Friday, February 22, 2008

Lathe Trade

One day when I was visiting with my friend George in Brigham City he offered me a box of cast iron stuff because he knew I was a collector of such things. He said he had already discarded most of it, but I could have what was left over. When I got home and sorted it out I determined that it was the clutch pulleys for an old overhead line shaft lathe, his lathe in fact. He had moved the motor down onto the bench with the lathe. What he had discarded were all the hanger bearings, etc. The next time I seen him, I told him that I really appreciated the pulleys, but what I really wanted now, was his lathe. He had already upgraded to a new 13 x 40 Grizzly lathe, so working out a trade was not too difficult. A little more than an equal amount of iron in the form of an old drill grinder and a drill press did the job.

The lathe, by the way was built by Champion Blower and Forge. It looks very much like a South Bend, so that was probably the predecessor of that line. Don't know the date of manufacture, but would suspect it to be 75 to 100 years old. I welded up a stand and painted it flat black to look like the old cast iron stands. For its age it is still in pretty good shape, but of course I only use it for display purposes.

Then looking at pictures in old catalogs I made patterns and cast replica hanger bearings and supported them from a framework near the ceiling. It is nothing like a full length line shaft in a factory, but at least it gives visitors an idea of how things were powered. I have it powered with a 1908, 3/4 hp repulsion-induction motor barely visible in the picture. It is huge, probably as big as a present day 10 hp motor. It has that wonderful old whiney sound, that only old people know about.

1 comment:

Dennis Turk] said...


Love all your model work and like you I have to Chamion lathes. One is a 36 inch 9L like yours and also a 10 by 48. We know of 4 of the 9 L lathes 2 of the 10 inch and two 13 inch lathes so far. check out my Champion at this photo site. Dennis Turk