When we first got it, in the early 1960s,
The Lathe was delivered fully assembled to our drafty,
detached, unheated garage by the crane-
Nevertheless, Dad began the next day to disassembled it in the garage. When most of the parts had been removed, Dad jacked the bed up, put 2×4 cribbing under each end to hold the legs off the floor, and unbolted them. They and the rest of the "small" parts went down the stairs to the basement.
Even stripped down, the bed was too heavy
He and Mother then rolled the bed on the cart to the nearest basement window, a distance of about 35 feet. By the time they were half way there, the hard rubber tires from the wagon were in shreds. By the time they reached the window, there were no tires on the wheels.
After passing through
the basement window, which was no more than twelve inches high,
the bed descended a specially-
Once it reached the floor, the bed was rolled on pipes
across the cement laundry room floor, down the
It finally all came together, though, and ran like
a champ if you didn't try to take too large a cut, in which case either
the flat belt would start slipping or the spindle would start jumping,
as the main bearing was a bit elliptical. Between the four-
Over time, The Lathe
began to accumulate accessories, too: a face plate,
a nearly complete set of collets,
a steady rest for which Dad fashioned a set of maple jaws
when we lost a branch off one of our trees. My contribution was
Never one to leave things as-is when improvements could be made,
Dad added a few modifications over time, too. He put a
lever on the motor to shift the brushes, which would, in theory,
reverse the motor. He
also added a thread-
Right from the beginning, The Lathe
proved to be a valuable asset. Among the projects were
parts for my
model railroad, "Nader lights" for our
special tools for us to use at work, and twice it was used to make
modifications to a commercially-
Dad died in 1987, but The Lathe remained in the basement, where it was still used from time to time by family and friends, myself included. It was still there when Mother died in March of 2003.
Since none of the heirs could afford to keep the house, and none had room for a major piece of metalworking machinery, The Lathe was going to have to go, and the best way we could think of to do so was to offer The Lathe and its accessories free to whoever could remove it. But who could free our "Princess" from her dungeon?
After several missteps, the task was given to a family friend who had experience moving machinery and other heavy objects, and a respect for old machine tools. Did I say old? Sorry, I meant to say "classic."
This part of the story, I can only tell you second hand, because I wasn't able to be there while any of the moving was taking place, but I did make frequent visits to the house in the evenings, to photograph the progress that had been made during the day.
Once the transporter was assembled, two hand winches slung under the I-beam were used to the lift lathe bed off the floor. The transporter was rolled under the bed, and the bed was lowered onto the flat platform on the top. From there, it was rolled over to the window, and the platform raised to be level with the bottom of the window.
Outside the window, a track made of
I returned the next evening to take more pictures,
|Once long ago, a draftsman at Hendey inked his compass, leaned over his drawing, and in a matter of a few seconds drew two concentric arcs. Those same arcs can be seen here, a hundred years later, in this pair of cast iron legs.|
|Above, left, various of the major parts, already moved up to the garage, ready to be loaded onto the truck.|
By the time I got there the next evening, the lathe bed was gone,
with only two faint tracks in the lawn
The first implementation of these lights often were additional light assemblies added to the sides, almost as an afterthought to the design. At the time, these were commonly called "Nader lights," in recognition of the work of Ralph Nader in pushing for safety features in cars. Car designs since that time have included side visibility in the parking light housing.
My dad, perhaps because he was injured in an auto accident as a child, was quick to adopt safety features as their benefits became apparent. He installed seatbelts in the cars he owned, starting with our 1949 Ford and continuing until the cars he bought came with factory-installed seatbelts. He also put amber inserts in the front turn signals of our 1956 DeSoto, but that may have been just showing off.
Dad's 1966 Ford and my 1966 Opel were candidates for Nader lights, so dad designed and made light assemblies with aluminum bodies and amber or red lenses, that could fit nicely into holes made by the largest size chassis punch he owned. The bodies were held in place by large diameter fine-pitched nuts which threaded onto the body of the assembly from the back. Each assembly contained a bayonet socket for a #57 (14.0 Volt, 0.24 Amp, 3.36 Watt) lamp.
It takes some nerve and a conviction that you can carry through to take a center punch and hammer and deliberately deface a perfectly good automobile, then drill through the fender. Dad's largest chassis punch's screw was so large we actually had to use a smaller chassis punch to make a hole large enough.