Long known for their high-quality, professional woodworking machines, the Dominion Machinery Company Ltd. were based in Hipperholme near Halifax. Accredited suppliers to the Government and local authorities, in addition to their range of "Universal" and specialised, single-use woodworking machines, they also offered a range of wood-turning lathes that, at its height, consisted of the very Harrison Jubilee-like 5-inch "Handy"; the 6-inch and 8.5-inch "A.L.1", "A.L.2" and "A.L.3". When fitted with a compound slide rest the entire L.A range all gained an "A" suffix to their model type. The A.L lathes - looking very similar to and obviously inspired by the Wadkin RS - were made in both an original "round-style" from the 1950s and then (with few mechanical changes) in a modern "angular" version from the 1960s. Also manufactured was the 6-inch F.J.A. and an 8-inch version, the Type A.L.Y - these machines competing in the same segment of the market as the hugely popular Harrison Union Graduate,. Very heavily-built, the 6" x 30" or 42" (152 mm x 1016 mm or 1320 mm) ) F.J.A. and A.L.Y. offered a lot of turning capacity in a small space. In addition it enjoyed one compelling advantage, especially for educational and training use: variable-speed drive, a fitting that did not become available on the Graduate until the 1990s. With control by a single lift-and-fall lever on the front face of the stand, this convenient and efficient drive provided a much safer machine - there being no need for students to open covers and move belts from pulley to pulley. The vari-speed system was mechanical, with expanding and contracting pulleys driven by either a 1 h.p. 3 phase motor or a 3/4 h.p. 1-phase motor and gave a useful range from 400 to 2200 r.p.m. (though the top speed was also listed as 2400 r.p.m.) The drive unit (probably by Crofts), was mounted on a single shaft and, using side-by-side expanding and contracting pulleys, was fitted between the fixed motor in the base of the plinth and the headstock pulley. It was arranged to "float" vertically in its hanger and, as it rose and fell, so automatically compensated for the change in belt tension as both pulleys opened and closed. Also fitted was a useful spindle brake, operated by a lever on the face of the headstock. While the slowest speed was ideal for turning large-diameter bowls, the highest was, perhaps, a little too slow for smaller work.
Made from cast iron, the bed was a particularly rigid assembly and bolted to a headstock-end plinth which, though it resembled a casting in appearance, was actually welded steel plate. The plinth held the motor, drive system and push-button, thermal overload-type starter, while the tailstock end of the machine was supported on a lighter, though entirely adequate sheet-steel fabrication. The end face of the headstock had provision for a bolt-on bowl-turning attachment - the adjustment and locking of which was by a single lever operating through a quick-action cam.
Running in sealed-for-life, 40 mm x 45 mm ball races, the No. 3 Morse taper, 3/4-inch (19 mm) bore spindle carried, as standard, a 14-inch faceplate on the outboard end and 6.5-inch on the inner. The maximum capacity for bowl turning was 20-inches (508 mm) in diameter by 6-inches (152 mm) thick - or 14-inches (356 mm) by 12-inches (304 mm) thick.
Unusually for a wood lathe of its size, the tailstock spindle carried a No. 3 Morse taper - making it handy for very heavy drilling - with the whole unit locked to the bed by a cam-action lever.
Standard equipment comprised: full electrical equipment; inner and outer faceplates; cone, standard and screw centres - and the necessary spanners. Available at extra cost were: a rack-driven carriage unit with just a cross-feed slide; a toolholder and seven special cutting tools of various kinds; a bowl-turning attachment; tilting sanding table; deep-hole boring attachment; a tool tray between the stand legs; 1/2" (13 mm) and 3/4" (19 mm) cup centres; chuck backplates, 4-inch (100 mm) and 6-inch (162 mm) 3-jaw self-centring chucks and, of course, a selection of woodturning tools. The standard lathe weighed approximately 812 lbs (368 kg) and the long bed version 1035 lbs (469 kg)..