Built under a licence from "Carpo" and manufactured by LIP Industrie at 7 rue des Chalets, Bresancon, Issoudun, Grenoble in France, the LIP universal milling machine was of unusual design and one intended to run at very high speeds. If the separate factory making LIP grinders at 13 rue de Contrevaux, 25290 Orans to the south east of Besancon, in the French Jura was associated with them, is uncertain.
Carpo (originally Louis Carpano and then Carpano & Pons, Industries Clauses, France) held various interesting patents including ones associated with the first electric razors, a ski binding, cigarette lighters, car electric windscreen wipers, millers, grinding machines and, probably most famous of all, Mitchell fishing reels. LIP was closely connected to the horological industry and many of their products (they were known for high-precision grinding machines) were employed in watch and clock production processes. With its origins as a grinding machine, the LIP miller was built in three models: the Type 972 "Production" type with rack-and-pinion lever feeds to longitudinal, traverse and vertical movements; the 973 "Toolmaker" with all-screw feeds and the 974 "Composite" that used the table levers from the "Production" but the screw-operated vertical elevation from the "Toolmaker". The main body was cast with a large cylindrical hole at the front, this was lapped and "glazed" to accept a finely ground cylinder whose alignment was under the control of a prismatic gib block - not unlike that fitted to the Impetus Metalmaster multi-purpose lathe. Sitting on top of the cylinder was a 102 mm x 393 mm (4" x 16") table with three 16 mm x 8 mm T-slots that could be moved 200 mm (8") longitudinally, 50 mm (2") in traverse and 100 mm (4") vertically. The table feed screws were fitted with unusually large and finely engraved zeroing micrometer dials.
Normally supplied on a heavy, welded sheet-steel stand that held a 2-speed foot-mount motor and integrated electrical controls, the miller could also be had as a bench model - in which case the motor was flanged mounted to the back of the column. On the stand-mounted model, the drive from the motor's 3 V-step pulley passed upwards to a countershaft-mounted 2-step pulley - to give high and low-speed ranges - and from there to the horizontal, taper-roller bearing mounted spindle. This arrangement provided a useful 12 speeds - 300, 400, 500, 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1600, 2000, 2400, 3200 and 4000 r.p.m. However, when bench mounted, the number of speeds fell to 6, though the range was perfectly adequate: 250, 500, 750, 1100, 1460 and 2200 r.p.m.
Arranged just like the better known English Centec miller, the top of the column was machined with a dovetail way to accept an overarm - used to support a conventional horizontal milling spindle - or a plain, non-quill-feed vertical head. The latter was supported in a large casting and carried on a solid, horizontal steel bar that allowed the head to be moved in and out and rotated. A 2-speed motor, fastened to a plate at the back, drove forwards by flat belt to give 6 very high speeds of: 1700, 2800, 4400, 5000, 6000 and (astonishingly) 9500 r.p.m. - the latter probably useful in horological work that used jig grinding or diamond-tipped tools.
The horizontal spindle was adapted to accept W20 (20 mm) collets and that in the vertical head W12 (12 mm) - though some production examples have been found with W20. If the W12 was standard, it would have limited cutting tools and boring heads to smaller diameters only. Trusting that the operator would not be tempted to thrust his hand into the mechanism, the designer left the top of the vertical-head belt run open, giving instant if rather awkward access to changes of speed. Few of these machines have been encountered and, if any reader has one, the writer would be delighted to hear from you..