Little is know of the origins of this Russian-built development of the SL1000 copy but it was obviously a comprehensively strengthened and revised design with the main differences being an increase in centre height from 1.42 to 2 inches, the fitting of power feed to the carriage through changewheels (the gears being of clock-like proportions), an enclosed, lever-operated dog clutch mounted to the left of the headstock plinth and larger cross-feed and leadscrew nuts in bronze.. Oddly - and in contrast to the rest of the lathe - the cast-aluminium bracket used to support the heavy-looking motor assembly was of rather delicate construction.
During the 1960s and possibly running into the 1970s, examples were exported to the Russian-controlled Eastern European countries and also to the UK, though it is believed that others may have found their was to France and West Germany.
The badge on the lathe - though in English text rather than Cyrillic - is almost identical to that used on the better-known Russian small lathe, the round-bed "Universal 3-inch" and "Delphin" and it might be that the same factory produced the Unimat copy. Although the former USSR (Russia) has, over many decades, produced a huge variety of industrial lathes, the former Communist-controlled and centralised industrial systems with many manufacturers producing identical models, was not known for an interest in smaller types, especially those intended for the model engineer or home-shop enthusiast. Some copies of German lathes were manufactured for watch, clock and instrument manufacture and repair including the "GODOVIKOV" (based on the Boley No. 1b), and a screwcutting version of the same machine the Model T-11; the T-28 (modelled on the 10 mm collet Schaublin 70); a little watchmaker's lathe, the "KHARKOVSKI" (a direct copy of a 6 mm Lorch) and the C-95, a watchmakers' lathe was widely manufactured throughout the former Soviet Union. However, one enterprising designer obviously saw the export potential for a small, very-well equipped machine able to turn both metal and wood and to be sold at a bargain price. Accordingly, a suitable lathe was designed at the Scientific Research Institute for Cutting Machine Tools (VNIITEMR) in Moscow. and designed as the "Technika" (Tekhnika in English) with manufacture beginning in the town of Penza (Pensa) to the very highest quality standards in a strategic defence plant. Export was taken care of by the then state-controlled firm who handled all such sales, "Stankoimport". In the English-speaking West the lathe became known as the "Universal 3 Inches" (though as the "Delphin Universal-3 Bench Machine Tool" in Australia) and as the TSCH-32-ME in some other countries.
If you have a Russian Unimat copy, or literature about them, please do contact the writer. Another Unimat copy is shown here - and home-built version here..