Manufactured in Australia by M.F.Rowe Pty. Ltd of 9a Elizabeth Street, Burwood, N.S.W., the little 4.625" centre height Milro Capstan lathe filled the same niche in the market as the English Raglan and "Atlas/Acorn" models - being intended for short production runs of smaller components.
Almost certainly a copy (or very closely based) on the English Exacta capstan lathe that was distributed by the Elliot group during the 1930s and 1940s, the Milro was available either on an all-cast-iron underdrive stand with integral chip tray, or equipped to pick up the drive from a remotely-mounted countershaft. The lathe was built in at least two versions, a Mk. 1 and an improved and developed Mk. 2. The original version model had a nickel steel spindle running in opposed, pre-loaded Timken taper roller bearings and driven by a V-belt running over a 4-groove pulley connected directly to a 3/4 h.p. 1425 r.p.m. 3-phase motor. The arrangement gave speeds of 1050, 1480, 2160 and 2800 r.p.m. but, instead of a 4-step pulley on the motor, it had just one, the assembly being arranged to lift (to allow the belt to be shifted on the headstock pulley) and slide so that the motor lined up correctly. The lifting and sliding movements were controlled by a handle (at the right-hand side of the stand) that dropped into one of four slots cut in a heavy cast-iron bracket - each indentation being of such a depth as to automatically give the correct belt tension for the selected speed. When specially ordered for drive by a remote countershaft an entirely different and so not versatile system was fitted with final drive by a flat belt running over a 2-speed pulley.
With a maximum through-collet capacity of 5/8", the lathe mounted a hand-operated, self-indexing 6-station turret with its slideways protected against the ingress of grit and swarf by tightly fitting felt seals. The head took tooling with a 3/4" shank and had a maximum travel of 5 inches - each station being fitted, of course, with its own adjustable limit stop and The cut-off/forming slide was of the usual pattern being lever operated and fitted with front and rear toolposts and adjustable stops for travel in each direction.
Notably compact in its underdrive form, the Mk. 1 Milro occupied a floor space of 25" x 52" x 4" and weighed approximately 700 lbs. Supplied with each new machine was a simple weight-driven bar-feed assembly with the necessary supports; a lever-action collet closer; a set of collets from 1/4" to 5/8" in steps of 1/16"; two toolholders for the parting-off/forming slide; three turning toolholders and one drill holder; a set of spanners and an oil can. Although a drip can was fitted as standard, if required a complete coolant set with tank and pump could be fitted inside the stand with the drive coming, economically, from an extension to the main motor or (at extra cost) from its own electric motor.
Although if offered no more capacity through the spindle - and only a 1/2" increase in capstan head travel - the Mk. 2 Milro was a thoroughly revised machine with all-new major castings, the centre height increased to 5.25", safer guarding over the collet-closer mechanism, a more modern-looking cabinet stand with storage for coolant equipment and a substantial increase in weight to 1250 lbs.
Instead of a sliding motor assembly, the new machine was entirely conventional with a 2-speed 1.5/0.75 h.p. motor controlled by push buttons (and a forward/reversing switch) with drive to the spindle via a 3-step V-pulley and twin belts. So equipped, the lathe was able to handle much tougher jobs with the wider speed range (350, 710, 770, 1400, 1562 and 2840 r.p.m.) allowing a better chance of getting the right one for the job. Lighting from a 415 volt to 12 volt transformer was part of the standard equipment as was coolant, complete with a built-in tank and separate electric motor..