Fortune & Rushworth Lathes
Now seldom found, Fortune & Rushworth lathes appear to have been manufactured from late in the Victorian period until around 1919. Based at the Fairfield Ironworks in Shay Lane, Holmfield near Halifax, the Company was originally run by Mr W.H..Fortune, Mr. C.R.Fortune and Mr A.Rushworth, the men trading as "Fortune, Rushworth & Co."
By 1919, just after the end of WW1 when trading condition became difficult and, with the mass cancellation of Government orders, it is likely that some reorganisation took place. The Company was reformed as "Fortune Brothers Ltd" and described as "machine tool makers" with the previously-mentioned W.H. and C.R. Fortune listed as directors.
The lathe shown below, similar to one offered for sale in New Zealand in 2020, is of a desgn typical of the period, though the use of a rear-mounted power shaft to provide a power surfacing feed was, even then, a rather old-fashioned practice. Operated by an awkward-to-use crank handle, the manual feed to the carriage was direct to the bed rack, this "high-geared" mechanism resulting in a small movement of the handle producing a disproportionately large travel of the cutting tool. It took an inordinate length of time for lathe designers to recognise that incorporating a step-down gear train on the carriage feed was of enormous assistance to the operator when he need to manipulate a fine feed.
Unfortunately, little survives in the way of advertising literature to support what happened next to Fortune Brothers Ltd. - and one wonders of any relatives of those who ran the company know anything about it. If a reader can add anything to the story, the writer would be interested to know.