Manufactured by Geo. Watkinson & Co. Ltd in Kettering, England, the Welson lathe might, from its general appearance and some design details, have been made in the period 1910 to 1930. With a 5-inch centre height - and able to turn a diameter of 19 inches by 5 inches thick the bed gap - the lathe took only about 13 inches between centres. Bored to take a No.4 Morse taper, the headstock spindle ran in plain bronze bearings secured by bolt-on caps.
Fitted with a relatively crude, homemade countershaft unit bolted to the back of its bed, the lathe would originally have been driven from either factory line shafting or a wall or ceiling-mounted countershaft.
Almost certainly classified as a "facing" type, the lathe was backgeared for slow speeds but, with its unusually short bed, would have had limited use as a general-purpose machine. At some point in its life, it appears that raiser blocks were fitted to lift the centre height with a compensating plate beneath the toolpost.
Even when employed for the facing-off of large diameters, the Welson was not, most oddly, fitted with power cross feed. Although very limited in its capacity for between-centres work, it was still equipped for power sliding and screwcutting. However, as the bracket carrying the fine-pitch changewheels was only a single-slot type, the range of threads available was limited and it is doubtful how often it would have been used for this task.
Almost certainly intended to accompany a range of other lathe types in a production machine shop, its appeal would have been very limited; a general repair and maintenance shop would have rejected it out of hand - and hence few can have been sold. The survival of a single example is a pleasant surprise.