On these pages can be found high-resolution copies of the South Bend 9-inch lathe catalogs issued for 1948, for 1941 and for the last model made, the "Light Ten". Images and text show and describe the full model range, Types A, B and C, all the many different stands (cast-iron legs, wooden and sheet steel), drive systems and accessories.
Designed and first manufactured in 1933, South Bend "9-inch" was not announced until January 1934 and listed as the "Model 5". The new lathe had a single, basic specification of screwcutting by (20 DP) changewheels and hand-cross feed. This first model had virtually nothing in common with either of the earlier, cheaper South Bend lathes, the 8" and 9" Junior models, and was most commonly listed using the catalog number "405" - the "4" referring to a lathe intended to be driven by bench-mounted countershaft. The earliest mention of the lathe so far discovered comes in a January 1934 works pamphlet - this including examples of advertisements available for dealers to use in their local press - should you have an earlier mention of this publication, the writer would be very interested to know. More details of these very early 9-inch lathes, and their supporting literature, can be found here. Although a perfectly functional lathe, the first model did have some shortcomings, these being fully addressed by the manufacturer through an interim model (listed as the 415), this being manufactured from around September 1935 until 1938/9 and the introduction of a new range consisting of "A", "B" and "C" versions - the "A" with a screwcutting gearbox and power cross feed, the B with screwcutting using changewheelsw but retaining the power cross feed and the basic "C", this having with changewheels and hand cross feed and very similar to the 415. However, even as the lathe developed, by as early as 1935 the makers were boasting of "Ten New Features" - though it has to be said that polishing the rims of the carriage and tailstock handwheels accounted for two of them. The catalogue for November 1936 lists the 415 as the "New 1936 Workshop" - though even, at this date, it still retained a changewheel cover complete with the first type of (405) threading chart - but transposed from front to end face. The Model 5 (Type 405) and its development are covered in detail on these pages. An interesting sub-plot surrounding the early 9-inch lathes was a special type, the Series 20. Introduced in early 1934, under Catalog No. 520, this new machine was priced at $158, twice the cost of an equivalent capacity, if basic, 405 at $75. Although the Toolmaker was shown in the 1934 Year Catalogue, by the middle of 1935 it had disappeared, perhaps setting a record for the shortest production run of any South Bend model.
Taking account of the hard economic times of the early 1930s, the Model 5 was engineered to sell at a price that would appeal to the amateur and, because it would probably not be used for very heavy-duty work, was constructed from rather light castings in comparison with other South Bend lathes. However, the Company, it seems, was prepared to sacrifice nothing in the way of quality of fit and finish - and the Model 5 and subsequent versions were very well constructed. The makers boasted in early advertising literature that the lathe was: "….built entirely of steel, cast iron and malleable iron ….. No die cast-metal is used." - the latter reference being a dig at Atlas with their contemporary, mass-produced 9-inch lathe.
After WW2, a 10-inch version of the lathe was developed, the "L-10 South Bend Light Ten"; this featured an increased centre height, a larger hole through the spindle, a more securely guarded headstock - and was available as either a standard bench version or mounted on a neat, under-drive cabinet stand. This lathe did not replace the 9", but ran alongside it until the mid-1970s. While the older design of "Heavy Ten" underdrive lathe is quite common outside the USA, the "Light Ten" is much rarer.
Read the full article about the South Bend 9-inch lathe here