Manufactured by the Roop Engineering Works in Batalas, Punjab, India, the REW lathe was probably on sale in the 1960s as India began an export-driven expansion of its machine tool industries, a first move being to take space at most of the major European machine tool trade shows and appoint suitable agents.
Like other Indian lathes of the era (especially the Panther, and IEC). the 3.5-inch centre height REW had a decent specification but was an odd mixture of ancient and modern - the latter in the form a well-built, roller-bearing headstock with V-belt drive and helical backgears and a massive "forward-lean" tailstock. It's older aspect was a carriage assembly that looked as though it belonged to the 1920s - indeed, it is not hard to imagine that the designer merely cribbed it from a lathe of that decade. Fitted with an open, single-side apron, the power sliding and surfacing feeds were driven by the usual worm-and-wheel gearing turned by a key in the slotted leadscrew. A simple train of gears carried the drive upwards with two of their mounting shafts protruding (in the form of button ends) through the front face of the apron to provide a means of both selecting and engaging the desired drive. There does not appear to have been any safety-overload protection mechanism incorporated in the drive
Of deep section, the bed had individual pairs of flat and V-ways to carry the carriage and tailstock, the latter able to be set-over for the turning of slight tapers and fitted with a locking lever that protruded through its outer end face.
Screwcutting was by changewheels, the drive passing through a robust tumble mechanism that had, unfortunately, to be unbolted before its position could be changed to reverse the direction of carriage travel. Reflecting the designer's apparent desire to make the lathe look far older than it was, the changewheel guard was a perfunctory, swing-open type in cast iron that lacked both an inner shield and any means of being locked closed. As a finishing touch to the guard - and a further nod to vintage times - the two screwcutting charts were in narrow, etched brass plates riveted to its front face.
Carried at the exact mid point of the carriage, the compound slide rest assembly had a top slide able to be rotated through 360°, but with only three widely-spaced gib-strip adjustment screws. Because the apron butted up aganinst the face of the headstock, the mid-point mounting of the cross slide meant that, in order for a cutting tool to reach as far as the spindle nose, the top slide had to be extended forwards to the limit of its travel, so leaving the tool in a very over-hung position and hence the casting vulnerable to being snapped off in the case of a violent dig-in. The outer ends of the feed screws were lubricated through open holes in their support-end castings - these inviting the unwelcome ingress of dirt and swarf; although able to be zeroed, both micrometer dials were small in diameter with hand-punched rather than rolled-in digits.
Drive came from a very South-Bend-like countershaft fitted with a 4-step V-pulley to take an A-section belt, plain bearings and an over-centre tensioning mechanism equipped with a left-and-right-threaded tension-adjusting nut - even that showing a close resemblance to a South Bend original. Two-step pulleys were fitted to the electric motor and input pulley the arrangement giving, in conjunction with backgear, a range of 16 speeds that probably spanned some 35 to 1500 r.p.m.