Now a maker of specialised machinery, the German manufacturer Franz Kuhlmann is still in business - but, unfortunately, have no data surviving about their lathes. Hence, the background to this little but robustly-built short-bed "bench precision" lathe shown below is, at the moment, a complete mystery.
Likely to have been offered only as a precision plain-turning lathe (that is, without any form of power feed to the carriage) the Kuhlmann was probably manufactured - judging by its appearance - during the late 1940s and early 1950s (though it could possibly be from the late 1930s). As such it would have joined a crowded post-WW2 European market with German competitors including the well-established firms of G.Boley, Leinen (Boley & Leinen), Lorch, Wolf Jahn (as well as lesser known makers such as Scherzinger) together with Schaublin, Habegger, Simonet and Mikron in Switzerland and Smart and Brown in England.
Most lathes of this type were offered by their makers in three versions - being built with a bed-mounted capstan attachment for production work, with lever-operated slides as a second operation lathe (for lighter manufacturing duties) and as a toolroom version when fitted with a screw-feed compound slide rest and tailstock and intended for one-off high-precision jobs (in German parlance a "mechanic's" lathe) . All three versions could be assembled using just the standard bed and drive unit, it simply being necessary to bolt on the required parts. However, whether the Kuhlmann was ever offered with the accessories necessary to perform the conversions into a more versatile lathe is not known. However, as the headstock casting appears to lack machined faces and tapped holes to allow the mounting of a lever-action collet closer it's likely, that (like the Scherzinger) this was a limited-production model made in just a single type to fulfil a short-lived gap in the market.
Like many of its kind, the Kuhlmann bore a passing resemblance to the well-established Lorch LL-K Series lathes and would have had a 75 mm (3") centre height and admitted around 300 mm (13") between centres. The bed was cast integrally with its two feet and featured a rear V and front flat way, the compound slide assembly being locked down not by the more usual "capstan handle" but a round, knurled-edge knob. The cross slide was unusually wide (though the V-ways appeared to be of a normal width), with the long-travel, swivelling top slide sitting on a generously wide flat base, this being machined with semi-circular slots through which the holding-down bolts passed. The feed-screw handles were of the twin-parallel type found on a number of small pre-WW2 lathes and the micrometer dials - especially for a lathe of this class - far too small in diameter.
Rather unusually for a small precision lathe, the feed screw used to drive the tailstock spindle was equipped with a micrometer dial, though the casting lacked the cut-way usually found on this type of lathe that exposed the spindle's ruler engravings.
Another lathe, similar in size and design - but fitted with backgear and screwcutting - has also been found that might well be a Kuhlmann and is shown in photograph No.2 and onwards.
Should you have a Kuhlmann lathe of any type - or one suspected to be so - , the writer would be most interested to hear from you.