Thought to be German in origin, with an address plate on a lathe proclaiming M. Selig Junior & Co. Berlin N.W. Karl-Strasse 20 . However, as a German Company might not have had "& Co." added to its name, the possibility exists that they might have English in origin - and indeed, they had, from 1871 onwards, premises in Queen Victoria Street, Lambeth Hill in S.E. London and a factory in Coventry. As well as being manufacturers, they were also very successful agents (various maker's and branding badges are found on their machine tools), importers and one of the leading retailers of engineering and associated products. They described themselves (during the period 1880 to 1910) as: "importers of American & other foreign engineers' tools & machinery wholesale & export, hardware & machinery merchants & contractors for metal & railway materials of every description." Eventually, using the first three letters from each name, they took on a new and easier-to-market identity as Selson - a company that was to became a considerable force in machine-tool marketing and, in turn, the foundation of the large "600" engineering group. Amongst the first machine tools they handled was a wide range of lathes - from simple, lightweight plain-turning types - often on treadle stands - to heaver, backgeared and screwcutting models for repair workshops together with a variety of shapers and planers. All would have been provided from either their own works or a number of contemporary English, European and American makers - and all appear to have been of better-than-average quality.
Shown below is an interesting small "open-sided" planer made in Germany by the Heinemann Company (extracts from their contemporary catalogues can be seen here). Parts of the table drive mechanism are stamped M.Haas Patent (shown at the bottom of the page)* - this being granted in America on January 2nd, 1885 with the number 310,996. This was evidently an important part of the design such that it drew comments in the English Mechanic & World of Science, Magazine of 1887 where it was described as the Eureka (Hass' patent). In response to a reader's enquiry the reply stated: 61211 Planing Machine. You can't make your planer like the so-called Eureka (Haas' patent) because the clutches are, firstly, patented and secondly-difficult to make).
Motorised, with a countershaft bolted to its rear, the planer shown is in otherwise original condition (including what is left of the maker's paint finish) and incorporates a number of very ingenious and patented mechanical devices. However, its most interesting (and puzzling) feature is the overall design - with a just a single-sided support for the beam and no way of elevating the cross arm. Although an open side was common on many very large planers used for machining, for example, massive and awkwardly shaped components for ships, power stations and the like, a single support is rare (if not unique) on such a small machine. After all, if one or two men can lift a job, it would be better placed on a bigger planer of ordinary design, with the usual twin cross-beam supports, and machined at a much faster rate. However, one possibility is that the Selig was intended to appeal to the professional machinist with very limited workshop space who was engaged in machining relatively bulky items that need precise finishing, such as the slide valves from smaller steam engines. Despite the theoretical disadvantages of the one-sided support, a practical test of the machine showed that the overarm (despite reaching beyond the left-hand edge of the table by several inches) was remarkably rigid: a 16 stone workman levering with his full weight against the end of the arm could barely induce a deflection of more than a few "thou". The lack of height adjustment also added to the rigidity - although, of course, did limit the size of job that could be fitted and meant more work to pack up jobs up that were out of the toolholder slide's adjustment range. It appears that, although some examples had a drive fitted to move the cutter head across its 15-inches of travel in one direction only (using the usual kind of simple ratchet mechanism and with a return feed by hand) - others were arranged to work both ways.
Continued below: Some pictures are high resolution and may be slow to load