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Resident in the Channel Islands and thought to be from circa 1850 to 1880, this very unusual lathe had its carriage running not on the bed's top face in a conventional manner, but on V and flat ways formed along its front face. In this respect it belongs to a select band of other such examples that include, from America, the Rivett 608 and its immediate predecessor, the 8-inch Precision; various models by Wade, Nathan English and George Ballou; the very rare Pearce, made in New York; the Dwrite Slate and the production type Porter-Cable. From England came a very early example (preserved in the Science Museum) by the renowned Richard Roberts; the James Spencer and George Birch (both from Manchester), the Rolls Royce (a very special, high-accuracy machine) and the well-known and beautifully made Japanese Toyo ML1 - which, like the Rolls-Royce, had carriage ways formed on both the front and back faces of its bed.
Our unknown lathe looks to have been carefully designed, the bed, to counteract the twisting caused by having the carriage cantilevered from its front face, being heavily ribbed by closely-spaced diagonal struts between the inner walls.
Intended for ornamental work, the compound slide-rest assembly was able to be elevated by a vertical screw and the headstock fitted with two most unusual rectangular cast-iron frames set at right-angles to each other. The horizontal frame was fitted with an adjustable, hardened point to take spindle thrust and a small horizontal pulley - though if this was driven through worm-and-wheel gearing by the spindle, or just some sort of idler pulley, is not known. The vertical frame was bored with spot-faced holes in its upper left and right-hand corners and two further holes bored through the forward vertical section. One must assume that this frame was intended to mount various accessories of, at the moment, an unknown nature. Running in bronze "box" bearings, although the spindle appears to have been of ordinary construction, it tapers towards its nose and so must have been be adjustable for fit in the tapered bearing. The left-hand end of the spindle carried a nut on its end and, outboard of that, a separate section threaded and fitted with a disc some one-inch wide and four inches in diameter - its purpose (possibly connected with ornamental turning) being a mystery.
The slide rest was a three-slide type, the swivelling middle slide being topped by a second fixed slide that carried a typically English-style, 4-stud clamp-type toolpost. All the feeds screws (as well as that for the tailstock) - were fitted with rather elegant fixed handles, each having two "spokes", the shape of which echoed the contemporary detachable "single-crank" type
No screwcutting was fitted, carriage traverse along the bed being by a large diameter, full-circle handwheel fitted to the (bronze-bearing-supported) leadscrew at the headstock end of the bed.
It appears that the original 4-jaw independent chuck has survived with the lathe, this having jaws of an unusual type though able, as usual, to hold small work in the centre and larger on the outside. As the H & S industry was over a hundred years away, the chuck had its square chuck jaws arranged to protrude through the outside face, threatening to remove the fingers of any workman careless to ignore the danger..