Other Swiss Universal Lathes
This is an unusual Holtzapffel lathe, one at variance with the normal type of ornamental-turning type from the maker and engraved "Peter Holtzapffel" How old is it? Peter Holtaapffel (1836-1897). was eleven when his father died and his mother took over the running of the company - Peter becoming its head at the age of 31, in 1867. Lathes made after this would, presumably, have been engraved with his name - though as a type it was soon to become obsolete and its date of manufacture could, therefore have been from as early as 1867 until, perhaps, 1885.
In the United States, for eighteen years from 1870 onwards, a Mr Webster and Mr. Whitcomb, assisted by other skilled designers and engineers, developed a range of increasingly sophisticated and better-made miniature lathes. These culminated, in 1888/9, with the introduction of a design that was to set the world standard for the watchmaker's type, the Webster-Whitcomb - or "WW" as it was to become better known. This lathe was a seminal development and, except for the lighter "Geneva" type, completely displaced all earlier kinds including the well-known and until-then popular "Swiss Universal/English Mandrel" and Bottum..