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Colchester Lathe 1919
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One of what must be few survivors - and the single example seen in recent decades by the writer - this circa 1919 Colchester (Serial number 3068) is unusual for the maker in having (instead of the usual V and flat-ways) a typically English-style all-flat-topped bed with dovetail edges.
Of around 8-inch centre height and 40 inches between centres, it has an all-geared headstock, an externally-mounted tumble-reverse mechanism fitted to the changewheel drive and a separate shaft to power the sliding and surfacing feeds.
Is this really a Colchester? Well, at a time when many makers did indeed re-badged those from other manufacturers as their own, this example does appear to be authentic -  both the name cast into the bed and its general lines (as exhibited by later models from the late 1920s and 1930s) appear to confirm this as the genuine article. However, the apron is completely different, as is the tailstock (with its feed-though hollow barrel), so a slight shadow doubt still creeps inů.