Built during February 1968, at the Company's long-established Essex works, the first production Triumph 2000 was the second Model in a new range of lathes introduced by Colchester during the latter half of the decade. Like the first in the Series, the Mascot 1600 (produced from November, 1965), it was a revolution in styling and specification and (though the new models may have lacked mechanical novelty) were a strong reminder that even machine tools are subject to the vagaries and whims of fashion for, with their distinctive 'square' styling, ergonomically-designed controls and bright finishes, the new lathes made their competitors look distinctly dowdy and old-fashioned.
It would be unfair, however, to dismiss the Triumph 2000 as a mere styling exercise for this important and very popular lathe was a tough, well-made machine with a combination of capacity, speed and ease of use that made it ideal as a both general-purpose lathe for industry and, because of its modest price, also affordable by smaller machine shops who needed an all-round workhorse able to handle as great a variety of tasks as possible. So successful was the model that, for some time after its introduction, demand outstripped supply by a considerable margin and used examples were so difficult to find that good ones fetched almost list price.
11 inches (280 mm) wide the bed was induction hardened and ground-finished as standard; it was of the usual Colchester V-and-flat type, with separate pairs of ways for the carriage and tailstock, and available in two lengths that gave either 30 or 50 inches (760 mm and 1270 mm) between centres. Both beds could be had either with or without a detachable gap piece that allowed material up to 23-inches (580 mm) in diameter and 6.125 inches (155 mm) thick to be swung on the (optional-extra) 14 and 21-inch (355 mm or 535 mm) diameter faceplates.
Power was provided by a 5.6 kW (7.5 hp) base-mounted motor that drove through 4 V belts to instant-acting forward-and-reverse "wet" multi-plate clutches of Matrix manufacture mounted inside the headstock on the rearmost layshaft. However, due to a shortage of Matrix components, from Serial No. 28412 German Ortlinghaus clutches were used as well. The headstock casting could be adjusted laterally on the bed, although before altering the factory setting the owner was strongly cautioned to consult the (very comprehensive) owner's manual. The lubrication arrangements for the headstock reflected the harder work that the lathe was intended to perform and used an impeller-type pump mounted on a oil tank fitted inside the headstock-end plinth and driven from a fifth groove on the main drive pulley; from the tank the oil was taken to a "distributor block" fastened beneath the headstock's top cover and from there by pipes to the required locations. A flow-indicator sight-glass was fitted to the front face of the headstock to allow the operator to check that oil was flowing correctly.
With a hardened 6-in D1 Camlock nose the 2.1875" (55.5 mm) bore spindle was especially rigid and had been designed in conjunction with the British Machine Tool Industry Research Association. All the gears in the headstock, and not just those responsible for the main drive as on less heavily stressed Colchester models, were hardened and finish ground on Reishauer machines. 16 speeds were available, from 25 to 2000 rpm and, because of the high top speed and the capacity of the lathe, the makers warned against the use of other than the dynamically balanced, ductile-iron chucks with hardened scrolls that had been specially commissioned from Burnerd; if a new chuck is required on these lathes it would be unwise to fit anything other than one recommended by a reputable Western manufacturer. You are welcome to email for advice as to what is suitable.
Concentrically mounted paddle levers on the front face of the headstock selected the spindle speeds and worked through an ingenious and compact mechanism, with (for a machine tool) an almost foolproof system of colour coding to indicate the settings. Once the motor had been switched on by the headstock-mounted push-button starter the spindle control was by two levers: one pivoted from the right-hand apron wall and the other up against the inner face of the gearbox; both worked through a 'third shaft' (parallel and below the feed shaft and leadscrew) that was connected by links to a cross-shaft that passed through the bed just in front of the headstock. The apron lever gave a stop, forward and reverse action the other just a reverse and stop; in conjunction with the headstock-mounted clutches and electrical switches (and a foot-operated brake) this easily-operated and safe system allowed the operator to control the spindle from either the vicinity of the toolpost or the headstock - and all while the motor was left running so that the minimum of time was wasted waiting for speed to build up (it took 4 to 5 seconds to reach 2000 rpm with a 12-inch chuck fitted) - or slow down. At Serial No. 28412 the mechanical foot-brake was replaced by a Simplatroll spring-engaged, electrically-released unit; moving the clutch control lever into forward or reverse energised the brake solenoid, causing it to release; at the same time the power indicator lamp of the earlier models was replaced by a push button that also energised the solenoid, so allowing the chuck to be rotated by hand (though on some models this facility may be blocked if a high speed is selected).
At serial No. 22096, the knurled edges of the micrometer dials appear to have been changed to a pattern similar in appearance to "truncated chainwheels" (probably for better grip) and, simultaneously, a micrometer dial was fitted as standard to the carriage handwheel - a useful item that had always been on the options' list. At around the same time - or possibly not until Serial No. 28501 - dual metric/imperial dials became available for the top and cross slides and at Serial No. 36035 the auxiliary brake on the end of the headstock shaft was dispensed with.