Home   Machine Tool Archive   Machine-tools Sale & Wanted
Machine Tool Manuals   Catalogues   Belts   Books  Accessories

Timbrell & Wright Capstan Lathes

A long-forgotten maker, Timbrell & Wright Machine Tool & Engineering was based in Slaney Street, Birmingham and made a range of machine tools - including a small, stub-type horizontal miller - but appear to have concentrated on capstan lathes. Their early models, starting from what must have been the late 1920s, were relatively tiny and intended for the production of smaller parts. In later years their range expanded to include machines of a similar size to the better-known Ward and Herbert No. 2 Models, though it is believed that the original versions survived until the end of WW2 - alongside examples from the likes of Myford - when small lathes of this type would have been in short supply.
The earliest versions were of absolutely straightforward construction, the lathe having its headstock and bed cast "as-one" (adding to rigidity) and with the latter arranged, like the Myford Series 7 lathes, with a flat top (4
3/8" wide") and narrow 90 ways to guide the cut-off slide and 6-station turret head with its 5/8" bore tooling holes.
Bored through 3/4" parallel (though on the example inspected this may have been done by a previous owner to increase its capacity) the spindle had a nose threaded 1.25" x 14 t.p.i.  and ran in plain bronze bearings secured by simple two-bolt caps (though other versions of this type, either as an option or possibly of later manufacture) are known to have had generously large ball or roller races). Early models carried a 3-step flat-belt pulley (with diameters of 4.75", 3.75" and 2.71") and (with no evidence that the stand every mounted a countershaft unit) obviously intended for connection to a factory's overhead line-shafting. Developed versions had V-belt drive, and the likelihood that some sort of built-on countershaft was fitted - certainly the company's later machines were advertised as
All-Electric indicating (as shown in the advertisement below) that a proper self-contained motorised countershaft system was fitted (instead of just pulleys to pick up the drive from factory line shafting installed in the roof of a factory) allowing the lathe to be self-contained and so placed at will anywhere within the workshop.
On the flat-belt drive model the lower half of the bearings each bore against a steel backing plate, but the upper halves located directly against the caps - though with evidence that there may have been a slip of paper or a special thin gasket material used to "adjust" the fit. Although now snapped off, on the left-hand face of the headstock was a cast bracket that would have provided a mounting point for a lever-action collet closer. Some examples of the lathe must also have been fitted with either a hand or powered longitudinal feed to the cut-off/forming slide, a number of holes and machined surfaces in the front of the bed and on the apron of one bearing witness to the mounting of a suitable leadscrew or power-shaft and the necessary control levers.
Although the screw-feed cut-off slide would have been adequate for small-batch jobs, for serious production work one operated by lever would have been preferable, though no doubt such an item would have been on the options' list. 
By 1946 the Company was offering a complete range of sizes (the largest able to load a 2" bar) starting at the No. 0 through the No. 1, No. 2, 2a and No. 3 (the self-contained,
all-electric models carried the suffice E in their description). Early models manufactured during the 1940s and 1950s can be recognised by the use of a separate cast-iron plinth beneath the headstock and tailstock - and later types by the use of a full-length cabinet stand.
If any reader has a machine tool by Timbrell & Wright, or any information about the Company's or its products, the writer would be interested to hear from you..

Timbrell & Wright No. 0 capstan lathe from the early 1050s

Timbrell & Wright No. 2 capstan lathe from the early 1050s

Timbrell & Wright No. 2A capstan lathe from the early 1050s

1943 advertisement  (in the middle of WW2) for Timbrell & Wright capstan lathes and production tooling

1946 and Timbrell & Wright have expanded their range are now offering a complete range of capstan lathes from the No. 0E (E for electric with a self-contained drive system) to the No. 3E.

An early Timbrell & Wright fitted with V-belt drive and without any form of power feed to the cut-off slide. This version appears to be a version in size between the later No. 0 and No. 1 - the maximum through-collet diameter being 7/16" and the holes in the capstan head 1/2"

Possibly a Model 1E with generously large ball or roller spindle bearings

The lower half of each spindle bearings bore against a steel backing cap

Evidence of some backing material - paper or a special thin gasket - being used between the bronze bearings and their caps

Home   Machine Tool Archive   Machine-tools Sale & Wanted
Machine Tool Manuals   Catalogues   Belts   Books  Accessories

Timbrell & Wright Capstan Lathes