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Worcester Lathes
- a Photographic Essay -

Continued on Page 2 >    Worcester Catalogues >

Founded by the former president of Whitcomb-Blaisdell Machine tool Co. around 1910, the Worcester Lathe Company was based, along with many other machine-tool makers, in the state of Massachusetts . A range of regular engine-type machines was made, in both backgeared, flat-belt drive and geared-head versions, with production probably ceasing in the early 1920s.
Rather oddly, some examples have been found with ways comprising a pair of Vs and flats (the example on this page) while others had four Vs (the example in blue, below) - in each case, of course, the carriage running on one pair and the tailstock the other. While early models appear to have had changewheels for screwcutting with an auxiliary flat-belt drive to the leadscrew, most examples discovered have a simple screwcutting gearbox that gave just three rates of feed for each setting of the changewheels - selection being by a lever sliding horizontally in a slot marked "1", "2" and "3". While a rather poor reproduction of an early catalogue shows the two 12 and 14-inch standard and toolroom lathes with the simple 3-speed box, a late advertisement, from 1921, includes a picture of a lathe fitted with a full quick-change box.
Although remote ceiling and wall-mounted countershafts would have been offered, at least one late-model could be had with a drive system consisting of a motor carried on a plate between the legs of the headstock-end support, its clutch operated by a full-length bar strung above a line between the headstock and tailstock.

Two Worcester catalogues can be seen on this page


A common, effective and relatively easy addition to the drive system of any flat-belt drive lathe is the gearbox from a classic car. Depending upon the arrangement, if the four belt-driven speeds are combined with a 4-speed box and back gear and range of some 32 speeds becomes available. The lathe above has a single wide pulley that allows the belt to drive any of those on the spindle - the countershaft unit pivoting from the back of the headstock-end floor leg to adjust the belt tension. With a 4-speed box the set-up gives a range of eight easily-changed speeds


A quick-release key retained the large screwcutting changewheel

A simple gearbox gave three sliding and screwcutting feeds for every setting of the changewheels


Continued on Page 2 >    Worcester Catalogues >

lathes.co.uk
Worcester Lathes
- a Photographic Essay -
email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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