Imported into the UK by Henry Turner Ltd., Reiden lathes were manufactured by a Swiss company based in the Reiden Machine Works in Reiden (a small industrial town 26 miles south-east of Basel). With a long-established reputation for high-quality products, they became well-known for a variety of machine-tool types including milling machines, radial-arm drills and lathes. Today the company produces 5 and 6-axis CNC milling and machining centres and offers various engineering services including rebuilds of their older products.
Typical of their lathes from the 1950s and 1960s was the 185 mm (7.3-inch) centre height by 750, 1000 or 1500 mm between-centres T185 Toolroom model; this was an especially well thought out and beautifully-made machine that competed with the likes of the Martin D & DS Types, Schaublin 25, Smart & Brown 1024, Hardinge and similar very high quality, built-without-regard-to-cost machines.
Mounted on a substantial cast-iron box-type cabinet the deep and heavily cross-ribbed, high-frequency-hardened and ground-finish bed was arranged, like a Schaublin 102VM, with its ways for the carriage set some distance below those carrying the tailstock. With a view to a long and accurate life the ways were covered for their entire length by neat (screw-on) sheet-steel covers to protect them from the worst effects of swarf. A gap section was optional and, when fitted, allowed a workpiece 450 mm in diameter and 185 mm deep to be turned on a faceplate.
With a 36 mm-bore and a 5-Morse taper socket, the headstock spindle was supported in three bearings: an adjustable plain bearing at the front (provided with forced lubrication), a centre radial bearing and a radial thrust bearing at the rear. The headstock was especially quiet running, a feature that owed a great deal to drive gears manufactured from selected high-grade steel and hardened and ground on their tooth flanks by the MAAG process. Speed selection was by the juxtaposition of two levers on the face of the headstock with provision for inching the spindle (to mesh the gears) provided by a push-button electrical control.
Mounted in the cabinet base, the drive motor was and transmitted its 9 h.p. through a SESPA belt drive and clutch unit at a claimed efficiency of 98 to 99.5%. The electric start, stop and reverse was under the control of a long rod set below and parallel to the powershaft but, unlike so many other similar systems, only a single operating lever was fitted - on the right hand face of the apron - instead of being duplicated (for safety and convenience) by the headstock. The powershaft at the headstock end was fitted with an external helix threaded boss. When the Carriage hits helix and knocks out threading
Able to generate 32 inch, 32 metric and 15 Module pitches without altering the changewheels, the screwcutting gearbox also provided 28 surfacing and sliding feeds that varied from a slow of 0.05 mm to 1.4 mm (0.01968" to 0.055118") per revolution of the spindle. Control of the box was very neatly arranged: the usual three levers selected operation of the powershaft, leadscrew and thread types but individual pitches were obtained by swinging a lever through 9 numbered positions laid out in a semi circle. On the end of the lever was a castellated knob that, at each of the semi-circle positions, could be rotated through numbered marks to select the required thread.
Of double-wall construction the apron was formed to make an oil sump in its base from which lubricant was pumped automatically around the gears and shafts as the carriage moved. The compound-slide rest assembly was of strong construction with a 4-way toolpost as standard, a top slide held down by 4 bolts and taper-type gib strips used to adjust the clearances. The zeroing micrometer dials were of a good size with finely-engraved black markings on a matt-chrome background.
Supplied with every machine was a combination faceplate and 4-jaw chuck of a very useful if rather old-fashioned design, a drive plate, fixed steady, travelling steady, a collect chuck in the main spindle with one sample collet, 2 Morse centres, a set of service spanners, grease gun and instruction book. Extras included the usual items: coolant equipment, 3-jaw chucks, collet sets including what was described as "lever-operated clamping device for spring collets and expanding mandrels, with out sleeve", a micrometer-adjustable carriage stop, taper-turning attachment, an ammeter and lighting set..