Mattapan Iron Works Lathe
Possibly the only surviving example, this backgeared and screwcutting lathe by the Mattapan Iron Works Company is thought to have been manufactured in Malden, Massachusetts, just to the north of Boston, in the mid to late 1800s.
The example shown below - it lacks any model or serial numbers - is installed the workshop of the B.J. Fehr Machine Co. at 209 North Main Street, Roanoke, IL. It arrived at its present location in the very early 1900's and, incredibly, has been in use ever since. With a swing of fifteen inches and a straight, 12-foot long, non-gap bed, it's a heavily built machine and - despite being underwater several times when its room has flooded - continues to run well. Also surviving is the original remote countershaft drive system (most antique lathes such as this having long ago been fitted with a built-on drive that frequently includes the use of an automobile gearbox) together with a number of accessories that includes a large steady rest and a period milling attachment. The latter, shown in the photograph mounted in position on the cross slide, is fitted with an angle plate on its front face.
Appearing to have been founded in 1853, references to the Mattapan Iron Works are confined (so far) to just one official publication listing an Act allowing its formation; there is no known record of its dissolution or bankruptcy.
If you have a Mattapan Iron Works lathe, or any information about the company, the writer would be interested to hear from you..