email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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Leyland Lathe
- English Mandrel / Swiss Universal Type -

Leyland Lathe Continued on Page 2


Made in England by Thomas Leyland (1790-1861), this beautifully constructed little lathe is of the well-known "Mandrel" type intended for the boring of holes in watch plates and gears - though capable of other simple work as well. This type of lathe was widely manufactured throughout Europe, but notably in England and Switzerland where, in the former, it has become known as the "English Mandrel"and, in the latter, as the "Swiss Universal". Mandrel lathes are usually found equipped with a faceplate having built-in or detachable jaws (the same fitting being common today) and typical of the type is the example shown on this page by Thomas Leyland II (1819-1868), son of Thomas Leyland I, a watchmaker who worked originally for John Jones Snr. and became a partner in the firm Jones and Leyland. After the death of Jones and the inheritance of the business by his sons, Leyland is believed to have started his own manufacturing concern based in Atherton Street, Prescot, a small town in Lancashire some 8 miles to the east of Liverpool - both locations being well known in the late 18th century (in addition to London) as centres of horological experimentation and high-class craftsmanship. Running from 1828 until 1861 the enterprise was obviously successful and many of his lathes survive, though some are unsigned and would have been made "for the trade" being either left unbranded or engraved by the seller (examples of this type are shown lower down the page). Succeeded by his son Thomas Leyland I, the business continued to thrive with known "Thomas Leyland" lathes including a mid-18th century triangular-bed machine in the Smithsonian Institution (this coming from the long-establish workshop of Englishman Thomas Bond who manufactured, in Boston, such high-class items as chronometers). A very similar lathe passed through the writer's hands in the late 1970s but, due to his ignorance of such artefacts, it was foolishly sold onů.
Pictures continued on this page


Carrying no maker's inscription, this lathe is very similar to the Thomas Leyland shown above and could well be by him


Leyland Lathe Continued on Page 2

Leyland Lathe
- English Mandrel / Swiss Universal Type -
email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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