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George Adams of London
"Ehrlich Treadle-stand" Lathe

George Adams Home Page   

Based in High Holborn, London, England George Adams (sometimes calling themselves "The Pittler Company") were machine-tool dealers, manufacturers and assemblers who also commissioned various makers, in the UK and Europe, to make machine on their behalf - with some being copies, not originals, of existing designs by Lorch, G.Boley, Wolf Jahn and Portass. The company sold a very wide variety of lathes (and associated tooling) and were best known for their small machines aimed at watch, clock and instrument makers. However, Adams had strong connections with Germany and was, for many years, the UK representative for the Pittler Company and also sold larger lathes almost certainly manufactured by Oscar Ehrlich - a well known and long-established lathe maker with premises in Chemnitz.
Below is shown a rather unusual - and early - treadle-powered lathe branded for George Adams, but probably made by Ehrlich in Germany circa 1880 to 1914. With a centre height of around 6 inches and a capacity between centres of perhaps 20 inches, although the lathe was of the simple plain-turning type - and so bereft of screwcutting and even a slow-speed backgear - it was fitted with worm-and-wheel indexing gearing on the headstock spindle. In addition, unlike many such lighter lathe where the left-hand end of the spindle was supported against an adjustable, hardened point, on the Adams-Ehrlich two bearings were used, with that on the left - from its external appearance - probably being adjustable to move the spindle in and out and so set the clearance in a front tapered bearing.
Of the cantilever type, the bed was cast with an integral chip tray, this being formed so as to support the tailstock end of the bed and so add, perhaps, to the overall rigidity of the structure (another contemporary small lathe that also used the same arrangement was branded both Colchester and brown Brothers). Of the "trumpet" type, with a single central plinth, the stand incorporated its own neatly engineered, built-in treadle drive with flywheel, a not uncommon design for the time and also found on the German Pittler B2, Weisser 2.5" precision and later on the English (or Australian) Jen-Son, Jackson-Rigby and "David". In later decades the design - though without the treadle - was also used on examples that included the English Mellor, French Siome Covema and Swedish VLG. On the front of the stand, just below George Adams badge, was a series of cast-in letters and digits, the latter reading 190737. Might this be the date of manufacture and the serial number i.e. 1907 and the 37th machine made?
A proper compound slide rest assembly was fitted, the top slide being of unusually large proportions and provided with slight depression in the handly storage of cutting tools and a degree-graduated scale inscribed into the top face of the cross slide. As was usual at the time on small lathes, no micrometer dials were fitted to the feed screws while the handles were of the
less-than-easy-to-use detachable crank type. Of the simplest kind, the toolpost was a block of metal in the shape of a triangle, the apex incorporating a screw that allowed the unit to be levelled according to the depth of cutting tool in use..

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