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E.Millen Precision Bench Lathe
- Clerkenwell, London -

So rarely found, it is suspected that the precision bench lathes by E.Millen must nearly all have been sold close to their manufacture's premises at 68-70 Clerkenwell Road in London. Another local lathe maker was E.Gray & Son, a company established in 1822 with a factory 18-20 Clerkenwell Road and who traded into the 1950s. The district of Clerkenwell was, from the late 1700s to the late 1940s, the centre of English watch, clock, chronometer and printing machinery, and associated precision trades and so, having machine-tool makers close by, together with such once well-known dealers as Stedall & Dowding, S. Tyzack and Son and Urquhart Machine Tools Ltd., is hardly surprising.
E.Millen are known to have manufactured a small range of lathes - but later were classifying themselves as "
E,Millen Machinery Merchants" and selling, amongst others, larger backgeared and screwcutting lathes by the German company Oscar Ehrlich.
Dating from circa 1850 to perhaps 1900, and although intended for precision handwork (and also available with a screw-feed compound slide rest assembly) the E. Millen plain lathe was, like all of its type. of simple construction. The headstock assembly - with its hardened spindle supported in a single bronze or hardened-steel bearing at the front and against a hardened adjustable centre point at the left, was typical of so many small lathes made from the early 1800s and intended for light precision work. The form of the headstock, with its machined-flat front face and a flat top to the front bearing, was also of its time, and clearly used to indicate (or perhaps just suggest to a buyer) that here was a machine of better-than-average quality.
Unfortunately, the plain-turning E.Millen has lost its original headstock pulley - almost certainly a three or four-step V-type intended to take a round leather belt in a material some 5 to 6 mm in diameter - and driven by foot-treadle assembly..

A German-made lathe by Ehrlich carrying a screwed-on badge "E.Millen Machinery Merchant"