Narragansett Lathe - U.S.A.
Providence, Rhode Island, was home to many makers of machine tools with grinders by Leach and the Builders Iron Foundry and several lathe makers, including E. A. Eddy, E. A. Adams, Adams Bros, the Diamond Machine Co.; E.B. Bosworth, Charles A.Mann, J.M.Parker's Gage, I.H.Spencer - and Narragansett. Unfortunately, apart from Diamond, little is known about the historical background of any others, the record being, for the moment, blank.
Made in the last two decades of the 19th century and with a centre height of 4 inches, the heavier, backgeared and screwcutting Narragansett was of an unusual and rather interesting design. It was mounted on a treadle-drive stand with, in effect two flywheels, one being the heavy two-step drive pulley while the other was in the form of a relatively light, spoked wheel, overhung on the outside of the leg.
Screwcutting was provided, the output coming from a gear mounted to the left of the spindle's smaller backgear. This gear drove a second, mounted on a shaft that passed through the headstock casting and joined a set of changewheels mounted on the usual banjo on the outside, left-hand face of the bed. Like many other contemporary lathes, the leadscrew was not on the front of the bed, but on the back, where it was grasped by split nuts carried on the rear of the saddle.
Using a flat front way with a narrow vertical guide, the bed and very light headstock were cast in one piece; the rear way was a separate steel bar, held in sockets at the headstock and tailstock ends of the main casting.
The cross slide - there was no top slide - mirrored the design of the bed with one right-angled way to the left and a steel bar to the right - the drive screw being offset to the right-hand side.