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South Bend Lathes Pre-1920
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By 1918 the South Bend Lathe Company, having been in operation for twelve years, had produced over 17,000 lathes, was employing 350 skilled workers - and had become known world-wide as an exporter of decently-made, well-specified lathes. Naturally, very early models are now rare, with only very occasional examples coming to light such as this very fine 1910 model.
As production increased - and driven by the needs of World War One, parts were machined in batches of 100 (and lathes built in sets of 25s) and so jigged that at least those 100, and sometimes more, had spares that were completely interchangeable. Surprisingly, the leadscrews and racks were purchased from an outside supplier, a specialist in that type of precision work, and none of the lathes (unlike those from competitors) was available with a screwcutting gearbox.
In 1918 South Bend's smallest machine was the 13" and from there the range rose in size with models of 15", 16", 18",  21" and 24". All the lathes up to the 18" looked remarkably similar, but the two largest were of more-obviously heavy construction and mounted on very substantial, box-like columns instead of legs. The entire range, including the massive 24" lathe, could be fitted with headstock, tailstock and toolpost raising blocks, (an option that continued into the 1930s) and all were available in a choice of five bed lengths and with a gap if requested; in the latter case the ordinary Model Number was prefixed by the digit 1.
The very longest of the 21" and 24" lathes, with between-centres capacities of  8 to 12 feet, were supplied with a supporting column under the centre of the bed.

1918 South Bend 13" Model 34 backgeared, screwcutting lathe. This model was available either as a bench machine, or mounted on cast legs and  with between-centres capacities of 20", 32", 44", 56" and 68", at prices varying between $256 and $315. The ground spindle, with a 3/4" bore, ran in adjustable phosphor bronze bearings and the carriage was provided with a (rather short) T slot on each arm to allow work to be clamped for boring and milling. Both the headstock and tailstock were No. 3 Morse taper and the tailstock barrel was of the self-eject type.
As supplied the lathe could only cut threads from 4 to 40 t.p.i. but of course, by compounding the gears, many other pitches could be obtained. Power sliding and surfacing was fitted, driven by a splined screw and worm which left the leadscrew to be used only for generating threads.
Standard equipment consisted of both large and small faceplates, two centres, fixed and travelling steadies, changewheels for screwcutting, spanners and a fast-and-loose countershaft assembly.
The restricted list of options showed a swivelling milling slide and key-way cutting attachment, a set of raiser blocks to increase the capacity to 18" and, as a factory-fitted extra only, a taper-turning unit.

1918 South Bend 24" Model 54 backgeared screwcutting lathe

1918 South Bend 24" Model 154 detachable-gap bed backgeared screwcutting lathe

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South Bend pre 1920
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