A product of the 1950s and 1960s, the Heron K14 geared headstock, detachable-gap bed screwcutting lathe was made in Italy by Misal s.a.s. Leto, who had facilities and offices in both Milan and Rome.
With a centre height of 7.125" (180 mm), and the customer was offered the choice of between-centres' capacities of 31.5", 40" or 60". Cast from a high-tensile iron with an average Brinell hardness of 200/220, the deeply-ribbed bed had twin V and twin flat ways and was fitted with a generously-proportioned detachable gap able to accept a diameter of 22.75" (575 mm) and a disc up to 5.75" thick fastened to the 11.75" (300 mm) or 17.75" (450 mm) faceplates. Optionally, the bed could be specified hardened with a ground finish and an improved Brinell number of 450.
Splash-lubricated from an oil sump in its base, the headstock had 8 speeds of 35, 55, 90, 140, 270, 415, 675 and 1015 rpm - generated by a cluster of case-hardened and ground gears (of which the largest appear to have been rather marginal in their dimensions). Drive came from twin V-belts turned by a 1400 rpm 3 hp motor mounted within the headstock-end cabinet leg. The speeds were changed by two concentrically-mounted levers neatly mounted on the front face of the headstock.
As an extra-cost option a 4 hp motor was available which, in conjunction with a different pulley set, raised the bottom and top speeds to 50 and 1500 rpm respectively. An alternative specification was also available in the form of a full Timken taper-roller bearing spindle assembly, this being offered with a choice of three spindle-speed ranges: 35 to 1015 rpm, 50 to 1500 rpm (standard) and 70 to 2000 rpm. The designation of a Timken roller-bearing head lathe (which included the more powerful 4 hp motor as standard) was KR14.
Made from from a heat-treated and ground-finish alloy steel, on the standard machine the 1.375" diameter spindle ran in an adjustable front bronze bush and a roller-race rear bearing; the spindle nose was an American style long-nose taper key fitting in an L00 size..
Happily, a multi-plate clutch was fitted as standard, easing the load on the motor and transmission and so providing - under today's conditions and amateur use - useful assistance in starting should the machine have to be run on single-phase power or from a phase converter or inverter.
Lubricated from an oil sump by splash, the screwcutting and feeds gearbox was able to generate both English , metric and module threads - but only by changing an appropriate gear on a single stud carried on an easily-adjusted bracket. To make full use of its capabilities, extra gears were also needed supplement the threading ranges. The KR14 roller-bearing headstock model was fitted as standard with automatic stops on both the sliding and surfacing feeds - but was an extra-cost option on the plain front-bearing K14. In place of a headstock-mounted tumble-reverse mechanism a lever, fastened to the right-hand side of the double-wall, oil-bath apron, provided a means of instantly reversing the direction of the power sliding, surfacing and screwcutting feeds.
Provided as standard with a new machine were: full coolant equipment ready to run, fixed and travelling steadies, 8 extra screwcutting changewheels, one driver plate, two centres, keys, charts and an instruction book..