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Leytool and the
Leytool Slotting Machines
A detailed Leytools Catalogue is available


Founded in 1934 as the Leytonstone Jig & Tool Co. Ltd., Leytool Ltd had a three-acre main factory and drawing office at their Leytool Works at 606 High Road, Leyton, London E.10 and a 2-acre subsidiary plant, opened in 1948, on the Hollinbury Industrial Estate near Brighton, in Sussex - this being demolished in January 1985. However, the name is preserved and used on a ratchet spanner and possibly other tools. Although known to the general public only for their hand tools made in the Hollinbury factory - especially a little but sturdy and popular hand-cranked drill (the writer has one, and uses it to this day) various socket sets and snail-cam and integral ratchet-action spanners, the company was once a high-class maker of, amongst other engineering products, jigs, fixtures and tooling for the aircraft industry.
The Leytool factories were modest in size, but well equipped, with departments for turning, grinding, heat-treatment and welding, jig boring and milling, shaping and capstan lathe and production work. A design and development department was run to handle customer requests and the firm's inspection department was approved by the Aeronautical Inspection Directorate.
Although not a machine-tool maker, when the Company operated as the
Leytonstone Jig & Tool Co. Ltd., they did offer a little 2-inch stroke slotting machine, this eventually being built in two models. In its original form, the slotter was intended for use in-house where it replaced a complex machining operation on one of their hand tools and increased output by some 25%. Recognising the possibilities of the machine, the decision was taken to manufacture it, the first type being the Mk.1 Tool Room, this being fitted, as standard, with a well-made, 7-inch diameter, hardened, ground and specially calibrated rotary table. The makers claimed a setting accuracy of within 0.001", the table being mounted a screw-feed compound slide rest assembly. Power feed was applied to both the slides and the rotary table through bevel gearing, the motion being cam-controlled from the main drive shaft to ensure that the motion was kept in precise relation to the position of the ram.
Table travel left-to-right was 6.5 inches, back-to-front 6.25 inches and with a feed to the table of 0.0025" per stroke of the ram. The ram head could be swivelled through 10 each side of central, adjusted for a starting point on its slideway through a travel of 7.25 inches and the ram stroke adjusted from 0 to 2 inches of travel. The maximum stroke rate was 304 per minute, this being equal to a tool-feed rate of 50 feet per minute at the 1-inch stroke setting. Weighing 5 cwt (0.25 tons) Carried on a cast-iron base the main drive incorporated Hoffman ball races with shafts running in oil-impregnated (Oilite) bushes.
Deciding that a less-expensive version would sell, a Mk.2 simplified model, the
Workshop, was offered. Identical in general form to the Mk.1, the rotary table was omitted and the T-slotted compound table fitted with hand-feed only - the result being a slight reduction to 6.375 inches in the left-to-right travel and a small increase to 6.375 inches for the back-to-front. In all other respects, the Workshop was identical with exactly the same speeds and stroke and rates of table travels..


Leytool "Tool Room" slotter, the top-of-the-range version


Leytool "Workshop", a simplified model of the slotter

Assembly of the Leytool slotters

The Leytool works in Leyton High Road, Leyton as it appeared circa 1966

Opened in 1948, the Leytool factory on the Hollinbury Estate near Brighton, Sussex

Turning Department: in the foreground two high-class Holbrook toolroom lathes and, centre, a Mk.1 Colchester Student. Other machines included a Webster & Bennett vertical turning and boring lathe together with lathes by Willson, LeBlond, Churchill Redman, Southbend, CVA and Colchester

How it used to be done--the drawing office


Temperature-controlled (21C) jig boring room. The borer is use is a Swiss-made Hydroptic-6

Inspection Department - Hilger & Watts optical projector

General machine shop with, in the foreground, a Cincinnati milling machine

Another part of the jig-boring room.