Lathe from 1800's??

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Forum topic by mahdee posted 12-10-2014 06:24 PM 1578 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4291 posts in 3106 days

12-10-2014 06:24 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe

I am going to this town tomorrow and saw this for sale. It claims excellent condition lathe from 1800’s for $150. Worth buying and reconditioning?


16 replies so far

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8863 posts in 3538 days

#1 posted 12-10-2014 07:02 PM

Cool looking old lathe, but looks like it would take a lot of work to get it functional.. and I think $150 is a bit steep for a non-working lathe that is being sold as a ‘display piece’. Most likely has babbit bearings, so those would need to be checked out and re-poured if bad (not fun!), and you will need to work out some way to power it via a countershaft/motor and belt. You might be able to find an old countershaft from a south bend/atlas lathe or similar and adapt it to work along with a serpentine belt. Lot of work.. but would be a heck of a show piece if done properly. Can’t make out the name cast into the bed.. do you know the manufacturer? If so, you can probably get a lot of helpful tips/opinions over at the OWWM or Vintagemachinery sites.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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Kaleb the Swede

1987 posts in 3308 days

#2 posted 12-10-2014 07:19 PM

Wow! You could turn whole trees on that thing.

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

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2839 posts in 3635 days

#3 posted 12-10-2014 07:35 PM

I would probably pass but it definitely could be made functional. You just need a base and a way to drive it.

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5849 posts in 4924 days

#4 posted 12-10-2014 07:35 PM

I am sorry but I agree with Brad , this is not worth the effort even if you got it for free,It has gone way too long past it’s sell by date.It would cost more to bring it up to speed that it would be worth IMHO You would be much better to concentrate on something more up to date imho, after all like the doctor told my sister when she asked for a face lift.It is technically do-able but the scaffolding would make it to expensive,LOL Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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4291 posts in 3106 days

#5 posted 12-10-2014 07:36 PM

I called the guy and he has it someplace else and doesn’t remember the name stamp or what ever it is in the front. It doesn’t have the motor or the stand. I think it is probably worth $50 as an iron scrap. He said it is about 6’ long. I think i’ll pass on it. Kaleb, not sure if it is all that big. Probably can fell tree with it by leaning it against it.


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184 posts in 3113 days

#6 posted 12-10-2014 07:36 PM

Old tools don’t need sell by dates. If you like it…get it save it for your grandchildren and let them understand the weirdness of what it took to make stuff in the days before 3d printing

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4291 posts in 3106 days

#7 posted 12-10-2014 07:38 PM

I googled 1890’s lathe images and the closest one to that had a motor and a pretty stand. He said it came from an old factory floor. Probably


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4291 posts in 3106 days

#8 posted 12-10-2014 07:40 PM

SCOTSMAN.. lol.. Yep.


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2839 posts in 3635 days

#9 posted 12-10-2014 08:54 PM

“not worth the effort even if you got it for free” – it’s ALL worth the effort. Especially a 125 year old survivor.

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6259 posts in 4582 days

#10 posted 12-11-2014 05:20 PM

I could make out the name from the photo. It was Diamond Machine company.

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Richard H

491 posts in 3019 days

#11 posted 12-11-2014 05:27 PM

I’m no expert here but it looks to me like it was feed from a overhead pulley system not a foot peddle like shown by dhazelton.

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13585 posts in 3719 days

#12 posted 12-11-2014 06:06 PM

Yep, agree with Ron, looks like Diamond Machine Co.

Projects like this are a labor of love, not functionality (although they can be functional too).

-- Rick M,

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6259 posts in 4582 days

#13 posted 12-11-2014 06:20 PM

If you are looking for a lathe to do serious turning, I don’t feel this is the one. It would take quite some work to get it up and running. I can tell it has either bronze or babbit bearings; can’t tell what type of spindle it has (for a chuck). It is definitely for an overhead drive. That could cost you upwards of $200 + a motor. I would regard it as a display piece only, suitable for a museum.

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3359 posts in 4871 days

#14 posted 12-11-2014 07:53 PM

If I had room for it I think it would be worth the effort. At the least, it is a good solid lathe bed , the rest can be updated. If the cast iron bed is cracked, walk away. It’s a spindle lathe with a dead center tailstock. It appears to be in the bed of a pickup truck, I’d guess 48” between centers.

Definitely not plug and play, I think the market for that is small, that’s good news for a buyer. You might get it for $75.

-- there's someone in my head but it's not me...

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372 posts in 3157 days

#15 posted 12-11-2014 11:18 PM

That would be a cool project to restore…
I’d do it…

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

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