email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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Goodwin Lathes

Goodwin Lathes Page 2


Goodwin lathes were manufactured by "Goodwin, Engineers" of Leek in Staffordshire - that was the only address ever given - and advertised in the modelling press prior to the Great War of 1914-1918. Goodwin made not only machine tools but drill bits, tools and engine and dynamo sets - the enthusiasm for installing household electricity being in full swing at the time. It is likely that Goodwin made their lathes available to other makers and distributors for "badge engineering" with examples known to have been listed by ly to the London store Gamages and the Irish lathe maker "Booth Brothers of Dublin". However, most of the company's products appear to have been sold direct from the factory via their Blue Book catalogue - this almost certainly being the reason why, with a lack of dealers to promote the name, they failed to become better known. Goodwin's range of lathes was small but covered the needs of the time and varied from simple, plain-turning bench types to proper backgeared and screwcutting models mounted on heavy cast-iron treadle stands. Although the company appears to have concentrated on the amateur market - there were no proper industrial models listed - after 1918, oddly, when demand might have expected to pick up in that market segment, Goodwin seems to have vanished.
As was common practice at the time amongst the many competing makers of small lathes, not all were allocated names or model numbers with just two Goodwin models being afforded this recognition: the "Leader" and "Progress". In 1907 the plain-turning, 3-speed "Leader" was advertised with a choice of  3 or 3.5-inch centre heights and bed lengths of 24-inches for the former and 30-inches for the latter (giving around 12 and 18-inches between centres respectively). Standard equipment was limited, each lathe being supplied with three sizes of hand T-rest and two No. 1 Morse taper centres. Slightly heavier, the backgeared, 6-speed 3" (or 3.5-inch) centre height "Progress" was fitted with a larger spindle, carrying a 3/4-inch nose, a compound slide rest as standard and was sold only as the longer-bed model, on which a gap was optional - although without a bridge piece. A proper BGSC lathe (Back Geared, Sliding and Screwcutting) version of the "Progress" was also offered. This was much better specified and had a fitted gap piece that allowed the carriage (with its T-slotted saddle wings) to run right up to the spindle nose; weighing 90 lbs as a bench model and 160 lbs on a treadle flywheel stand, this model carried a 1-inch diameter 4 t.p.i. leadscrew clasped by twin bronze nuts and 14 DP changewheels.
Prices were modest: when a backgeared and screwcutting flat-bed Drummond for bench mounting was 10 : 10s : 0d the BGSC "Progress" was 40% cheaper at 6 : 5s : 0d (or 8 on a treadle stand compared with 13 : 10 : 0d for a similarly-equipped Drummond). The simple lathes were even cheaper: the short-bed "Leader" was 16s :  6d  (the 30-inch bed could be had for an extra 5 shillings), the long-bed 1 : 1s : 6d whilst 3 : 3s : 6d purchased the non-screwcutting "Progress" (gap bed 5 shillings extra). Although inexpensive, the machines were decently constructed by the standard of the day with spindles in "
machine steel" running in split gunmetal (bronze) bearings. The spindle in the original "Leader" made do with a single bearing behind the spindle nose, with its other end supported against a hardened steel pin - a design widely used at the time (and indeed for many years afterwards) on lighter-duty lathes.
Continued below:

BGSC - backgeared, sliding, screwcutting and gap-bed version of the 3" x 18" "Progress" with fitted with a proper bridge over the bed gap.

Continued:
With two headstock bearings, and end thrust taken against an outrigger assembly bolted to the end face of the headstrock, the spindle of the "Progress" was solid, an indication that the design dated back until at least the late 1890s, the arrangement having largely died out on larger lathes by the start of the 20th century. The maker's claim that the gearing was: "
of correct proportions such that a sweet and steady drive, without chatter or vibration" was pure hyperbolae, the one fault almost guaranteed with light lathes of this era being their uncanny ability to synchronise frequencies and "chatter" at the slightest provocation. Intended to take a round leather (gut) rope drive, both lathes had "nicely polished" 3-speed headstock pulleys in cast iron - though "polished" was almost certainly a euphemism for a part left as-cast. However, to be fair, this was at a time when it was not unusual to find the very cheapest lathes fitted with such components in wood.
Bed ways were planed - no doubt several were ganged up on the table and machined together - and a hint given that hand finishing was employed to "fit them up". The tailstock, or
loose headstock as it was then commonly referred to in the United Kingdom, was fitted with a polished cast-iron handwheel driving a (steel) feed screw and barrel, though the latter was locked by a simple pressure screw. No. 1 Morse centres were used in headstock and tailstock, both in Best Tool Steel. The backgears of the "Progress" were machined from a one-piece casting - the makers taking pains to point out the disadvantages of the cheaper construction used on competing machines with gears keyed to a shaft (or even gears left "as cast") - and slid into position.  However, examination of one of the few surviving "Progress" models would seem to indicate that the screwcutting changewheels were of the much cheaper "as cast" variety
By 1913 the "Leader" had changed somewhat and was being described as:
the cheapest Hollow Spindle lathe in the World. Price is only 21s). The hollow spindle (bored through 3/8") was possible because, fitted with two adjustable taper bronze bearings, end thrust could be taken against the inside of the lefty-hand bearing instead of on an old-fashioned style of outboard plate as previously. Fitted with a 5/8" Whitworth-thread nose the spindle carried a fully-machined 3-step gut rope pulley, the use of as-cast parts no doubt being abandoned due to their less-than-smooth running. The tailstock was also improved with a properly-made, square-thread "machine-cut" barrel feedscrew (the first model is likely to have had an ordinary Whitworth thread) and, most important of all, a split-clamp lock. A compound slide rest could be specified for an additional 18 shillings and sixpence as could a 3-inch ring-scroll 3-jaw chuck, though at 1 : 2s : 6d this cost more than the basic lathe.
Although in advertisements the maker's label says "Goodwins" some literature has the company as "Goodwin". However, in common with many other manufacturers, their name did not appear on the actual lathes. In addition to the then ubiquitous black enamel Goodwin customers could choose amongst finishes in dove, blue or green.
If you have what appears to be a Goodwin lathe the writer would be interested to hear from you..


Goodwin "Leader" plain-turning lathe as advertised in 1907

By 1913 Goodwin's cheapest lathe, the "Leader", had been redesigned to include a hollow spindle running in twin adjustable taper bronze bearings and . The crank-handle driven compound slide rest was an expensive extra.

Engraving of the backgeared, gap-bed Goodwin  "Progress" from 1907

The same "Progress" lathe in 1913 with a gap bridge piece fitted. By this time the makers had economised on the toolpost by making it from a piece of bar rather than a casting. Notice the absence of a maker's name.

One of very few surviving  Goodwin "Progress" models


Goodwin Lathes Page 2

Goodwin Lathes
email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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