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George Hodgson Lathe


Although of absolutely conventional design for a general workshop lathe as manufactured circa 1880 to 1910, this example does have one very unusual feature - the manufacturer's name stamped into the headstock casting.
Unfortunately many makers at the time - literally dozens of them - failed to put any sort of identifying mark on their machines, possibly because many were factored or resold through larger agents who insisted on attaching their own badges.
Of all the British makers at that time, the Britannia Company offered what must have been the largest range of similar types and, although a very successful firm, many of its products carry no form of identification. In addition, the problem was not confined to the UK: in Germany the well-known firm of Ehrlich also offered a number of very similar types - for general workshop rather than heavy industrial use - and, again, nearly all are without a name plate. However, occasionally, as a clue, oiling holes are found marked in German. In the UK Ehrlich lathes were often branded as the IXL - and, judging by the numbers still around, many thousands must have been imported and sold.
It's often the case that a vintage lathe will have some easily-changed part such as the door to a cupboard in the stand, or a changewheel guard, and these provided an almost irresistible opportunity for importers and dealer to cheat. As a result, new ones were cast carrying letters proclaiming "Made In Britain", "British Made" or, less obvious, but still intended to mislead as "The Empire" or "Albion" or some such. . Well, like those wallets that used to be sold with a little tag inside proclaiming "Real leather" the tab was indeed leather - but the rest certainly was notů.
If you have a George Hodgson lathe, the writer would be delighted to have photographs of it.

George Hodgson lathe circa 1880-1910. A few modifications are evident including a full-circle handwheel on the apron that would originally have been a crank handle, a 4-way toolpost replacing the maker's "clog-heel" type and a headstock spindle pulley converted to take a V-belt.