Watchmaker Lathes - still in use

Discussion in 'Horological Tools' started by trim, Aug 23, 2018.

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  1. trim

    trim Registered User
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    Feb 19, 2010
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    Hi All,

    a conversation I was having prompted this post - I'm curious about how many of the older watchmakers lathes are still in service. One of mine for example, was built within the first 3 years of WW lathe production - American Watch Tool Webster/Whitcomb Lathe serial # 7252 sold April 16 1892.

    IMG_0506.jpg

    Although its no longer my primary lathe (that is a 1946 Derbyshire 8mm WW) it still gets used often. I also have a Lorch 6mm lathe, but that is essentially undateable but is likely an earlier one.

    Kris.
     
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  2. glenhead

    glenhead Registered User
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    Wow, that would be tough to determine, wouldn't it? When you think about how many are probably sitting in boxes in attics or garages, stored away by descendants who have no idea what that box full of junk is for, it does make ya wonder. I know for sure that I haven't used mine since Sunday afternoon, and would hate to be without it.

    That's a nice lathe you have there. Being able to date it is pretty cool.

    Glen
     
  3. Thomas Hammond

    Thomas Hammond Registered User
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    I have a Rivett lathe, serial number 1280, that was probably made in the last few years of the 19th century (it is certainly from earlier than 1902). I keep it set up with the Rivett wheelcutting attachments, having other, more recent Rivett lathes for other turning.

    1280wheelcutting..jpg

    Tom Hammond
     
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  4. tom427cid

    tom427cid Registered User
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    Here's one of mine. The other one is set up as a dedicated polishing station(sorry no pic).

    DSCF0856.JPG
     
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  5. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

    Apr 20, 2013
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    Here is the one I use the most. I also have a headstock with a fixed faceplate by Lorch and a vertical milling attachment (not pictured). I modified another 6mm headstock with a raiser block to bring it up to the milling spindle after I made an adaptor block to turn the vertical slide 90 degrees on the top slide.

    A lot of these 6mm lathes must have been sold. They pop up everywhere!

    2D1A748D-927A-4ABE-8D6A-F190234725F9.jpeg 83BD3748-6F3F-419A-99BD-01DC1929462E.jpeg
     
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  6. trim

    trim Registered User
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    Great older working lathes all!
     
  7. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

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    Unfortunately, Lorch, Schmidt & Co. and Wolf, Jahn & Co. lathes and mills are difficult to date, as they were not given serial numbers and the design remained virtually unchanged from the early years of the 20th century to the end of their production in the late 1960s. There are some indications, such as whether the cross-slide has one or two tool-slots that makes them earlier or later respectively. Also, on Lorch-lathes the name was engraved somewhat differently towards the end of production. It is actually quite surprising, that they did undergo so little alteration during the production years.
    The various lathes of the above manufacturers I have and use probably span the whole production periods.
     
  8. motormaker

    motormaker Registered User

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  9. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    Kris
    I have nine Watchmakers Lathes in my tool collection of various vintages.

    Most of my work these days is one off Micro parts for various Trades and Industry including Horology. While the watchmakers Lathe is not practical for my work, the following early Lathes are occasionally used to demonstrate early procedures at Trade shows, Seminars and the Class Room. So in a sense, they are still being used.

    The first two photos are of a 1850`s brass "JM Bottum, New York" Wax chuck Lathe.

    The last photo is of a unmarked Bezel Lathe probably around the 1870`s or 80`s.

    All accessories are original to the lathes with the exception of the rest for the Bottum Lathe. I had to machine and age it from bar stock.

    Jerry Kieffer

    fullsizeoutput_111.jpeg fullsizeoutput_2ce.jpeg fullsizeoutput_2cf.jpeg
     
  10. geo.ulrich

    geo.ulrich Registered User

    Apr 10, 2013
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    Hello Jerry, What kind of s.f.m. do you get with the hand cranks? just kidding they are real nice. could you imagine having to make parts all day every day like that.
     
  11. Jerry Kieffer

    Jerry Kieffer Registered User
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    George
    Since I occasionally demonstrate these, I can imagine using them. Its not good.

