Owned by Roy Seeley, a precision engineer who had taken redundancy from Bristol Aircraft at Filton, Bristol, the Tyme Company's first lathe is believed to have been introduced during 1976 as the "Model 17/67". Sold as kit of parts for home assembly, it was without motor or any other electrical equipment. The first built-up machine equipped for immediate use was the "Cub", this being announced at the 1978 Wembley Wood-working Exhibition and followed, a year later, by the "Avon". These lathes were equipped with new, realistically-priced British-made single-phase motors equipped with safety NVOR switchgear.
It is known that two Avon versions with very long beds admitting 72 inches between centres and fitted with 1.5 h.p. motors were made. Braced by a pair of intermediate castings to stop the bed rails sagging, these were sold to a company in Basingstoke making stems for standard lamps.
Typical of the simpler, lighter wood-turning lathes made in the UK, the Tyme brand was eventually to be bought by Mahdu Dumani at Harlow, in Essex, then trading under the Multico banner and also the owner of the rights to the well-known and robust Harrison Graduate lathe. Production of the Tyme machines was put out to a sub-contractor with all sold for export. it being reported that Mahdu was sick and tired of the UK market.…
As far as is known, five models were to be offered by Tyme: the original 17/67, Cub, Avon, SL-750 and Gem - the Cub and Avon being relatively common and the others, especially the SL-750, rare.
Well built in steel, cast-iron and aluminium the Avon could be had as the Model ATL300 with 24" (610 mm) between centres, the ATL301 with 36" (915 mm) or the ATL301 that admitted 48" (1220 mm) in bed lengths of 40", 52" and 62" (1016, 1320 and 1575 mm). Made economically from two off-the-shelf solid steel square-section bars, the bed was arranged so the front bar was set with its top surface horizontal while that at the rear had an edge facing upwards to provide a location for headstock tool rest and tailstock - this design being in contrast to the solid round bars used successfully by a number of other wood-lathe makers, notably those lathes made in Sheffield by Sorby and record Tools, the latter originally badged as "Coronet". Though inexpensively built, the Avon bed was easily able to cope with all work within the machine's capacity. Power came from a 0.75 h.p., 1425 r.p.m. 1-phase motor flange mounted against the rear section of the head's end face that drove directly to the spindle using a 4-step Polly-V pulley. Equipped with a push-button, no-volt release starter, the motor gave four speeds of 470, 750, 1150 and 2000 r.p.m. For bowl turning the headstock was arranged (like that on the Coronet Major) to swivel forwards through 90°, in which position work up to 19.5" (495 mm) in diameter could be turned on the (rather small) 4-inch faceplate over the bench surface; if turned through 180° so that work overhung the end of the bench, jobs up to 24-inches (610 mm) in diameter could be handled - though at this size some care would have been needed.
Robustly built, the headstock had a No. 2 Morse taper spindle running in deep-groove, sealed-for-life ball bearings and carried a nose threaded 2 mm x 25 mm
Supplied with each new Avon lathe was a 3/4 h.p electric motor and switchgear (a 1 h.p. was listed as an extra-cost option), a 2-prong drive centre, a solid No. 2 Morse taper tailstock centre and a double-support, 10-inch toolrest.
Smaller and cheaper than the Avon (and judging by the numbers on the used marked almost certainly the best seller in the range) the Cub was a cut-price model that still used an all-steel, cast-iron and aluminium construction and the square-section steel-bar bed of the Avon. The centre height was 4 inches (100 mm) with a swing of 5 inches (125 mm) available over the tool-rest support bracket and a bowl- turning capacity of 15 inches (380 mm) with the headstock swung through 90°. The standard capacity between centres was 19.5 inches (500 mm) but also available were models that gave 29.5 inches (750 mm) and 39 inches (1000 mm) - the simple bed rails allowing almost any length to be constructed providing that some form of intermediated foot (or feet) could be arranged to keep things from flexing.
Power came from a 0.75 h.p. 1-phase 1425 r.p.m. motor arranged, as on the Avon, driving direct to the spindle over Poly-V pulleys that gave four speeds of 480, 800, 150 and 2000 r.p.m. The spindle carried a nose threaded 2 mm x 20 mm with, like the tailstock, a No. 1 Morse taper socket.
A tiny, late-comer to the Tyme range, the 12 kg "Gem" was designed for Roy by Jim (Smith?) an ex-Southern TV cameraman who made lace bobbins and pencils. by the million. The lathe had a centre height of just 2" (50 mm) and a between-centres capacity of 220 mm (8.7"). Square-section steels bars were used for its bed - in this case 20" x 3/4" - together with the usual Tyme trade-mark construction in steel, and aluminium. Small, but robustly built, the headstock had a spindle supported in deep-groove, sealed-for-life ball bearings with a No. 1 Morse taper socket and the usual Tyme 2 mm x 25 mm nose thread Instead of stepped Poly-V pulleys the drive on the Gem was by a single V-pulley with speed changes made simply turning a knob on the control box of the infinitely variable-speed, 150W motor. As the Gem was intended for very small-diameter work, lace bobbins for example, the spindle speeds were set necessarily high - approximately 1140 to 5000 r.p.m. Unfortunately production had to be halted when Parvalux in Bournemouth ceased production of the special motor used and nothing similar could be found. Email was unheard of in those days and it took six weeks to receive a reply in the negative from Papst Motoren GmbH in Germany. It is suspected that around 200 were built - and are now a sought-after model.