Although the name Tangye is synonymous with industrial Birmingham - and a famous maker of a vast range of industrial equipment - the maker of the 'Tangyes' lathes shown below carries the cast-in name: Tangyes' Machine Tool Co. Ltd. Birmingham. Hence, this maker's precise relationship with the long history of Tangye Brothers, James Tangye and Brothers, Tangye Brothers & Price and finally, Tangyes Ltd. is not clear - but one must reasonably assume that it was, indeed, by this very successful engineering concern. Examples of the maker's ordinary workshop lathes so far found all seem to have come from the late 1800s to early 1900s, the designs being of a period no later than that.
The first example of a small Tangyes lathe shown below is a carefully restored, light-duty one complete with its treadle-driven flywheel and - though lacking, as yet, the wood tool tray at the rear carried on cast extensions to the legs (this fitting being common on lathes of that era). Backgeared and screwcutting, the lathe carries a typical-for-the-time compound slide-rest assembly with the exposed feed screws operated by crank handles. The bed carries a cast-in badge proclaiming "Prize Medal Paris 1878". Instead of the usual screw-feed, the tailstock spindle is moved by rack-and-pinion gearing, though the rack-pinion gear appears to be missing.
Shown below the restored model is a Tangyes that was discovered complete but badly neglected in an abandoned building and still connected to a wall-mounted countershaft unit. Approximately 7-feet long, the lathe takes around 60 inches between centres and is constructed using a typically English style of bed with a flat top, dovetail sides and a detachable gap piece. The headstock spindle thrust is taken - in a typically Victorian manner - by an outboard plate mounted on two posts; the backgear ratio is 10 : 1 and the chuck fitted a period 8-inch diameter Taylor with its three dangerous, protruding keys. At some point in the past, the headstock pulley was changed to a 4-groove V-type to take an A-section belt and, from the relative narrowness of this fitting, the original fitting could well have been just a 2-step flat-belt cone pulley. With only four speeds available - two in open drive and two in backgear - the countershaft would almost certainly have been arranged to at least double the number.
Interestingly, the lathe is constructed to carry, at the tailstock end, a vertical milling attachment, the bed at this point cast to form a mounting platform for the miller's main column to be bolted to. In front of the column is a 10-inch diameter rotary table, turned by worm-and-wheel gearing; a dovetail, screw-feed slide is provided for the X feed but, with the Y being both by sliding the whole assembly along the bed under the control of a screw - and handwheel mounted at the tailstock end of the bed. The drive is picked up from an extension to the lathe countershaft, a 3-step pulley mounted rotating a horizontal shaft with the motion turned through 90° by bevel gears to turn the spindle.
Another useful item is a "quick-retract" handle on the cross-feed screw, its aim being to provide a way of screwcutting at high spindle speeds - the mechanism including a very coarse thread with the lever locking into notches in the handwheel and overriding the action of the cross-feed screw. Happily, the lathe shown is now in the hands of a sympathetic owner who intends to restore it.
If you have a Tangyes lathe or other machine tool (or any Company literature), the writer would be very interested to hear from you.