email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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LORCH LATHES
More information about Lorch Lathes is contained in various Manuals, Parts Lists
and well-illustrated Sales & Technical Specification
Brochures and can be purchased on-line here


Larger lathes branded Lorch, Schmidt & Co.

LAS Precision Screwcutting and LAS, AV1-K, AV11-K, LLRGN,  AVRG, BVIRG, LLRN,

AVR  &  BVIR Lathes

Precision Plain Lathes: LLS, LLV,LLK

Precision 50 mm Lorch KD50

Toolmakers' Screwcutting Lathe AVI-L

Screwcutting Type AB

Precision Screwcutting Lathe BL27LZ

Precision Screwcutting Lathe B30LZS

Toolmakers' Miniature Lathes: LA, LAN, LLN & LLPN Plain and Screwcutting with
Leadscrew

Lorch lathes--Newer Accessories

Lorch lathes--Older Accessories

Larger Screwcutting Lathes D27 & BIIZ

Lorch Dividing Apparatus for Watchmakers' Lathes

Lorch COLLETS

Lorch Watchmakers' Lathes

Lorch "Triumph" Watchmakers' Lathe

Lorch Lathe Restoration

Early Lorch Model A Lathes

Lorch Milling Machines

Founded in 1885 - and trading under the names "F.Lorch", "L.S.& Co." and "Lorch, Schmidt & Co." - Lorch was a German precision machine-tool company finally driven out of business when, in November 1976, the merchant bank supporting it withdrew support. Until then Lorch had enjoyed a long and illustrious history as makers of precision lathes, high-quality production machinery for watch and clock making, specialist watch-repair tools, machines for the optical trade and collets - the latter widely used by other makers needing precision work-holding capabilities. Lorch never made large industrial-size machines, limiting their range to lathes of no more than 6-inches (150 mm) centre height and with the bulk of their production being smaller bench precision and watchmakers' types - a well known and long-lasting example being the "Geneva-pattern" Triumph". Also produced, though in very limited numbers, were versions of the heavier plain-turning lathes adapted as horizontal milling machines - a ploy also adopted by some American makers of similar lathes such as  AmesCataractPratt & WhitneyStark and Waltham.
What the marketing philosophy was in regard to the use of F.Lorch, L.S.& Co. and Lorch, Schmidt & Co." is not known, with seemingly identical lathes being badged simultaneously with different labels and stampings, though after WW2 the use of
Lorch, Schmidt & Co. appears to have been abandoned. Over the years each of the three names was given to many different types of machine - from tiny watchmakers' lathes (sold individually and in boxed sets) through small and medium-sized plain-turning bench lathes (not dissimilar to the American Stark and similar makes) to larger backgeared and screwcutting models. The latter type, with centre heights from 4 to 6 inches (100 to 150 mm) were often listed in catalogues under the Lorch Schmidt heading. Although the larger lathes evolved steadily to follow changes introduced by other makers - typically more massive castings, larger headstock spindles and improved bearings running with the ability to taker deeper yet more accurate cuts - the smaller lathes had almost finished their development by 1910.

Right: a typical Lorch precision plain-turning lathe of the 1930s and 1940s mounted on the maker's underdrive stand and equipped with an "Overhead" to drive toolpost-mounted high-speed milling and grinding spindles. This illustration appeared in a Norwegian magazine for watch and clockmakers during 1939

A comparison with Lorch lathes made in the first decade of the 20th century with those produced in the early 1950s will show surprisingly few changes: apart from some cleaning up of details, larger micrometer dials,  built-on countershaft units and integrated electrical switch gear, there was simply no need to alter them, so well had the originals been designed and constructed. However, from the early 1950s, a greater effort was put into modernising the design of the watchmakers' lathes - unfortunately (or happily), the result has been a bewildering variety of types and sizes  - sometimes designated only by the particular kind of the compound slide rest, or headstock - or combination of such feature. It was also possible for customers to specify their own particular requirements of collet capacity, lever or screw-feed slide rests, screw, lever or capstan-driven tailstock barrels, thread-cutting or thread-chasing equipment, etc., and so create a unique machine for their particular purposes. With such a plethora of models to choose from identifying a particular Lorch model without access to a range of reference resources can be very difficult and, just to confuse matters further, the factory almost never fitted Type or Model name plates to any of their products--although if you look very carefully its sometimes possible to make out a model stamping at the tailstock end of the bed.
Although comparatively rare in the UK - these were very expensive machines when new and usually confined to professional users in experimental and similar workshops - they are relatively common in continental Europe. Greatly sought after not only for their inherent mechanical beauty they are also, even today (because of their superior design and quality of construction) a genuinely useful machine. Some fine restorations have been carried with enthusiast try to collect, as with other similar areas of mechanical interest, the complete accessory range. With such a plethora of models to choose from identifying a particular Lorch model without access to a range of reference material can be very difficult and, just to confuse matters further, the factory almost never fitted Type or Model name plates to any of their products. For convenience, accessories have been divided into older and newer types (Pre and Post 1950) - this does not, however,  indicate a significant change at that exact time for many of the items, whether produced in 1920 or 1970, performed exactly the same function with their design evolving only gradually over many decades until the 1950s when certain models were made available on self-contained, motorised bench-top bases..

An example of a very late Lorch--the neatly presented and beautifully finished "Junior". This lathe is representative of the Lorch effort to upgrade and better present their range of watchmakers' lathes from the early 1950s onwards. Note the angle table and lapping wheel behind the lathe and the two front-mounted wrist rests.

Larger lathes branded Lorch, Schmidt & Co.

LAS Precision Screwcutting and LAS, AV1-K, AV11-K, LLRGN,  AVRG, BVIRG, LLRN,

AVR  &  BVIR Lathes

Precision Plain Lathes: LLS, LLV,LLK

Precision 50 mm Lorch KD50

Toolmakers' Screwcutting Lathe AVI-L

Screwcutting Type AB

Precision Screwcutting Lathe BL27LZ

Precision Screwcutting Lathe B30LZS

Toolmakers' Miniature Lathes: LA, LAN, LLN & LLPN Plain and Screwcutting with Leadscrew

Lorch lathes--Newer Accessories

Lorch lathes--Older Accessories

Larger Screwcutting Lathes D27 & BIIZ

Lorch Dividing Apparatus for Watchmakers' Lathes

Lorch COLLETS

Lorch Watchmakers' Lathes

Lorch "Triumph" Watchmakers' Lathe

Lorch Lathe Restoration

Early Lorch Model A Lathes

Lorch Milling Machines

email: tony@lathes.co.uk
Home   Machine Tool Archive   Machine-tools Sale & Wanted
Machine Tool Manuals   Catalogues   Belts   Books  Accessories

LORCH LATHES
More information about Lorch Lathes is contained in various Manuals, Parts Lists
and well-illustrated Sales & Technical Specification
Brochures and can be purchased on-line here