An interesting attempt by machine-tool makers Drummond Brother to fit their well-known 5-inch lathe with a self-contained drive system, this is a seldom-found machine. The basis of the conversion was a larger cast-iron headstock-end plinth arranged with two pairs of large, bolt-on bearing housings one above the other inside the left and right-hand facing walls. Supported in the lower bearings was a massive, flat-belt drive flywheel machined, on its periphery with a wide gear. Above the flywheel and meshing with it was a gear, this being part of a shaft whose outer end protruded through the left-hand wall of the plinth to be driven by a flat-belt from a remotely-mounted motor. The gear was made (originally) from strips of compressed and glued leather in an effort to quieten and smooth the drive. Whether this machine was a late development, designed to replace the ordinary belt drive model, is not known but, judging by the numbers surviving in comparison with the standard model, few can have been made. However, this was not the only Drummond lathe to be arranged with a "geared-flywheel" drive, the Company persisting with the idea into the 1930s when their successful 3.5-inch flat-bed M-Type lathe was also offered in this form, the "knee-planer" arrangement on this model also incorporating an ordinary treadle drive - ideal for when the electricity supply failed or the machine was moved to a location without power. An interesting toolpost was fitted, a "Norman Patent" type, just like that used on the Maker's M-Type lathe, but larger.
During the first three decades of the 20th century as machine-tool makers got to grips with the need for self-contained lathes, a wide variety of drives was offered - a number being almost uselessly inefficient, hopelessly expensive or horribly dangerous to the operator. However some, like the South Bend "Silent Chain", worked well, though the original inverted-tooth chain was eventually replaced by an ordinary V-belt - before the whole contraption was abandoned in favour of neat, underdrive stands. The American lathe maker Springfield also experimented with a number of overhead drives, some of these including the use of fibre gear to quieten the inevitable racket. The well-known Hendey Company - makers of high-class machine tools - also joined in with their complex system, this being very well-engineered and sophisticated in action but adding between 50 and 75% to the cost of a new machine. As a result, one might wonder how much more expensive this larger knee-planer Drummond was than the standard machine?