Leach Surface Grinder No. 11 Hand-operated
Manufactured by the H. Leach Machinery Co. of 387 Charles Street, Providence 4, Rhode Island in the United States, the 24" x 6" Leach No. 11 surface grinder was intended as a low-cost, simple-to-operate machine. It would have been found in regular production shops as a standby unit to tackle smaller, simpler jobs and to prevent more complex machines having to be stopped to accommodate some minor production run or one-off. It would also have appealed to smaller repair workshops where cost was a significant factor and, when finally on the second-hand market, as a sought-after purchase by the more knowledgeable and enthusiast type of home machinist.The image below is high resolution and may take time to load
Common in the UK - with examples including the popular Eagle, Capco, Herbert, Superior, the less well-known Pallas and this tiny EXE - this type of very simple, small and hand-operated industrial-class grinder was also widely available in the U.S.A. with a number of makers offering models and types. However, unlike all of the English machines mentioned with their fixed heads and rise-and-fall tables, the American-made grinders were nearly all based on full-size power-feed models, with elevating-heads, that had been stripped of their automatic controls. Examples of the type known included the Brown & Sharpe No. 2, the Norton TS, the Grand Rapids Models Nos. 15 and 18, the Reid 618 "Rollerway" , various models by K.O.Lee, possibly the Robot from New York and, though not really in the same general-use class, the two tiny machines by Stanford, the SG and slightly larger MG models.
However, for an American-made machine the Leach, which appears to have been sold during the 1940s and 1950s, was much more like the British models being of simple design and construction with no option of power feed to the table and a fixed head. Cast in iron, the column was of the box-like construction formed as one piece with the wide and stable foot. Held inside the column, the 3/4 h.p. ball-bearing motor was mounted on a hinged plate, the position of which could be adjusted - to set the tension of the 2-step V-belt drive - by a threaded rod, its handwheel-equipped head protruding through the casting on its right-hand side.
Carried in a bolted-on head assembly and made from a heat-treated, high-carbon steel, the spindle ran in four precision-grade ball bearings of the radial-thrust type; two speeds were available - by changing the belt position on the 2-step drive - of 2600 and 3500 r.p.m. Suitable grinding wheel dimensions were recommended as being 8" x 1" or 8.5" x 3/4", the maximum distance from the wheel to the bare top of the table being 12 inches. Spindle bearing lubrication was taken care of by the then common "Alemite High-Pressure Lubricating System" - a pair of grease nipples.
Elevated by a screw thread fitted with a thrust race, the knees vertical position was controlled by a large-diameter handwheel the periphery of which was engraved with a micrometer scale reading to 0.001". Both the saddle and table- the latter with a 24" x 6" working surface and two T-slots - ran on dovetailed ways was the fit of which was adjusted by tapered gib strips. Priced at $493 in the 1940s, complete with a motor and ready to run, the Leach No. 11 weighed, complete in its delivery crate, 850 lbs.