email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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Fortis & Broadway Lathes


Sold during the late 1940s and early 1950s - and an interesting development of the Clausing 100 Series Mk. 3 - the Fortis was sold through Metropolitan Distribution Ltd. of Truro, England under the name "Fortis", "Fortis Imperial" and (by the Broadway Engineering Company of London N.W.9) the "Broadway". The final incarnation of Metropolitan was a company called Luke Anthony Ltd of Camborne, Cornwall, an organisation known to have survived into the early 1960s. The Fortis was also sold in Canada, with distribution through the Toronto branch of the well-known grinding and machine-tool makers and supply agents Charles Churchill. 
In the late 1940s and early 1950s there was an acute shortage of machine tools on the UK market with very long delivery times and, although the Forties looked, at a glance, exactly like the Clausing, it incorporated numerous small modifications. On examination Fortis castings are, in comparison to those on a Clausing, of decidedly inferior quality and point to small-scale production by a minor foundry. However, there is always the chance that the machines were actually made by an established UK machine-tool builder but then (to hide their origins) marketed through a specially set-up company and adorned with Fortis and Broadways badges.
Consisting of just one type, the range was available in various versions based around two Models: the "Standard" and "Precision" - with the latter described as: "
built to Schlesinger limits for toolroom or production work". In reality, it is unlikely that the lathes were constructed to two different standards and those badged "Precision" would most likely have been examples that came through the post-build alignment tests showing the least deviation from perfection. Spindle speeds were also changed from the American-market model being doubled in number to 12 and ranging from 40 to 2350 rpm instead of stopping at around 800 or so.
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Continued:
All versions of the Fortis were equipped with a screwcutting gearbox and power cross feed with the "
Precision" types listed as: Model E for use on the customer's own bench with the motor positioned behind the headstock (215); the Model E/B fitted to what the distributors called their "base" twin-pedestal stand with the motor contained within the left-hand leg -yet at 259 this was more expensive than the Model E/C mounted on a proper sheet-steel cabinet (again with the motor inside) at 235. An improved specification came with the Model M, a lathe that had the facility to generate 72 metric pitches as well as the normal 48 English ; this version was listed as the M for bench mounting (245), the M/B on a twin-pedestal stand (289) and M/C on the sheet metal cabinet (265). The "Standard" lathes had the suffix S, with the Model S being the basic unit for bench mounting (178) or, if fitted to the full cabinet stand, as the S/C (198). With both English and metric screwcutting the bench lathe was the S/M (210) and the stand-mounted unit the SM/C (229) There was no option to have the cheaper "Standard" lathe mounted on the more expensive twin-pedestal stand.
Although, by the late 1940s, the American-market Clausing 100 had changed considerably in detail from the version first made in the middle of the decade, the Fortis appears to have followed an almost independent development path (or resulted from building a modified copy). However, some features of the early 100 models were retained, including the "split-clamp" type tailstock and the operation lever for the combined spindle clutch and brake mounted on the right-hand side of the headstock. Other differences discovered on the Fortis include: the bed feet, like those on a Raglan lathe, were secured by two bolts at the headstock and, to allow the bed to take up an unstressed position, just one at the tailstock end that was intended to be "nipped down" only enough to stop the machine moving on its bench; the bed had one ground 'V' way at the front that consisted of two sections with a joint in the middle - as a consequence the tailstock ran on the two inner flat ways, a unique departure from usual Clausing practice; the handles for the cross slide and top-slide screws were special items, with (for the era) very large and much-improved 2-inch diameter micrometer dials; the Apron was a 'Fortis special' and, though externally resembling the Clausing "simplified-pattern", was actually a fully-automatic type taking the longitudinal drive from a worm-screw system. The apron it most closely resembled was that used on the Clausing Mark II 100 Series but, unlike those, was of lighter, single-wall construction with lubrication provided (via an oil can) through a fitting on the front - from where it flowed to a small cast-in cup at the rear that allowed a supply to trickle down to the worm-gear mechanism. In addition the Fortis apron (like the early 100 and 200 "simplified" and early 200 series "fully-automatic" types) differed from all later designs (as fitted to the 100, 200, 4800, 5000 and 6000 models) in being secured to the saddle by two bolts instead of four. This was the reason for the characteristic 'stepped-out" front of both Fortis and early 200-Series automatic aprons - a design that involved the use of a correspondingly narrow saddle. The changewheels guard was also different to the American-market lathes, being a rather crude-looking pressing instead of a cast cover.
For more details of the Clausing 100/Fortis lathe go to the Clausing section of the Archive..

Fortis Model E/B and MB on the semi-cabinet stand

Fortis Models S/C and S/M on the full cabinet stand

Fortis Models E and M

Badged as a "Broadway" this Clausing was identical in all respects to the Fortis.


Clausing Lathes

Fortis & Broadway Lathes
email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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