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American (Elgin?) Watchmaker's Lathe
Elgin Home Page

A 76-page full-range catalogue circa 1920/1930 with
screwcutting charts and details of other Elgin products is available

Believed to have been removed from the Elgin National Watch Co. factory, this heavily-built, 3.125-inch centre height watchmaker's lathe with a 16-inch long, cantilever-form, flat-topped, bevelled-edged bed was obviously intended for production use. Unusual in having a vertically disposed 4-station turret - a "revolver" type as also used on Pittler  capstan lathes - the lathe has a number of unusual features including a swivelling top slide with a very short travel operated by a handle on the end of a universally jointed shaft. The one drawbar collet surviving with the lathe (5/16" capacity with a thread of 0.266" and 6.76 mm in diameter) is unusual in not being split and likely to have been made for a special job
Of especially robust build, the headstock featured spindle bearings with a 4-bolt cap at the front and a 2-bolt at the rear and, like other makes of lathe found in watch factories, the collet-closer was fitted  an operating linkage could be arranged for hand or foot-treadle operation - exactly like the Ames lathe shown part way down this page.
Of ingenious construction, the capstan head had just 4 tool holders - when 5 or 6 might have been expected - and featured automatic rotation when a spring-loaded thumb latch was depressed,  the drive being by a round belt that looped over a large diameter pulley surrounding the upper section of the casting at its forward end. Tool feed could be either by hand on all four spindles (using a long, wooden-handled lever) or, on just one of them, under power with a small pulley, to take a round belt, driving a central shaft that connected, through a sliding gear, to the spindle in question. Instead of direct fitting tools in the capstan head the lathe used a collet fitting, these On the machine shown below each of the tool holders had been fitted with solid brass tips ready to be machined out.
One can only speculate about the drive system fitted originally but this would almost certainly have included some form of "overhead" (rather like the systems shown here), with pulleys arranged to drive not only the capstan-head but also high-speed grinding and milling spindles held in the toolpost..



Elgin Home Page

A 76-page full-range catalogue circa 1920/1930 with
screwcutting charts and details of other Elgin products is available


American (Elgin?) Watchmaker's Lathe
E-MAIL   Tony@lathes.co.uk
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