George Gage with his Gage Machine Works was situated in Waterford, NY, approximately ten miles north of another swivel-head lathe maker Robert Hardie. While several surviving Gage swivel-head lathes are known to have survived, they bear little resemblance to the Hardie, a very much lighter machine that has a distinctively "antique" look and was probably made circa 1856 to 1865. PATP. SEPT.4 1888
A robust engine type - though lacking a low-speed backgear, the Gage shown below carries stamped-in text on its cross slide - though no maker's mark - and reads
PATENTED JAN 28 1898
LATHE N° 01908
George Gage (1804 -1892) advertised his swivel-head lathes from as early as 1871. According to Kenneth Cope's comprehensive book "American Lathe Builders" in about 1850 the Company operated as Gage & Campbell - but the sole owner remained Mr Gage (was Mr Campbell perhaps a silent partner, investing in the Company's expansion?). In 1888 the business was turned over to his son, John E. Gage, who operated it until selling out in 1896 - the new owners, Snyder & Metcalf using the Gage name until at least 1905. The swivel-head lathes were offered with swings of 15 and 18 inches in both "engine" form and also equipped as production models when fitted with turrets.
Common on many lathes at the time was a method of obtaining an extra fine feed to the carriage, this being achieved by the incorporation of a supplementary fine-feed drive by a 3-step flat belt attached to a separate power shaft. The drive for this - the pulley can be seen below the tool table-support casting - must have been taken from the bevel shaft. In addition, screwcutting must too have been driven in this way - the changewheels having no connection to the headstock spindle - an interesting set-up indeed. Besides the "direct-drive" belt feed to the power shaft, a slower more positive feed appears to have been possible by meshing a gear on the leadscrew to one on the power-feed shaft.
From the type and disposition of controls on the apron, the lathe appears to have been fitted with both power sliding and surfacing feeds.
If you have a Gage lathe, the writer would be delighted to feature it in the Archive