Owned by one Earl Pearson, the American Rotex company manufactured a range of entirely conventional small horizontal, universal millers and vertical millers - as well as an unusual (for the 1950s) hydraulically operated bench-top planer. All the Company's machine tools had something of the appearance of the early English Tom Senior designs - solidly built, very well finished and with careful attention to detail. Owners report silky-smooth controls and a pleasing attention to detail in the design and finish of smaller components.
Fitted out for bench mounting, the standard horizontal miller had an integral, side-mounted V-belt drive countershaft that gave a range of 4 speeds. The spindle (bored through 0.75") was of a generous size for so compact a machine and the customer had a choice of either No. 4 Morse taper or Brown and Sharpe No. 9 and 10 fittings.
Reasonably sized for a smaller miller at 20" x 5", the exceptionally deep and robust table (with two, or optionally three, T slots) was powered along its 12 inches of longitudinal travel by a universally joined shaft driven from a pulley mounted on an extension to the rear of the taper-roller bearing spindle; three rates of feed were available:- 0.003", 0.006" and 0.012" per revolution. The traverse feed was five inches and the vertical movement of the knee 9 inches.
For the horizontal millers a simple non- quill feed vertical head (Type VH-255) was offered that mounted onto the front end of the round overarm; the head appears to have been driven by a shaft passing through the overarm to a 5-step V pulley, mounted at the back and driven from the same pulley cluster that powered the horizontal spindle. The machine occupied a box 36" x 36" by 31" high - and weighed approximately 450 lb.
Dedicated Rotex vertical millers are rarely seen, and few can have been sold. The head on these was different, being The rare dedicated Rotex vertical - an ideal size for the smaller workshop - with a self-contained, V-belt-drive, lever-action quill-feed head that could be both swivelled and nodded - the arrangement being rather along the lines of the neat little Rusnok. Cutting tools were held by double-taper collets - though instead of the powerful clamping force found on modern types, those on the Rotex have been reported as inadequate, with flex apparent under only moderate cuts. Apart from the head, in all other respects the vertical appears to have been identical to the horizontal models (with the usual deep and robust table) though of course without the horizontal spindle and associated drive gear.
Illustrated at the bottom of this page is the company's unusual, hydraulically-driven