    What I can not imagine is being left handed and then having to using them. Unless of course one has an apprentice who cranks all day while your hoping they return to work the next day for their 25 cents.

    Jerry Kieffer
     
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  12. geo.ulrich

    geo.ulrich Registered User

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    well it would help with the unemployment rate
     
  13. trim

    trim Registered User
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    I visited an Amish watchmaker in WI recently and the entire workshop was operated by foot treadle, including the modern milling machine. It was a very interesting thing to see.

    I do also have a hand cranked Lorch which I have been tempted to try out, but the foot treadle is a much superior solution I expect.
     
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  14. sharukh

    sharukh Registered User
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    I can agree to your last comment. My father was a tailor (he closed his business more than 25 years ago) and at that time we only had foot treadle operated sewing machines in the shop. All the "kaarigars" (the chaps who did the actual stitching work) preferred the food treadle operated machines. There was an option for a add-on hand operated wheel and also sewing machine motors but for the bulk of the work, the foot treadle was the most popular.

    The ease and quality of the speed and torque control is superb. Maybe some day, I'll get hold of one of them and rig it up to run my watchmaker's lathe.

    Sharukh
     
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  15. karlmansson

    karlmansson Registered User

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    One of the few (if not only) watchmaking schools in Sweden recently swapped their motor driven Star watchmaker lathes for hand cranked Steiner dead center lathes as part of a WOSTEP upgrade. Not sure why this new approach was implemented but I guess for the very delicate work, dead center is better. The students I talked to were also happy with the amount of Control the hand Wheel provided. And they had been using the Multifix motors on their old lathes. That's about as nice a motor you can get for a watchmakers lathe.
     
  16. Wayne C. Anderson

    Wayne C. Anderson Registered User
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    MY Peerless No 2 with matching serial numbers 1824.

    IMG_2521_Peerless-2a.jpg
     
  17. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

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    As to treadle vs. electric motor: a treadle is likely to give a lot more torque at low speed than the frequently used 90W-sewing machine motor - low-speed torque is the issue, as many moderately motors would give you the torque at high speeds that you would not be able to sustain with a treadle. However, if you have suitably rated motor and controller, with a foot-switch you should have all the control you need. You need a controller, where you can pre-set the speed, not one of those sewing-machine thingies, where you control the speed also by your foot, these are a pain to use and tiring.
     
  18. tom427cid

    tom427cid Registered User
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    After using AC motors for quite a while on my lathes(including my wood turning lathe) I was somewhat frustrated by the inaccurate speed control and lack of torque at low speed. This was most noticeable on a micro-drill press. Finally after some research about voltage,duty,wattage,etc I figured out what I needed. The first lathe I converted I went to 12 volts. It was ok but I would have liked to have had a bit more (speed&power). I changed the 12v set up to the micro-press and upped the lathe to a 24v system. Now the speed is infanitly adjustable,I am getting a better finish,and the bonus is the rotation can be reversed. If you use your lathe regularly ( I do) I would absolutely recommend the use of a DC motor.
    I still use an AC motor on the lathe I have set up for polishing pivots and I am quite satisfied with the results. In this case if the motor slows I can reduce burnisher/stone pressure or increase pedal pressure. Also reversing is not an issue.
    Just thought I would add.
    tom
     
  19. trim

    trim Registered User
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    #19 trim, Sep 17, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
    Thanks to all who shared their lovely older watchmakers lathes.

    I'll add another couple of mine - although they are much more recent compared to my AWT lathe in the first post, they are sill getting on in time.

    Firstly my primary lathe - a 1946 Derbyshire WW 8mm lathe, with a combination tailstock (rack and pinion & collet holding) that I have just added to this lathe. This photo includes the matching pivot polisher.

    IMG_0305 2.jpg

    Secondly a 1958 Derbyshire Magnus which I have just finished restoring (all new Braden bearings and paint etc.). Douglas at Derbyshire reground the spindle nose and supplied the 8mm adaptor.

    IMG_0302.jpg

    another view.

    IMG_0310.jpg

    I have become quite the fan of the ball bearing lathe.

