email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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BUNTING Lathe - Sheffield, England

Other Sheffield-made and branded lathes include: Portass, Faircut, Adept, Flexispeed, Eclipse, Roper & Wreaks, Arundel and Graves



Born in 1842, in Clerkenwell, London, John H. Bunting is listed in the 1891 Census as having had a rather strange occupation: Amateur Tool Maker - though of course this may have been intended as a reference to a maker of tools for amateurs - and in Kelly's directory of 1893 his business address is given as Cherry Tree Yard, Russell Street, Sheffield where he is again described as John Henry Bunting, Amateur Tool Maker, Engineer & Machinist.
Otherwise forgotten, and with no trade references surviving, the  3.5" x 30" Bunting backgeared, screwcutting and gap bed lathe looks to have been constructed between 1870 and 1900. The outrigger spindle end-thrust bearing, the widely-spaced, lightly-constructed headstock bearings (in "boxes"), a perfunctory apron, coarse-pitch changewheels and backgears, the direct-to-rack carriage handwheel and "V" section slots in the saddle all confirm a machine of the mid to late Victorian era - though the relatively fine-pitch leadscrew would suggest towards the end rather than the beginning of the period. One interesting design detail was the use of handwheels with cast-iron spokes and wooden rims on carriage and leadscrew - and solid wooden wheels on the top and cross slides. The latter were set, as was common at the time, to work in a "cack-handed" way, that is, turning the screw "in" made the slide move "out" - this was fine when one became used accustomed to the motion, but hopelessly dangerous when swapping back to as conventionally arranged machine. A handle fitted to the leadscrew end was unusual for a lathe of this size and vintage - though by fitting it at the headstock end, rather than at the tailstock, at least the designer gave the operator a chance of seeing what was happening to the cut as he operated the control. Arranged as a boring table with three "V" pattern slots, the front of the saddle carried a detachable compound slide rest with a typical English-pattern toolpost of the  4-bolt, single-plate type.
One more Bunting is known to survive, a larger example, and still in Sheffield. If you have another the writer, a native of Sheffield, would be interested to hear from you.



email: tony@lathes.co.uk
Home   Machine Tool Archive   Machine-tools Sale & Wanted
Machine Tool Manuals   Catalogues   Belts   Books  Accessories

BUNTING Lathe - Sheffield, England

Other Sheffield-made and branded lathes include: Portass, Faircut, Adept,
Flexispeed, Eclipse, Roper & Wreaks, Arundel and Graves