Manufactured by the Wermelinger Company with works (or offices) at the now redeveloped 12 Rue des Laitières, Vincennes to the east of Paris, the M.J.8 lathe would have been current during the late 1940s to early 1950s. With a centre height of 160 mm (6.3") and a capacity between centres of 750 mm (29.5") the M.J.8 was of the production type with power feed to the apron by a shaft and lacking the usual leadscrew fitted to an ordinary screwcutting centre (engine) lathe.
Of enormously deep section, the box-section cast V and flat-way bed was to Brinell 200 and well braced by cross webs between the front and back walls. Like a number of previous and contemporary lathes from various makers, the front way had a narrow inside face set at a steep angle to absorb tool thrust while the much wider outside face was set at a shallower angle to better spread the load and so (it was claimed) extend the bed's life.
Running in a front taper roller bearing and an ordinary cylindrical roller bearing at the rear, the 30 mm (1.2") bore spindle was made from nitrited steel and driven through a connecting peg by a surrounding pulley that turned in its own bearings to isolate the assembly from the pull of the multi-V-belt drive. Built into the pulley assembly was a clutch, the control of which was by a long, conveniently-positioned handle protruding from the front face of the headstock. Drive came from a oil-bath gearbox located beneath the headstock inside the bed-support plinth - the box being driven by V-belts from a 5 h.p. 1500 r.p.m. 3-phase motor and holding heat-treated, hardened and ground gears made from a nickel-chrome steel running on shafts supported in ball races. Bored with a No. 4 Morse taper socket, the spindle nose carried an in-house design of patented quick-release fitting with chucks and faceplates secured by a large ring nut pulling them against a taper - the arrangement being not unlike that used on the American Long-nose taper .
Drive to the carriage was by a separate gearbox, of the same design as the spindle drive unit, with the 16 rates arranged in geometrical progression to give sliding feeds from 0.04 to 0.8 mm per revolution of the spindle and surfacing from 0.025 to 0.46 mm/rev. The carriage power shaft carried a stop ring by which means the carriage could be left running and automatically disengaged at a pre-set point as the ring ran up against a bed-mounted stop.
Obviously intended for production rather than general work, the compound slide rest had a cross slide equipped with a simple, non-swivelling, screw-driven top slide with an indexing 4-way toolpost and, at the back mounted on a T-slotted boss, a 2-slot parting-off tool holder.
Clamped to the bed by a combination of a quick-action lever that protruded from its rear face, or by the usual nut and bolt, the tailstock was of especially robust construction and held a No. 4 Morse taper spindle locked by a powerful spit clamp.
Weighing approxiamtely 1250 kg, the Wermelinger M.J.8 occupied a floor space of 1965 x 965 x 1250 mm.