Continuing the Company's tradition of manufacturing fine-quality small lathes, the Ward Production plain-turning lathe was given the Model designation. 94/98 EC. It was built in two versions: the more common early type distinguished by a rounded top to the headstock and a much rarer late version with a flat-topped headstock.
A small machine, the swing over the bed was 9" and the distance between centres 15". It was made in two versions which differed only in their collet capacity and speed ranges: the Model 94 EC took collets with a maximum bore size of 11/16", while the large-spindle Model 98 EC accepted ones with a capacity up to 21/4" - a significant difference. When new the Model 94 could be ordered with a spindle to accept either the classic Wade No. 8 collet, or the well-known and almost standard-issue 5C Type. The Wade collet was longer - and had a stronger, more reliable buttress-form thread - but if your shop was already fitted out with several sets of the 5C Type, it was obvious which was going to be the more sensible choice.
Both lathes were fitted with the same variable-speed drive unit powered by a 1.5 hp motor; it ran the Model 94 spindle at speeds from 140 to 3500 rpm and that of the Model 98 from 80 to 2000 rpm.
The tailstock barrel had a No. 2 Morse taper and 3.5" of travel.
Two special models, the 94-VR and 94-VS, set up for Finishing or Second-operation work, were also produced. These were mechanically identical to the other models in the range but employed a simplified drive system. The VR retained push-button speed control, but had a 2:1 high/low speed ratio in place of the helically-geared electric-clutch machine's 5:1 - and was fitted with a hand-operated clutch and brake activated by a lever protruding through the front face of the stand - immediately in line with the headstock. The even cheaper VS lost the high/low ratio provision, and had a spindle-speed range from 300 to 300 rpm.
Designed to allow the operator to vary the speed instantly, the drive system was operated by pushing buttons marked simply Slower and Faster. The spindle, which could be stopped within 0.25 seconds, was controlled through the action of expanding and contracting (variable pitch) pulleys that drove on the side faces of a Gilmer Timing Belt of the "cogged" pattern. The drive from the pulleys was directed into a box containing three "countershafts" on which were mounted heat-treated and shaved helical gears, one double electric clutch for low spindle speeds (in a ratio of 5:1 to the higher speeds) and a single electrical clutch for reverse. Because the motor ran at constant speed, in one direction, it was claimed that cooler running and greater reliability could be expected. Able to be stopped, started and reversed without stopping the motor, the spindle was controlled by a lever on the front face of the headstock that operated a gearbox containing helical gears running in an oil bath and forward/reverse clutches. The result of this relatively complicated drive was that, for any setting of the variable speed drive, a clutch could instantly engage either the higher or lower speed range and the spindle could be instantly stopped, or reversed. The operator thus had complete and immediate control of the spindle speed and could set it to the optimum figure for the particular machining operation being undertaken - and then instantly change it again should the next operation required it. The clutches that performed the speed changes were of the electro-mechanical type (a similar design was used on the slightly larger English Raglan Five-inch capstan lathe) and made by the I-T-E Circuit Breaker Company of Philadelphia. They were amazingly compact units, smaller for a given torque rating than a mechanical clutch, with the largest being only 3.74" in diameter and 1.43" long and capable of handling a torque rating of 36 lb-ft (48.8 Nm). The clutches for the Wade were amongst the smallest of a wide range of sizes made by I-T-E and, not only were they used in a variety of other machine tools, but found numerous applications in conveyor systems, welders, test equipment, steel mills and process machinery.
Supplied with the lathe as part of its standard equipment was a collet closer of the three-finger, ball-bearing type, ruggedly built and with fine adjustment of the collet-closing range by means of a large handwheel.
Flame-hardened and ground, the bed was massively built, fastened to the stand at three points - and of very deep section; it was of traditional "Bench" precision-lathe cross section, having two symmetrically bevelled sides on the top surface which ensured that the compound slide rest, turret, tailstock and other accessories were always maintained in perfect alignment by a compressive clamping force.
A small range of beautifully made accessories (illustrated below) was available to further extend the capabilities of the lathe..