A Mk. 1 Winfield 3.25" x 12" with its distinctive "braced bed" ( photographic essay here)
A version of this lathe was also sold by the local machinery dealer Corbett's badged as if their own product
Like Portass in Sheffield, Winfield built their lathes in small batches and, from the selection that passed through the writer's hands, he can confirm a story from an acquaintance (who met Mr. Winfield Senior), that each set made was slightly different to the previous and incorporated, at the whim of the owner or foreman, such modifications or alterations that seemed, at the time, most appropriate. Little-used examples that have come to light in recent years show that manufacture was on a tight budget, with castings left in a rough state with an indifferent cosmetic finish and evidence of hand-work being necessary to get everything aligned and working properly. However, the underlying craftsman was sound and the design, while not equal to a Drummond, was superior to the cheaper Portass models and in line with that company's heavier versions of the "Dreadnaught". It is not known for certain which was Winfield's first lathe, but two obviously early examples have been discovered that demonstrate a continuous development from the now rare "braced-bed" Mk. 1 to the relatively common Mk. 3. The very first model appears to have been built in two forms with the second having a tailstock swept back to give a slight increase in capacity between centres. None of the company's surviving advertising leaflets mentions this type, instead, early sales literature features Randa lathes bought in for resale from Ross and Alexander in London.
One Winfield example, a Mk. 2, has survived in remarkably original condition and is shown below in its original rather drab finish. This has many features found on the Mk. 3, yet also many as found on the Mk. 1 including a backgear assembly clustered (like a Myford ML2/ML4) just inboard of the spindle nose, a rather perfunctory apron not dissimilar to the kind found on contemporary Randa lathes of the better-specified type, a shorter headstock bolted down with two bolts at the front but only one to the left - and a rather limited capacity between centres (and oddly without the swept-back tailstock).
Today, the most commonly encountered Winfield is the later and much-improved Mk. 3 4.25" x 20" (later 28") gap-bed model; this was a sound development of the earlier types and based on a strongly-built 'cantilever' bed with a deep box section between the mounting feet. The headstock casting was stiffened by having its front face drawn up level with the lower edges of the simple, split, bronze bearings - and was fastened solidly to the bed by four substantial studs and nuts. Although the spindle nose carried the same thread and No. 2 Morse taper as the late-model Myford ML4 and the Series 7, (11/8" x 12 t.p.i.) it did not, at least on the versions inspected, have the same "step-up" register between the thread and spindle-abutment face.
A rather wider-than-normal (a useful 1.25" rather than 0.75" or 1") flat-belt drive was standard, although a V-belt option was listed as a "no-cost" option - a surprising move, as all the Mk. 1 and Mk. 2 models found have been V-belt drive. Both stand-alone and built-on countershafts were offered as extra cost; the latter unit consisted of a substantial box-form casting bolted to the back of the bed and carrying a swing-head unit with the belt tension set by a simple cam-action lever that worked on only one side of the unit. The countershaft bearings, like those in the lathe headstock, were in plain bronze, split on one side for adjustment.
Tumble reverse appears to have been part of the standard specification but, while (some) later machines were fitted with a heavy cast-iron changewheel cover, all early lathes, in the spirit of the times, had them completely exposed. On all early types the leadscrew ran in a bolt-on hanger bearing in bronze at the headstock end and a cast-in bearing at the tailstock. However, very late examples of the Mk. 3 have been found with bolt-on bearings at both ends--though why this change was made is unknown, possibly problems with the jigging process (and machinery missing from the factory after WW2) were to blame. These late models all seem to have had longer beds, able to accommodate around 28" between centres - so making them much more versatile than a Myford ML7.
Even to the little leadscrew swarf guard the whole of the carriage assembly was very like that of a Myford ML2/4, with the thread for the cross-slide screw being formed directly in the metal of the saddle and a simple rectangular (later triangular) end plate fitted to the end of the T-slotted cross slide. Again, similar to the very first ML2 models, the top slide was held in place with a single bolt, around which it could be swivelled. In standard form no graduations were fitted to either top or cross-slide feed screws - though a graduated handwheel could be purchased, as an accessory, to fit the latter.
With its square-section thread the hollow-bored tailstock barrel carried no ruler markings - but was fitted with a 2 Morse taper, a considerable improvement on the No. 1 normally found on small lathes of this vintage; unfortunately, the barrel was clamped by a screw that closed down a slot cut in the tailstock casting - an arrangement that might have worked adequately-well when the machine was new, but not so perfectly when everything had bedded in and worn a little a few years later.
Several other models were also produced by the company, including one (very rare) with a 5-inch centre height, two earlier versions of the Mk. 3, and one whose parentage must be in doubt, the "Lineker & Winfield". This model had bed and headstock cast as one, a backgear clustered at the left-hand end of the headstock and two bed-mounting feet.
Like many other makers Winfield were not above both supplying lathes for branding by others (Corbett's being one such) or buying-in the efforts of other makers and badging them as their own with (as shown below) examples found of Randa lathes (Ross & Alexander, of London) with beds carrying the Winfield name. If you own an example of any type of Winfield, and could take some sharp photographs, or have any Winfield advertising literature, the writer would be very pleased to hear from you.
Randa lathes badged as Winfield can be seen on this page.