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Rivett Watchmakers' Lathes

A range of Rivett Publications is available

Rivett Home Page   Rivett Watchmakers' Page 2   Rivett on Rosberg Stand   

Restored Rivett 2C Page 1   Restored Rivett 2C Page 2

While Rivett might not have been the first makers of lathes made especially for use by watch and clockmakers, his products were certainly amongst the very finest ever produced. Beginning in 1884, when Edward Rivett and C.A.W.Crosby founded the Faneuil Watch Tool Company, his first two machines appear to have both been lathes, one a Precision bench type and the other a watchmakers'. As far as can be certain, the first of the latter type was the 1a2, made from circa 1887 to the early 1890s. This was followed by the Type 1b, made until around 1895 and, simultaneously, the Types 1C and 2C, this being stamped "STEEL" on the left-hand end of the bed - a fabulous example of this type has recently been discovered in England mounted on its original and very beautiful roll-top workbench by the J.H.Rosberg Mfg. Co. of Chicago. From some date probably close to 1895 the Type 2a was introduced, this lasting until 1901, then the Type 2b with a short production run from 1902 to 1905 and finally - until decades later and the Type 1R of 1946 - the identical Type 2c that can be recognised by an engraving on the end of the bed stating "Rivett Lathe Mfg. Co."

The distinctive Post WW-2 Rivett Model R1 watchmakers' lathe as manufactured by the then Rivett Lathe & Grinder Corporation. It is believed that approximately 500 to 600 examples were manufactured in the years spanning 1946 to around 1950 - all fitted with a headstock spindle running ball races. The use of anti-friction bearings in watchmakers' lathes was not unusual, examples being made by, amongst others,  Levin, Coronet, Derbyshire, and Marshall. The large pedestal beneath the headstock is usually found in cast aluminium but ones in cast iron were also produced.

Rivett watchmakers' lathe No. 2. This model had the headstock, toolrest and tailstock aliened by a central slot in the bed - the No. 1 lathes using (in the usual manner) outside bevelled edges. The No. 1 was produced from the early 1890s until late in the same decade with approximately 1000 being produced. No. 2 production followed on and this appears to have been, by the numbers surviving, the more common type - although it was, in comparison with its competitors, a relatively expensive proposition. Watch lathes of this conventional type were produced by all the various incarnations of the Rivett Company: the Faneuil Watch Tool Co., Rivett Lathe Mfg. Co. and Rivett Lathe & Grinder Co.

A superb example of the Rivett  Type 1C watchmakers' lathe as made by the Faneuil Watch Tool Co. This was identical to the earlier Type 1B (circa 1890 to 1895) but with the word "STEEL" engraved on the end of the bed (shown below) .

Rivett  Type 1C watchmakers' lathe  engraved "STEEL" on the end of the bed

Rivett "Universal Head" - a special, high-accuracy assembly fitted with a permanently-mounted "pump-centre" faceplate made from an especially hard nickel- a tough, rust-proof material with a beautiful appearance. For this unit the jaws fitted as standard were  of the more expensive "Rivett Patent" type - the ordinary collet-mounted faceplate able to be had with standard jaws or, for an extra $5 dollars on the 1902 price of $9, with the "Patent "jaws. The headstock spindle fitted was identical to that used in the ordinary headstock being made from tool steel hardened and ground and running in hardened steel bushes - the arrangement claimed by the makers to be unique to them for this type of fitting.

Faceplate with its special jaws clearly engraved with a patent date of January 3rd, 1888

The special Rivett "Jeweling Caliper Rest" with a cross-feed screw

The special Rivett "Jeweling Caliper Rest" with a cross-feed screw

Rivett tip-up tool rest circa 1904

Tip-up toolrest with the quick-release lever shown by the T-rest holder

Tip-up toolrest

Beautifully presented collet and accessory set

Rivett collet cases closed

Rivett Jewelling Collets

Rivett staking set

Underside of the Rivett staking set

Rivett Watchmakers' Lathes Continued on Page 2

Rivett on Rosberg Stand   Restored Rivett 2C Page 1   Restored Rivett 2C Page 2

A range of Rivett Publications is available

Rivett Home Page   

Rivett Watchmakers' Lathes
email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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