Fell Wood lathes Page 2
Based at the Bridge Iron works in Windermere in the Lake District, W.F.Fell was founded in 1869 and became one of the leading UK makers of woodworking machinery. Their output encompassed almost as great a variety of machines as Wadkin and included lathes of all types from simple to complex semi and fully-automatic types, copy lathes, saw benches, shaping, planing and mortising machines, vertical bandsaws, sanders, moulders, and tenoners - and all in a great variety of sizes. So extensive was range that a typical catalogue A5-size would contain over 160 pages.
In the days long before the use of plastic became common for many household fittings, wood was often used and, to meet this need, in addition to conventional wood-turning lathes for between-centres and bowl turning, Fell offered ones dedicated to the manufacture of specific items and specific purposes. Based on the bed of a lathe, these machines were equipped with ingenious mechanisms that allow much of the work to be achieved either semi or fully automatically, with the attention only needed by an unskilled operator. By the 1920s, when the machines shown below were being made, an interesting changeover was underway to machines with built-in motor drives. Previously, most machine tools had been powered from either factory-installed line-shafting or, for smaller enterprises, individual wall or ceiling mounted countershafts. Unusually, Fell manufactured their own motors - and clearly saw extra profits in being able to supply machines complete and ready to fun. While some lathes had the motor fitted in what was to become an industry-standard location - mounted beneath the headstock and driving upwards by a flat belt - others saved money and complexity by using the motor as the headstock. While this arrangement is still occasionally found on lathes made in the 21st century, it does have some drawbacks, notably that when the motor fails it must be replaced by another exactly the same - or one mounted, piggy-back on top driving to a pulley mounted on the other end of its spindle.
As can be seen from the illustrations and text below, Fell listed several different type of drive system--while also offering to supply machines to a customer's preferred requirements..