    A little aside:

    There has been a little conversation in this thread about motors. I run a standard watchmakers that is usually run off a foot control and mains power (actually they are universal motors) but with a modern DC controller. In that first photo you will see a standard Racine motor. So, rather than AC 115V, I run them on DC 120V and they work brilliantly. You can pick up controllers very easily on ebay and the speed is very stable and a lot more powerful with better torque. That said, the Magnus is getting something a little more powerful - 500W DC.
     
  20. motormaker

    motormaker Registered User

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    #20 motormaker, Sep 17, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
    And my Levin... Levin20180916_160946-1-1.jpg
     
  21. motormaker

    motormaker Registered User

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    And finally my Henry Paulson lathe with micrometer tailstock... 20180830_161020-picsay.jpg
     
  22. Jack_W

    Jack_W Registered User
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    My original need for a lathe was to cut out broken staffs from balance wheels. I acquired a nice Wolf-Jahn for that, but it was missing the tailstock. I wanted to move into different aspect of repairs and a missing tailstock was an issue. Now I've upgraded. Here is my Derbyshire 8mm model 2 lathe from the late 1930s. Trim has seen this one in person; he was in fact the one to point it out to me on eBay at what was a very good price this time last year.

    IMG_2178.JPG

    I've added to the kit for it... such as a 3 jaw chuck:

    3-jaw chuck_2.jpg

    And have also acquired a nice Derbyshire 2-way cross slide:

    image1.jpeg

    Douglas from Derby was able to provide the missing alignment shoe and bolt for the cross slide; required a trip to a local machine shop to have it fitted correctly.

    I've now started with making winding stems for American or negative setting movements like Elgin or Illinois. My ultimate goal for all this is to boost my abilities to fix watch cases, specifically fabricate missing or broken bezels for wwi era sterling trench-style watches.

    I'm getting there...
     
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  23. Duncanbootmaker

    Duncanbootmaker Registered User

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    G'day all,
    This thread's been a bit quiet, so I thought I'd put up some photos of my 6mm Lorch, and accessories, that were given to me, for Christmas, by a couple of watch and clockmakers we know! I've made a box/mount/drawer for it out of 12mm ply, so it's portable and self contained. I've wanted one of these lathes for years, but they've always been way out of my budget. I'm currently using it to try and make a successful 0.0075" spade drill for making new pivot bearings for my late 1700's verge balance.
    So here are some photos of the Lorch and my box, and a test bit of turning I did.
    Cheers
    Duncan
    Lorch 1.JPG Lorch 3.JPG Lorch 4.JPG Lorch 5.JPG Lorch turning.JPG
     
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  24. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Forums Administrator
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    I acquired this lathe in one of my first estate buys 15 years ago when I had just started selling parts and tools. It's a Derbyshire built in the late 40's. I built the box it's mounted to and have acquired quite a bit of tooling for it since then.

    IMG_1690.JPG
     
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  25. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

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    My Lorch, Schmidt & Co. WW 7 lathe with screw-cutting attachment, vertical slide, and fixed steady, all of the same numbers (https://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/tools/ww/wwlathe.html) . Over the years I have added many more spindle tooling from various sources.

    WorkshopLathe-72.jpg

    And the collection of 6 mm tooling around my very first lathe, a the Wolf, Jahn & Co. (https://www.maritima-et-mechanika.org/tools/6mm/6mmlathe.html), acquired some 30+ years ago:

    6%20mm%20Outfit-1.jpg

    6%20mm%20Outfit-2.jpg

    If you follow the links, you will see that there are some rather esoteric attachments for both lathes.
     
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  26. Duncanbootmaker

    Duncanbootmaker Registered User

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    G'day Wefalck, Clicked on your web links and this message came up. It hasn't happened before (I looked at your site last year). Thought I'd let you know.
    Cheers
    Duncan
    Screen Shot 2019-06-14 at 11.46.47 am.png
     
  27. wefalck

    wefalck Registered User

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    Thanks for letting me know. These https certificates are a pain. I just renewed it, but must have a mistake. I hope I now corrected this.
     
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  28. Duncanbootmaker

    Duncanbootmaker Registered User

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    Just tried the links again and 'all good' Wefalck :)
     

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