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South Bend 9-inch Lathe Clones
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If any reader can supplies copies of sales or other literature for the Australian-built South Bend copies, the author would be very pleased to hear from them.


The South Bend 9" "Workshop" lathe was copied by at least nine makers - and illustrated below and on other pages are examples of the machine as developed in Australia, Brazil, England and Sweden. Besides the machines for which illustrations exist there was the Australian Purcell, made by Mr. William Crooks who, having bought the Purcell engineering company in 1940, turned to the manufacture of small lathes and other machine tools. In addition to the South Bend copy the company also produced other lathes of various sizes - and information about these is sought. Although production of Purcell lathes ceased around 1960, Mr Crooks also owned a distribution company, Demco Machine Tools of Sydney, a firm still in business. The Sheraton was another Australian South Bend copy, made in Bayswater, Melbourne, from the early 1950s until 1981 - spares for these machines might be available from Robbie Rogers of 36, Sydney Road, Bayswater, Melbourne. The Sheraton "Conquest" was a geared-head version of the South Bend 10-inch whilst other, smaller lathes of a different design, the Cub and Cadet for example, were also manufactured.  Sheraton had, apparently, a very close relationship with Demco and leased most of their (usually Czechoslovakian TOS) machine tools from them; in turn Demco (the import agents for TOS) acted as agents for  Sheraton lathes. Reports from Australia suggest that one of the reasons for the demise of  Sheraton was its move from what was described as a "...dingy, brick rabbit-warren old factory.." on Heidelberg Road to new premises some distance away. Many skilled workers, being unwilling to travel so far, took redundancy compensation and the company lost several key personnel. At some point the Sheraton concern was purchased by the English-based 600 machine-tool group who also handled, through their Selson Company, the import of TOS lathes into the UK - as well as many other world-wide machinery interests.
Even in Sweden, home to many producers of fine-quality machinery, the benefits of copying an established machine were recognised and both the Blomqvist and Storebro companies manufactured their own lightly-modified version until, it is believed, the early 1970s; a gearbox-equipped (Model A) Blomqvist can be seen at the bottom of this page (and further Blomqvist coverage here) and a changewheel (Model C) version of the Storebro here.
Although probably not produced in great numbers copies were also made in Brazil by Sanches Blanes S.A. (with machine labels marked:
Industria de Maquinas Ferramentas. Ribeiraopires SP Industria Brasileira) and by a company of which little is known "Usina Metalúrgica Joinville S.A." at Joinville city, Santa Catarina State. The latter machine exhibited far more significant changes to the original than any other clone with adjustable bronze headstock bearings and an entirely novel design of apron. If any reader can help with details of Joinville company the writer would be pleased to hear from them.
Further details of the standard American 9-inch "Workshop" South Bend 9-inch lathes and its clones can be found here..


Original American Model A South Bend with screwcutting gearbox and power cross feed.

Hercus is an Australian built version of the South Bend 9 inch "Workshop" lathe; the machines were in production, as the 200 Series, with a 10" swing and are able to pass 26 mm (1") through the spindle bore, until 2001. As may be seen, although the styling has been largely "squared off", the tailstock and top slide are still definitively, and charmingly, South Bend in appearance. The most significant changes are the neat, built-on 16-speed countershaft unit and the enclosure of  it, and the changewheels, to modern safety standards.
Production of Hercus machine tools was underway in the 1940s and it instructive to note that the firm's founder, Mr. F.W. Hercus, wrote to the British press in 1954 (but without revealing that he was a machine-tool manufacturer) outlining the Australian Customs' requirements for immigrants bringing their own model-engineering tools with them. He also pointed out that, whilst it took sixteen weeks' work in England to buy a Model C South Bend (£7), in Australia an "equally-good" copy  could be bought with just 10-weeks' wages. More Hercus information can be found HERE

The English Smart & Brown "Sabel" 4.5" x 18" - as befits a company renowned for its toolroom lathes - was the best-made of all the copies. It featured a full cover over the headstock V belt (somewhat along the lines of the South Bend "Light Ten") and a superbly-engineered, if rather over-long, countershaft unit. It was available without the screwcutting gearbox in two other versions: the "SAB", which retained the power cross feed apron, and the "S"  (presumably for Standard) which did not. Various numbers of spindle speeds and speed ranges were offered, but most lathes appear to have been supplied with a 16-speed drive which spanned 45 to 1200 rpm. As an example of the wonderful attention to detail - although some would call it neglectfully wasteful over-engineering - the electrical reverse switch was not bolted to a convenient bracket on the headstock or countershaft, instead, the chrome-plated bronze operating lever was mounted on the front face of the headstock with its shaft passing right through the casting to the back. The shaft carried a large bronze gear which acted on a smaller small bronze gear fastened to the spindle of a standard Dewhurst reversing switch tucked up underneath the back of the headstock.
Although spares are no longer available for this range of  S & B lathes, most Boxford and South Bend parts and accessories will fit, providing a cheap and easily route to restoration. "Sabel" was the name of the original S & B works in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, England.

English Boxford Model AUD on underdrive stand.

Even in Sweden, home to many producers of fine-quality machinery, the benefits of copying an established design were recognised and the Blomqvist firm produced their own lightly-modified version until, it is believed, the early 1970s. The external shape of the screwcutting box may be different but the relative positions of the control lever indents is identical--yet strangely, for what must be a metric machine, they are not reversed left to right as were all-metric specification lathes (with metric leadscrews) made by South Bend and Boxford.
The bed is noticeably deeper than a South Bend's and the feet are cast integrally instead of bolting on; the front of the apron also appears to be modified in some way, although the disposition of the controls is unaltered. If any reader with a Blomqvist can provide a set of close-up photographs, the author would be pleased to hear from them.