Round drive belts can be supplied for drills like this
in leather and solid or hollow plastic
Until the advent of very cheap, poorly-made and vibration-prone Chinese drilling machines in the 1970s, the options for an amateur machinist seeking something small and within a tight budget were very limited. While plenty of older, 1/2-inch capacity bench drills were on the market, there was little available in the miniature range - save for unsuitably-small watchmakers' types like the IME, the larger but virtually unknown WA-CO; the expensive Oldak and Apex and Italian Micrommeccanica; the impossibly costly (but superb) Swiss-made Aciera and Dixi models and the seldom-found Progress No. 10. Hence, for the amateur needing a small, high-speed drill one of the few options was a "Champion" - it even provided a reasonable substitute for used examples of the much larger, heavier and invariably expensive Jones & Shipman, Pollard and other makes of high-precision, high-speed 1/4-inch capacity toolroom types.
Also badged as a Zyto (as were lathes from various makers) an advantage of the Champion - when compared to the Paco and other similar models - was the use of a properly engineered rack-and-pinion drive to the spindle. While other light drills more often had some form of direct lever control of the spindle, these needed considerable force to be applied with a leverage in the order of four to one. The rack-and-pinion drive overcomes this problem and is, of course, used on most drills of 1/2" capacity and above as part of their standard specification.
The Champion, well-made and finished, was offered in at least two sizes: the popular No. 1 and far less common No. 2, with sales beginning in the 1920s and petering out by the late 1960s. The No.2 was also built in two versions, the type shown below and an improved (and very seldom-found) Mk.2 model with its motor mounted on a vertical plate at the back and driving direct to the spindle. The belt run was guarded by a cast cover with a Champion badge at the front, If you have an example of the Mk.2, pictures would be most welcome.
Aping the style of the smaller "swan-neck" industrial drills as made from Victorian times by such as Denbigh, the Champion was intended to be driven by a motor mounted behind the foot with the drive (by a round leather rope) taken upwards to be turned horizontally by a pair of adjustable jockey wheels before being wrapped around a 3-step pulley to turn the ball bearing spindle. This system, though rather messy when compared to a motor mounted behind the spindle on a support plate, had the distinct advance of allowing almost any old motor to be employed - including ones set up by ingenious means to also drive other machines mounted on the same bench.
While the No. 1 was a comparatively light machine, the No. 2 was much heavier with the thick footplate cast with "Champion No. 2" along the right-hand face and "Made in England" across the front. The top casting on the No. 2 had straight faces top and bottom - those of the No. 1 being concave - with a cast-in bracket at the back of head to carry the jockey pulleys (a steel bar did the same job on the No. 1). The No. 2 has also been found with a guard in cast iron covering the front section of the belt run - but it is not known if this was a standard fitting or an option; the writer being of the opinion that the latter was more probably the case. When new, each drill carried a rather fine maker's transfer applied to either the right or left-hand side of the top casting. On a gold background, with red and black lettering, this stated "Champion. Made in England" and the Model Number; however, if the sticker is missing (though usually, they have survived) a quick check of the previously mentioned differences will quickly determine what is being offered even if the photographs are of poor quality.
If you have a Champion No. 2, either a Mk.1 or Mk.2, the writer would be delighted to have a set of high-resolution photographs to add to the Archive.
Other simple, lightweight drill presses include the Cameron, Baby Grand, Baldwin, Dixi, Dumore, Hamilton, Hauser, IME, Micromeccanica, Oldak and Apex, Paco, Progress No.10, Ruka, Schaublin and WA-CO..