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Waco Multi-function Lathe
- "Red-Jacket Home Work Shop" -


Based in the industrial city of Chicago - and from the late 1920s onwards -  the Waco Tool Works Inc manufactured a variety of hand and powered woodworking tools for amateur use branding them, as a reference to their colour, "Red Jacket".  Sold only direct from the factory by mail order, the most useful powered items offered included a tilting-table saw bench, vertical band-saw, scroll and jig saw, planer, sanding disc unit, vertical spindle moulder and a 9" x 36" lathe.
Two methods of driving the accessories were offered, a headstock unit for bench mounting and a hand drill. The former held a ball-bearing spindle, fitted with a 2-step pulley for drive by a flat belt, and equipped with two bars that protruded from its front face onto which the device in use was mounted. With its perfectly round body, the drill was described as "
all-aluminium" and fitted with a removable, step-down gearing assembly on its output shaft and a large hand grip. A cradle was provided into which the drill was strapped by a wide metal band, the assembly mirroring that of the headstock unit with its protruding bars. While each component was available separately, Waco also offered what was advertised in some brochures (but not in the ones below) as the "Ace of Sets", a complete assembly of parts, ready to run at just $10 down.
What other uses could the makers dream up for a modified version of their electric motor? Well, why not a "
Personal Masseur"? No, no - it's not what you're thinking. On the end of the motor was gearing that turned the drive through a right-angle, the resultant shaft being fitted, at each end, with a plate and pin to which the belt was attached. Being arranged at 180 to each other, the pins caused the belt to oscillate wildly and, when wrapped around your legs, arms or torso, imparted the desired massaging motion. "Mould Your Body to and Ideal Figure" boasted the maker's advertisement. Still available today these magic-no-effort-weight-loss-for the-greedy do not, of course, work. Here's the ultimate weight-loss plan. You'll be irresistibly attractive to the opposite sex. Just send $1 and a stamped, addressed, return envelope for the secret to a toned, lithe and youthful body. "   Pictures below are high resolution and may take time to load

February 1928 and the first known advertisement for the Waco "Wonder Woodworking Shop" appears in Popular Mechanics Magazine

The Waco Red Jacket as advertised in mid 1929

The  Red Jacket as advertised during late 1930  - one of the last to be found

Waco vertical bandsaw, the special hand-drill electric motor  and a simple wood lathe with, instead of two steels bars for a bed one in cast iron with an integral headstock.