Elson Watchmaker's Lathe
Other Lathes for Watchmakers
Little known and seldom found, the 8 mm Elson watchmaker's lathe might have been manufactured by Thomas Haulton in Johnstown, PA. Either a direct copy or a badge-engineered German-made Leinen, examples of the lathe are found only in the United States - with one having a faceplate stamped Boley & Leinen and Leinen being the same German company - an explanation of that curious fact can be found here. Another lathe re-branded and sold in the USA was the Leinen WW80, this being marketed as the Paulson 8 mm "Supreme".
Mr Haulton also sold a lathe branded with his own name and claiming "Made by Thos.Haulton Johnstown PA"
Although some examples of the Elson have been found in a black crackle paint finish, the one shown below is chrome-plated - whereas all genuine Leinen lathes were finished in a much duller and "softer" nickel plate. However, the possibility exists, of course, that it was refinished at some point post 1930 when chrome plating first became widely available.
Of the very popular WW (American Webster Whitcombe) type, a design introduced around 1889, the Elson, in its handsome plated finish, would have proved to be a rugged and reliable little lathe. The centre height of all genuine WW-type lathes was usually 50 mm, though very occasionally 65, 70 mm and other figures are encountered. Of heavy construction, the bed was formed with a 37 mm-wide flat on the top and a 60-degree bevel along each edge, and carried a headstock spindle to accept 8, 10 mm or 12 mm collets (though again, exceptions exist and odd, in-between sizes have also been found).
In recent years a number of Elson lathes have come to light, all identical and all stamped on the end of their beds with the maker's name and a serial number.
Should any reader have an Elson lathe, the writer would be very interested to hear from you.