Advertised during the late 1920s and possible during the early 1930s, the long-forgotten Mancuna Company of Lyon Street, Miles Platting, Manchester, manufactured a range of machines including a simple lathe, a variety of hand-cranked drills (of which many survive - though not the rare 2-speed model shown here), light-duty drill vices, dust-extraction equipment and key-cutters
Described as "All-British", the Mancuna lathe weighted 60 lbs, had a centre height of 3.5 inches and could take 12 inches between centres. It appears that two different bed designs were used, both with a shallow gap: one had a front V and rear flat (as illustrated in the advertisement) the other a flat top with 60° degree sides - as used on the surviving example shown in the photographs below. Unusual in being held down by two bolts (when on this class of lathe one was common, and even then lacking any positive location), the headstock held a ground-finish, 3/8" bore spindle running in typical light-lathe split-bronze bushes and fitted with a No. 1 Morse taper, threaded nose. A simple slide-to-engage full-width backgear was fitted as standard (the reduction would have been around 6 : 1) while the 3-step pulley, designed to take a round-rope drive, had diameters of 2.5, 3.125 and 3.75 inches.
Fitted with a single, swivelling slide (running on two steel bars with an exposed feed screw) the saddle top was machined flat to act, claimed the makers, as a simple boring table - though as no T-slots were provided this might have been more than an awkward thing to set up and use. The carriage was driven along the bed by a leadscrew with a full bronze nut and a usefully-large diameter handwheel at the tailstock end. However, as an option, screwcutting could be fitted, in which case the need arose to fit a dog clutch to engage and disengage the drive. Oddly, although a split leadscrew to allow the fitting of a dog clutch is shown at the headstock end of the bed, no mention is made of this in the publicity literature - nor does there seem to have been a handle operate the mechanism. In addition to the ten changewheels provided in the screwcutting kit ( two x 20t, 24t, 28T, 30T, 32t, 36t, 40t, 44t and 56t) an extra mounting stud was provided to act as a reverse for generating left-hand threads.
To power the lathe the makers offered just a "foot motor" - a common fitting at the time and consisting of treadle-driven flywheel unit that could be mounted under the owner's bench to provide a self-contained drive assembly.
With a direct-acting bolt to lock its No. 1 Morse taper spindle - and a loose spanner required to lock it to the bed - the tailstock (while heavy looking) was crude in its design and execution.
In 1928/9 the Hobday Bothers Ltd. Motor-trade Catalogue listed the lathe at £6 : 10 : 0d, with an extra £2 : 15s : 0d for the screwcutting attachment. As was common at the time in many similar catalogues (selling a variety of items for the garage and light-workshop trade), Hobday preferred to use a pseudonym inside parentheses- "Capitol" - rather than the maker's actual name.
If you have a Mancuna machine of any type - especially a lathe or restored drill - the writer would be very interested to hear from you..