Founded in 1889 by William A. Greaves and Herman H. Klusman the Greaves-Klusman Company was based in Cincinnati, Ohio, the home town of the two owners. Early days were spent in premises on Second Street, near Plum, with early advertising literature stating that their aim was to "... manufacture machine tools and woodworking machinery.". Obviously well capitalised - in their first year of trading over twenty men were employed - by 1898 a move had been made to a new and much larger factory of sixty thousand square feet on Alfred and Cook streets where one hundred and twenty five "skilled mechanics" were employed. By the 1920s the firm appeared to have concentrated production around a range of heavy-duty metal-turning lathes distinguished from their competitors not only by an unusual control mechanism for the selection of headstock-spindle speeds - but through the use of an all-geared headstock arranged along the lines of the sliding-gear transmission used in automobiles. Instead of a separate control for the clutch, in the Greaves-Klusman lathe a single movement of a vertical lever, in or out, engaged or disengaged the clutch while a further movement of the same lever, to the right or left (in plainly-marked notches) instantly selected any of 10 spindle speeds without stopping the lathe - and with the tool still cutting. Self-locking, the selector lever worked in connection with the notched segments and a direct-reading index plate to form a simple control system - the extreme movement from low to high speed occupying an arc of 70 degrees.
All headstock gears were made from chrome-nickel steel, hardened and heat treated - with the bores ground concentric with the pitch circle - and ran on shafts which were hardened and heat-treated. Lubrication was effected by the lower gears splashing oil throughout the box, with an externally-mounted sight-glass indicator on the front of the headstock to check the level.
Controls to reverse the carriage drive were fitted to the apron, rather than the headstock (an arrangement which was becoming increasingly common on heavier lathes by the 1920s) whilst the headstock spindle could also be stopped, started and reversed from the apron as well.
Spindle speeds were in geometric progression with, it was claimed, the ratio of "direct speeds" to "backgear speeds" arranged so that, after a roughing cut in the latter, the former could be instantly engaged to give the correct speed for finishing cuts.
Constructed in the form of a box, with internal longitudinal and transverse braces, the headstock had sides that extended up to the center line of the spindle; this formed a rigid assembly as well as an oil and dust-tight reservoir. The headstock spindle was made from high-carbon "crucible" steel, and ran in alloy-bronze "boxes" (an old-fashioned way of describing a particular arrangement of plain-bearing).
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