A fine example of the backgeared and screwcutting Wade CAV fitted with what may well be a home-made compound slide assembly
Of the two models listed, the "No. 1" was plain-turning with its split headstock bearing clamping screws to the rear, whilst the "No. 2", with three direct speeds and three geared speeds, was equipped with both a 5:1 reduction steel backgear and screwcutting. The headstock on this lathe was almost twice as long and much more substantially constructed than the one fitted to the plain lathe - and had the bearing-clamp screws to the front.
Formed - most unusually - from a square-section steel bar threaded on its end to accept accessories, the tailstock spindle was locked by a slot in the aluminium casting closed down by a set-screw.,
Fitted with an ordinary Whit-form right-hand thread, as a result the cross-slide had a "cack-handed" feel when applying a cut - turning the wheel clockwise resulted in the tool being retracted instead of advanced, an awkward arrangement with great potential to wreck jobs, until the owner became used to it. The toolpost was a simple "clog-heel" type, made in either aluminium or bronze - through the latter, being expensive, is rare and must have been abandoned early in the machine's life.
Thirteen changewheels (80t, 70t, 63t, 60t, 55t, 52t, 50t, 42t, 40t, 38t, 35t, 32t and one of 30t the headstock spindle) were included in the basic set and these were able, in combination with a 12 t.p.i leadscrew, to generate threads between 6 and 70 t.p.i. The gears were made from steel, heat treated and ran on gunmetal bearings - as did a neatly-engineered dog clutch, fitted to the end of the leadscrew and enclosed within the headstock casting.
Exported to Canada and the USA, the lathe was offered in the latter country by the Gerold Company of 120 Liberty Street, New York who listed the full range of accessories including an American "Whiton" 3 jaw ring-scroll chuck of 2.5" diameter (an item also fitted to English-market versions) ,a 3" diameter 4-jaw chuck, two simple "bell" and "ring" chucks, an offset centre for taper turning, a travelling steady, various wood-turning centres, a faceplate with adjustable dogs to convert it into a large 4-jaw chuck, three hand T-rests of different lengths, a tailstock chuck mounted on its own square barrel, a tailstock drilling pad and, to "special order" (and hence very rare), a compound slide rest and milling slide - neither of which the author has ever seen on English-market Models.
With improved engineering facilities to hand, in the last years of production (when, judging by the numbers discovered, sales must have been declining) some changes were introduced including a heavier and more rigid headstock with a flat front face and a conventional round (instead of square) tailstock barrel with a proper Acme feed screw. Some of these last models were also given very much more rigid and heavy cast iron bed supports and carriage units. Finally, very late in the day (and too late to be a commercial success) a revised "cast-iron" model was introduced that, whilst it followed the design of the earlier type, had Morse taper centres and was fitted with T-slotted cross-slide that rotated about a short but stout steel post - so allowing a milling attachment to be mounted.
As well as being decently made, the detail engineering of the No. 2's headstock and changewheel drive to the leadscrew (through a dog-clutch) was quite exceptional for so inexpensive a product. In reality, however, the design was a triumph of hope over practicality as any attempt to turn more resilient materials, or take large cuts, quickly showed up the machine's inherent weakness - a lack of rigidity. However, it did provided the impecunious amateur with an opportunity to buy a new lathe on which to learn the essentials of turning and screwcutting.
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Another "Wade" product was a tiny sensitive bench drill. In aluminium, like the lathe it had the usual arrangement of two jockey pulleys at the rear guiding a round rope belt around the spindle pulley - of which just one step was provided. It was intended for drive by a treadle unit which must, at the 1927 price of £3 : 5s : 0d., have been included along with the advertised 3-jaw chuck.