A Britannia publication is available - a wonderful 225 page technical book detailing the lathes and how to use them - with an emphasis on ornamental turning of which the author, J. Lukion B.A., was an acknowledged expert. The back of the book has an additional and well-illustrated 194-page advertising section.
Thought to have been built from the late 1920s until the early 1930s this 4.5" x 30" gap-bed, backgeared and screwcutting showed some improvements over earlier models. Whilst it retained the maker's traditional long saddle and height-adjustable top slide it had a taper-roller bearing headstock, a very large diameter leadscrew and an unusually wide and heavily-built cross slide - that doubled as a boring table--driven by a screw fitted with a micrometer dial of a decent size. It must have been on of the company's last models constructed with a foot treadle and flywheel assembly, a type of drive system that was listed by many makers into the late 1930s - but seldom ordered.
Britannia No. 14 lathe Photographs below of a splendidly original and unspoilt Britannia No. 14 of circa 1890-1900
Coarse-pitch changewheels demanded a collection of large diameter gears in order to produce a fine carriage feed. Tumble reverse, invented many years earlier, was a standard and useful fitting on most larger Britannia models as was a quick-set hand-turning rest (seen in the foreground by the headstock).
For a comparatively inexpensive lathe, intended for light-duty repair shop and amateur use, the finish of machined parts was of a high standard.
Narrower than the bed ways, and clamped with just a single bolt the designer was unconcerned with maximising the rigidity of the headstock.
Open slideways and unprotected feedscrew were perfectly normal at the time, as was a carriage feed handle operating directly onto a bed-mounted rack. This gave a disproportionately rapid feed quite unsuited to hand turning.
A top-slide with degree markings engraved on its base was a normal Victorian specification - as was a compound slide rest bereft of micrometer dials.
All but the cheapest Britannia lathes had proper split-compression locks on their tailstock spindle
A separate belt was required to use the smaller high-speed pulley on the treadle-powered flywheel.
A Britannia publication is available - a wonderful 225 page technical book detailing the lathes and how to use them - with an emphasis on ornamental turning of which the author, J. Lukion B.A.,was an acknowledged expert. The back of the book has an additional and well-illustrated 194-page advertising section.