email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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First UK Emco Unimat Catalogue
1954

Emco Unimat Home Page


Eventually to be distributed world-wide - with importers using a variety of badges on the headstock - the first known advertisement for what was to become known as the Emco Unimat DB200 in the USA, and SL1000 in Europe, has been traced to page 60 in the October, 1954 issue of Model Railroader Magazine and placed by the original American importer Plasticast of Chicago, Illinois and Palo Alto, California. The crude pictures accompanying the text showed not the very first model, but the slightly modified Mk. 1a - now believed to have been the first true production version. It may be that an earlier model was advertised in 1953 - but a search by the writer's German contacts through hobby literature of that year has drawn a blank. However, with post-WW2 production difficulties and material shortages still hampering all industries, it's possible that this first type was never publicised at all, but just offered locally in Austria. The earliest discovered European mention of the lathe was in the February 1955 edition of the popular English magazine "Practical Mechanics". In the UK the lathe was marketed first by J. & H. Smith Ltd. of 16 Harrison street and 6-8 The Headrow, Leeds, who (as sole concessionaires), had 20,000 copies of their first brochure printed in November, 1954, and issued an instruction book, a scanty A5-size publication titled: "First Junior Instructions for using The Emco Unimat Universal Machine Tool". The basic lathe retailed for 27 : 17 : 6d - at the time around three times the average 9 : 5s : 0d weekly wage of a skilled tradesman. If one was wealthily enough to buy an entire outfit - though few in those days of post WW2 austerity were - it came to around 49 , a considerable sum and enough to purchase a Myford ML7.. Marketing was then taken over (at an unknown date) first by "Selecta", an established and much larger purveyor of small tools, as the  "Selecta Universal Metal Workshop" and then by one of the country's largest machine-tool manufacturers and agents "Elliott Machine Equipment Ltd." as the "Elliott Universal Machine Tool". Although this model carried a badge with the designation "SL" in recent years some of Elliott's original advertising literature has caused confusion - they unwisely invented a model designation "Unimat 9" (nine machine in one) when really they should just have listed it using "Emco Unimat SL".
By 1956 USA distribution was in the hands of the American Edelstall Corporation, their first advertisement appearing in
Model Railroader Magazine during September, 1956. Distribution then moved to an organisation called Emco-Lux, almost certainly a tie up between a long-established German-owned European tool distributor and Maier. Finally, with an expanding range of products, and a move into CNC machine tools, Maier grasped the nettle and brought the marketing and distribution in-house. This situation was mirrored in the UK where Maier undertook UK sales through a specially-established subsidiary, EME Equipment Ltd.  However, as might be expected with such a popular little lathe, Sears Roebuck and Co. in the USA (and Simpson-Sears Ltd. in Canada) were also involved and used their buying power to obtain supplies sold under one of their usual snappy and memorable model designations: 736.21410. .



Emco Unimat Home Page

First UK Emco Unimat Catalogue
1954
email: tony@lathes.co.uk
Home   Machine Tool Archive   Machine-tools Sale & Wanted
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