Brown & Dandy Catalog 1940 Dandy Catalog 1940 Model P Photographs
Long forgotten, until recent times when two examples of their lathes were found, the Brown Machine Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, was founded in 1889 by one John J. Brown and grew steadily through the succeeding 20th century. By 1937 the company had moved into a large new factory - the trading address given as 14-16 North May Street, Chicago, Illinois - and by then was being run by Mr Brown's son, Thomas E. Brown.
When the company ceased production is unknown, but one imagines that, as an engineering concern they are likely to have survived WW2 - but afterwards disappeared.
According to their sales literature, by the late 1930s Brown Machine was making a limited range of lathes including their top-of-the-range model the rather South-Bend-like Model "F", a backgeared 10-inch swing machine with a No. 3 Morse taper, 0.75-inch bore spindle running in Timken taper roller bearings, a quick-change screwcutting and feeds gearbox and mounted on an underdrive plinth in cast iron; astonishingly, not a single example one of this type has yet been found. The apron held the expected worm-and-wheel reduction gearing - driven by a key running a slot machined down the length of the 0.75-inch diameter, 8 t.p.i. leadscrew - that provided power sliding and surfacing feeds, the drive being through turn-knob-operated friction clutches. The headstock-end support plinth contained the drive system, this using a patented system that allowed the flat belt to be moved from pulley to pulley by means of sliding belt-guide arms - a method also used on some Schaublin lathes of the same era. Final drive to the headstock spindle was by a 1.25-inch wide flat belt. Amusingly, the recommended motor power was just 0.25 h.p. - today, a motor of that size would barely drag the spindle round in the slowest speed.
While lathe with an "F" designation were fitted with "friction power feeds", a cheaper version was also available, the "P" - standing for "plain" - this model lacking the power-feed apron but also offered in both 9 and 10-inch swing versions with screwcutting by either changewheels or quick-change box. Bench lathes were also listed, the Model "SP" being a backgeared type with screwcutting by changewheels and power sliding and surfacing feeds from the same type of apron as used on the "F". The spindle on this model was increased in size to take 1-inch capacity collets and the drive, by flat belt over a 3-cone pulley, arranged to come from an integral, rear-mounted countershaft. Confusingly, the next models in the range, all bench-mounted machines, used the same model designations as the underdrive types with, again, "F" when fitted with power feeds and "P" when without. The bench type could, however, be supplied on cast-iron standards - simple legs - though in the two catalogs for far discovered, 1937 and 1940, these are not illustrated.
For the more impecunious customer, Brown also offered their "Dandy" range of bench lathe with plain bronze headstock bearings. The most expensive was the Model "SP Dandy" with screwcutting by changewheels, a one-inch collet capacity, a built-on, 3-speed countershaft using a flat belt - but no power-feed apron. The "F Dandy" was another 9-inch model, this retaining the power-feed apron but being supplied with a separate countershaft for wall or ceiling mounting. Another drive system offered for some models was an overhead type, similar to that used on a number of early Sheldon lathes.
The full range - as it was in 1937 - consisted of lathes marketed as "Brown" in underdrive 9 and 10-inch sizes with screwcutting gearboxes the Types P, F, SP and SF together with 9 and 10-inch versions with screwcutting by changewheels the Types P, F, SP and SF. A complete, parallel range was offered in bench form that used identical model designations - and every lathe was available with between-centres capacities of 16, 22, 28, 40 and 76 inches. The cheaper "Dandy" range, again, duplicated all the foregoing but, as mentioned, with plain bronze rather than roller bearing headstock spindles.
By 1940 some changes had been made with the S and SF having a modified gearbox with the lower selector changed from a horizontal sliding type to 3-position quadrant operation and a separate shaft added to drive the sliding and surfacing feeds. As a consequence, the apron was also redesigned being deeper and having the power sliding and surfacing engagement mechanism changed to a more easily operated type using a quadrant selector and eccentric engagement lever. The full range of Brown and Dandy lathes made during the late 1940s can be seen here in the catalogs for 1937 and 1940. With war threatening and the likelihood of an increased demand for production lathes, the Company added at least one capstan lathe to their range, the Type TLL. This was a straightforward conversion of an existing engine lathe into a simple, hand-operated machine and intended for economical use in a small shop dealing with sub-contract work or engaged in the mass production of straightforward components.
Should you have a "Brown" or "Dandy" lathe (just two are known) - or one that resembles them - the writer would be interested to hear from you. Continued on Pages 2, 3, 4 and 5.