Providence, Rhode Island, was home to many makers of machine tools including at least four (and possibly five) lathe-manufacturing companies: E.A.Eddy, E.A.Adams, Adams Bros, the Diamond Machine Co. and E.B. Bosworth. Unfortunately, apart from Diamond, little is known about the background to any of them , the historical record being, for the moment, blank. While the simple, plain-turning Adams Bros. Lathe would have been made around 1870 to 1880 and intended just for woodwork, the E.A. Adams machine was of very unusual design and of a somewhat later date, probably from the two decades spanning the 19th and 20th centuries. .
Of 4-inch centre height and 10-inches between centres, the plain-turning (non-screwcutting) E.A.Adams also lacked backgear but had its unusually wide, flat-topped V-edged bed formed from a good-sized box-section casting. However, in a reversal of usual practice this was cantilevered out to the left instead of to the right - an arrangement that would have offered the headstock somewhat reduced support. In fact, so odd is this construction that the writer believes the lathe may have been modified to accommodate the leadscrew - for some reason this needing a reversal of headstock and tailstock on the bed. Lending support to this idea is that an almost identical lathe, the E.B. Bosworth, is arranged conventionally (the headstocks look to be interchangeable). If the arrangement is original then the slender tailstock, with its spindle clamp a crude, direct-acting screw, was better provided for and, when extended to allow the lathe's maximum capacity to be used, was only a little to the right of the main mass of the bed. The headstock, whose bronze bearings were threaded on their ends and, for adjustment, drawn down into their tapered seats by large ring nuts, continued the theme of "flexibility in construction" with the left-hand bearing held on the end of a slender arm and the right on top of a short, un-braced vertical post. On the lathe illustrated, the headstock pulley looks to have been change for one in Zamak, as originally fitted, for example, to the 10-inch Atlas. The pulley may well have been, originally, identical to that used on other versions of the lathe perhaps with the same two wide steps and intended for industrial use - this arrangement being common on lighter and bench precision lathes of the time (a similar 2-step arrangement being used on the headstocks of the W.H.Nichols and (three-bearing) Ames). Threaded on their ends for adjustment and drawn down into their tapered seats by large ring nuts, both headstock bearings were mounted in a light casting with that on the left held on the end of a slender arm cantilevered out to the left and that on the right on top of a short, un-braced vertical post
Although the makers were good enough to specify a compound slide rest this was, unaccountably, carried on top of a vertical slide running in ways formed on the front face of the apron. Although this arrangement meant that the tool height could be quickly and accurately adjusted (by a very small-diameter handwheel) it brought in its train both expense in its manufacture together with even less rigidity between the cutting tool and workpiece.
Bereft of micrometer dials, the compound slide rest feed-screws gave very limited travel while their end-of-slide supports were simple flat plates - and not the type of extended housing that would have allowed the slide extra travel by being allowed to pass over its ways.
Two other lathes of virtually identical appearance and from the same area were the Bosworth, Warren, RI, this too having a flat-topped, V-edged bed and an elevating slide rest (though with just a lever-feed cross slide driven by toggle levers) and the E.A.Eddy, Providence RI, again with just a cross slide but this time moved by rack-and-pinion gearing. It appears incontrovertible that all must be by the same makers and badged, as required, by the customer for sale into the trade.
"tom_boctou" on the Practical Machinery Antique forum has managed to discover that Bosworth has been a well-known name in Warren, RI business circles for a considerable length of time and that both E. A. Eddy and E. A. Adams were in the machinery and jewellery business, both as manufacturers and as resellers, with E. A. Adams & Sons surviving until as late as 1982. A web search revealed a number of obituaries and resumes of ex-employees, so the likelihood is that this was a considerable business; in the Providence Jewelers Circular, of 4 Aug 1920, it says: The EA Eddy Machinery Co has purchased the manufacturing jewelry plant of the HA Kirby Co 85 Sprague St and will sell the tools machinery etc in lots to suit purchasers: and The offices of the EA Eddy Machinery Co have been removed upstairs in their building corner of Clifford and Eddy Sts thus giving additional space for the display of jewelers and general machinery on the lower floor.
Should any reader be lucky enough to own an E.A.Adams lathe, (or an E.A.Eddy, Bosworth or Diamond) the writer would be interested to hear from you..