstock and tailstock ends of the bed and braced by diagonal rods, it carried, supported on metal extensions to the rear, a usual-for-the-time, full-length wooden tool tray. Capable only of wood turning in its basic form, when fitted with the maker's compound slide rest it became capable light-duty metal and turning - thought a lack of backgear would have limited it's performance on larger-diameter and harder materials.
If any reader has a Booth Brother lathe, other machine by them or literature about the Company (or other Irish machine tools), the writer would be very  interested to hear from you..


A Brown Bothers' 4-inch plain-turning lathe from the mid to late 1800

Advertised as Booth's "swing bar overhead gear" this was an accessory made to fit any make of lathe. The device might have suggested that the company were involved in the manufacture of ornamental turning lathes (where such a fitting was common), though no evidence of this survives. The unit was intended to drive toolpost-mounted high-speed grinding and milling heads, a coil spring held inside the cylindrical housing attached to the headstock-end leg providing the tension necessary to keep the driving ropes tight as the slide rest was moved.
This type of single-post "overhead" (as distinct from the later and more common type with two supporting posts) was introduced early in  the 19th century with, as an example, the English Muckle lathe being shown as an example in Holtzapffel's book and also described in the 1816 book The Turners' Manual (by P. Hamelin-Bergeron) as
a new system lately arrived from England.


A Goodwin lathe carrying a screw-on badge proclaiming "Booth Brothers Dublin"

Typical-for-the-time compound slide rest. The feed screws would have been fitted with (detachable) crank handles


Booth Brothers of Dublin Lathe
email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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