email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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Sheane Bros. Lathe - Ireland


Appearing to be absolutely conventional in design and construction and typical for its period - circa 1885 to 1900 - the Sheane Brothers lathe is unusual in having been made in Wicklow, Ireland by the three Sheane brothers. Just two other lathes native to Ireland are known, both from Dublin: Kennan & Sons, of Fishamble Street, well known for their range of high-quality machines aimed at the amateur market (including a number of superb ornamental-turning lathes) and Booth Brothers, who produced a simple, plain-turning machine.
All three Sheane brothers served engineering apprentices in Chard, Somerset, before returning to Ireland in the late 1800s to open a tool-making business. The Sheane family are still in Ireland, the Sheane racing car being part of their interests. 
Backgeared and screwcutting, the Sheane lathe appears to have had a centre height of around 4.5" and a capacity between centres of 30 inches. The relative lightness of its construction would mean its intended market was the smaller manufacturer, repair workshop or wealthy amateur. One unusual and very useful feature (variations on which have been widely employed by amateur modifiers over the decades) was an automatic disengage to the carriage drive; the mechanism consisted of a flat bar, bolted to the leadscrew hanger bearings, that carried a sliding wedge able to be locked in any position. As the wedge reached the leadscrew clasp-nut control it moved the lever so opening the nut and releasing the drive.
In the hands of one family from 1916 until 2012, the example below survives in full working order complete with what could well be its original wall-mounted countershaft. Like all similar lathes at the time it would also have been offered with a treadle-driven flywheel assembly, carried on the heavily built headstock end leg. Assuming a number to have been built, if any reader has another example, the writer would be pleased to hear from you..

email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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Sheane Bros. Lathe - Ireland