Seldom found - with only ten thought to have been manufactured - the Hardinge Model MV vertical milling machine would have been a product of the 1950s. Never listed for sale on the open market, it is thought that Hardinge loaned them to selected and favoured customers and each was slightly different. Quite unlike the earlier and much smaller Harding BB2V vertical and the MD5 horizontal with the optional vertical head, the MV was a dedicated vertical-only model and mounted on a heavy, box-section cast iron stand. Power came from a 2-speed 1 h.p. 3-phase motor fitted with a 4-step V-pulley, the drive passing upwards to a housing that may have housed a clutch. Final drive to the head was by a smooth-running a Poly-V belt - though it is possible that some sort of power take-off was incorporated, the control panel having switches for variable-speed power feed to the table as well as the normal electrical controls.
Very deep and measuring 7" x 27" the table was fitted with an electrically-driven variable-speed power feed system (just like that fitted to carriage drive on the Company's HLV-H toolroom lathe), a rotary control on the electrical panel being marked from 0 to 100 in inches-per-minute. Drive to the table rose vertically from within the base, a universally jointed, splined shaft being connected to the underside of the saddle. Table, knee and saddle feed screws carried very large diameter dials of the usual high-class Hardinge type with black lettering on a white background with locking by through-the-face screws that did not disturb the setting when tightened or released. As a protection against wear the feed screws were all enclosed against the ingress of swarf and dirt, those for the vertical and traverse feeds being encased in metal-spring covers.
Though beautifully made, very heavy and no doubt both rigid and extremely accurate, as a milling machine for general use the lack of both a swivel head and a feed to the quill and its 5C taper spindle would have limited its appeal, especially to those employed in a toolroom or experimental shop.. The MV was also built as the Model HVM, a model with power downfeed to the quill and a rapid return to its variable-speed table drive.
Reported to weight in the region of 2000 lbs the Hardinge MV measured approximately 30" x 35" x 70".
If any reader has a Hardinge MV, or extra details about them (especially photographs) the writer would be very interested to hear from you.