email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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Corbett's XL, XL Junior
and "Little Jim" Lathes

Continued on Page 2 (of 2)

If you have a "Little Jim" or "XL Junior", the writer
would be interested to know


Advertised briefly during 1949, Corbett's "Little Jim" lathe would have been made by either the Winfield Company (local to Corbett's ) or by the engineering works belonging to Mr. Freddie Coals in Woodford Avenue, Southend Road (just off the London North Circular Road) in Woodford Green, Essex. Corbett's, who by 1953 were based in Stanton Hill near Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, were well-known distributers of small machine tools during the 1940s and 1950 and would have commissioned both Winfield and Coles to manufacture various models - of which probably the most successful was the "Granville" (the same two makers probably had a hand in the manufacture of lathes for sale by Randa and Tyzack). Corbett's also marketed a well-made and useful little 7-inch shaper, the maker of which is unknown.
With a 2.25" centre height and taking 12" between centres, the "Little Jim" was offered in three versions: the No. 1 plain-turning, at 17 : 10s : 0d; the No. 1a plain-turning and backgeared for 19 : 10s : 0d and the 1b with backgear, screwcutting and a proper compound slide rest for 27 : 10s : 0d. For an extra 1 all models could be supplied with a longer bed admitting 14 inches between centres. Only one stand was offered, a treadle unit for an extra 10 : 10s : 0d, with a bench countershaft for 3 : 18s : 6d--though of course the electric motor was extra.
As only one illustration of the lathe appears to have been published - for the plain-turning model - it may be that only this type was ever manufactured and then in tiny numbers, the complete absence of the machine on the used market since 1950 lending support to this theory.
Of a decent specification, the headstock held a spindle bored to pass 5/8" running in bronze bearings and carrying a No. 2 Morse taper in its 1.125" x 12 t.p.i.  nose (the same as a Myford Series 7). Drive was by a 3-step V-pulley to take  an "A" section V-belt.
Braced by external ribs, the flat-topped bed had its narrow edges set vertically with, presumably, guidance of both carriage and tailstock by the front and rear ways. The carriage was simple and consisted of saddle with two transverse T-slots surmounted by a single swivelling toolslide without a micrometer dial - but equipped with an American-style lantern toolpost, an English type being available as an alternative. In plain and backgeared forms the 5/8" x t.p.i. overhung leadscrew ran through a full nut and was hand cranked by a balanced handle at the tailstock end. The lathe weighed approximated 65 lbs in its basic form..

Corbett's "Little Jim" plain-turning lathe

Corbett's XL Junior lathe
With its distinctive externally braced bed this was actually a version of the Mk. 1 Winfield and advertised during 1953. With a 3.25" centre height and admitting 14" between centres, a gap-bed was standard and the lathe available in several forms - of which the cheapest was the Model 1 Plain, a version bereft of back gear and screwcutting and listed at 20 : 10S : 0d. An extra 2 : 10s :0d procured the Model 1a with a backgear assembly with a further 5 demanded for the Model 1b, a full screwcutting version with a proper clasp nut on the leadscrew, a single-slot changewheel arm and rack-and-pinion hand drive to the carriage. Driven by a proper, full-sized A-section V-belt, the headstock had a 3-step pulley with the 5/8" bore spindle running in split bronze bearings. The spindle nose was identical to that on Series 7 Myford lathes with a 1.125" x 12 t.p.i. Thread, T-slotted in the proper tradition of small English lathes, the cross slide was fitted with a swivelling  top slide secured by just one bolt at the back - with both slides using balanced handwheels but lacking micrometer dials.
Able to be set over, the tailstock took a No. 1 Morse taper with the spindle passing clear through the handwheels in the manner of that on an ML7.
A small range of accessories was offered including fixed and swivelling vertical milling slides, a 4.75-inch diameter rotary milling table, drive dogs, sets of turning tools, a machine vice and the usual centres, boring bars and electric motors.

The rare "Corbett's" 4 1/4" x 20" XL Lathe - the "Senior" version
Advertised during the 1950s this conventional backgeared and screwcutting lathe was sold by Corbett's but also, in modified form, badged as versions of the Grayson and Warwick. However, almost certainly all versions would have been manufactured in the engineering works belonging to Mr. Freddie Coals in Woodford Avenue, Southend Road (just off the London North Circular Road) in Woodford Green, Essex. Fitted with a 5/8" bore, No. 2 Morse taper spindle running in simple split bronze bearings closed down by set screws, the headstock on some (as above) was held to the 4-inch wide bed by four bolts, but on others by a pair at the front and a single one to the left. A choice of V or flat-belt drive was available, each with a 3-step pulley giving, with backgear, six speeds. The spindle nose was the same as used on the Myford Series 7 lathes - 1.125" x 8 t.p.i. - and the leadscrew 3/4" in diameter with an Acme thread. Four versions of this 170 lb lathe were offered: The XL-1 at 36 : 10s : 0d without a drive system; the XL-2 with a built-on countershaft at 39 : 10s : 0d; the XL-3 on a treadle stand at 55 : 10s : 0d (surely there can have been few takers for that version) and the XL-4 on a stand with self-contained motor drive (but less the motor) at 55 : 10s : 0d.


Another variation on the theme - but this time carrying no maker's or supplier's marking -but almost certainly by F. Coles & Company

A different version of the "Corbett's" 4 1/4" x 20" XL lathe - this being an odd mixture of early Winfield (with clustered backgear inboard of the front spindle bearing) and Pools Special (apron and cross slide end bracket).

What must be a late-model Corbett's 4.25" XL with cast-in Corbett's lettering, V-belt drive with the pulleys clustered towards the spindle nose - also sold with "Granville" badging


Continued on Page 2 (of 2)


Corbett's XL, XL Junior
and "Little Jim" Lathes

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

If you have a "Little Jim" or "XL Junior", the writer
would be interested to know