Etzenberger Frérs (Etzenberger Brothers)
Built in the Swiss town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, in the canton of Neuchâtel in the Jura mountains a few kilometres south of the French border, the Etzenberger Frérs is an unusual lathe. Displaying the usual decorative forms and fine mechanical finish so typical of its type, the lathe resembled a set of very large "turns" -but with a complete, heavily constructed headstock carrying a 3-step pulley for drive by a round belt. As displayed, the lathe is not the wrong way round, but arranged for "left-hand" working, a set-up popular amongst some European watchmakers. A novel feature - perhaps unique - was the use of a rack-and-pinion driven tool holder, this being carried on a solid steel bar sliding through a pair of brackets on the front face of the headstock. In addition a second bar, parallel to the first, was arranged to pass down the headstock spindle, both being moved simultaneously by a 3-spoke handwheel set to the right. This odd arrangement, together with the very short travel, perhaps 50 mm or so, suggest that this might have been a lathe constructed for some special production purpose in a watch or clock factory. The lathes design, together with the use of an acid-etched, ink-filled badge in brass to carry the maker's name, indicates a machine constructed during the late 19th century into the early 20th. This confirmed by a lineage advertisement that appeared in
l'Impartial, a daily newspaper in la Chaux-de-Fonds, dated 17 May 1910
"Looking for a young boy to run errands between school hours. Contact 13 rue Jaquet-Droz, MM Etzensberger freres." A "commissionnaire" would probably have been a glorified errand boy.