A Collection of Miniature Machine Tools

owned by the Joe Martin Foundation

Not all machine tools are big

Joe Martin loves machine tools of all sizes, but he has a special love for machines at the small end of the size scale. Upon leaving the radio control industry in the 1970's he began as an importer for small lathes from Australia that were to be sold by Sears under the Craftsman name. He also marketed the tools himself under the Sherline name and eventually began producing them in the United States in 1974, having purchased the rights to do so. Expanding the tool and accessory line over the years has given him an appreciation for what these early manufacturers had to deal with in the design, production and marketing of small tools. A few years ago Joe began purchasing small tools as he found them available at shows or auctions. Several have since been donated by other patrons who appreciate small tools and want share them with others. This is just the basis of a good tool collection. The foundation plans to continue to add to this collection as interesting machines become available.

Seeing the tools in person is an interesting walk through history, from the first simple hand-cranked watchmaker lathes to the electronically speed controlled, laser engraved machines made today. Since not many people can visit the collection in person, we will document each machine here on the Internet Craftsmanship Museum as well for the world to view. As more machines are added to the collection, they will be added here too.

The Miniature Machine Tool Collection


(Click any photo for larger image)


(Tools are listed in alphabetical order.)

ADEPT (Super) made up until World War II and for a time afterwards. This particular lathe was purchased in the 1930's by a harbormaster in South Africa. It was left to his son who gave it to Tom Hammond who kindly donated it to the museum. We like it because it is really small with only 1-5/8" center height and 6" between centers. The 3-jaw "dog" chuck with independently adjustable jaws was a concession to cutting costs compared to a scrolling chuck, although a 4-jaw chuck was offered as an option.

The basic Adept lathe had a bolt-on compound slide rest located in a slot machined down the center of the bed. The more popular "Super" Adept had a compound slide mounted to a carriage driven by a 12 TPI leadscrew. The lathe is 13.75" in length overall and weighs just 6.5 pounds. More can be learned about the history of this and other machines by going to Tony Griffith's excellent site at www.lathes.co.uk and looking in the "Archives" section by machine name.

A 1 Euro coin and a US quarter dollar coin are shown is some of the photos for size comparison.

Donated by Tom Hammond.

A.D. MUELMATT "VICTOR" ENGRAVER'S VISE AND MALLET—Made in Cincinnatti, OH, this vise was used by engraver George Matten (1900-1970) who worked in the Los Angeles area in the mid 20th century.George was originally from Belgium. The heavy round base sits atop a leather pad that allows it to be rotated into any orientation. The upper half is split and rotates on the lower portion. A strip of leather between the two allows easy rotation but provides enough friction to keep the vise portion from moving accidentally once positioned. The upper split portion is opened and closed with a chuck key that moves a threaded rod between the two halves. Two boxes of pins and jaws of various shapes are include. These are dropped into the various holes in the flat top of the upper section so the engraver can clamp parts of many different sizes and shapes to work on them.

Mr. Matten also made the handle for the small mallet himself. The handle is made for a right-handed person. The mallet was used to gently tap a sharpened steel tool to do engraving. A carved rose handle is clamped in the vise as an example of Mr. Matten's work and to show how the vise is used.

On loan courtesy of Mr. Matten's nephew, Andy Moore, Vista, CA


BOLEY—This is a typical small watchmaker's lathe driven by an electric motor. The lathe and motor are mounted to a cast aluminum base plate, suggesting that the motor was added later. The 4-position spindle pulley has a set of indexing holes drilled in the back side...a handy feature. The sturdy 3/4-round bed was typical of the WW design. On the right end of the bed it is marked "G. Boley, 2182, Germany."

This lathe is missing it's T-rest or crosslide and has been mounted to a custom made aluminum base, replacing the standard single post support on the left side if it was a 1A or the two supports of a model 1B. A scan of a Boley lathe cataog drawing shows a similar lathe mounted on two posts. (Images: Tony Griffiths/www.lathes.co.uk)

CARLSTROM WATCHMAKER'S BOW LATHE—This tiny bow lathe was manufactured by C. S. Carlstrom of Waltham, Mass. This particular example is in excellent condition and includes the original box, instruction booklet and spare parts/price list. A bow lathe is used by watch makers to straighten, repair and burnish watch balance pivots. There is a burnisher rest to accommodate any width burnishing tool, and it is designed to keep the tool from slipping off the end of the rest and thereby damaging the pivot. There is a fully adjustable carrier for engaging the arm of the balance. The burnishing rest and disk post are made from hardened, tempered drill rod. The disk is made of hardened, tempered steel. The price list shows the original cost to have been $10.75 with the most expensive part--the body--selling for $3.00 as a replacement part.

"CATARACT BENCH LATHE" by HARDINGE USA—Originally made by the Cataract Tool and Bicycle Company in Buffalo, NY, production moved to the Hardinge Brothers sometime between 1900 and 1908. The headstock casting was of the finest grade, seasoned and heat treated alloy cast iron, hand scraped to fit the lathe bed. The headstock spindle, made from ball bearing steel, was hardened and ground both internally and externally and ran in hardened plain bearings. This arrangement was the very best that the technology of the day could provide. The spindle nose carried a patented Hardinge quick-action taper fitting although an ordinary thread was optional. The large outer pulley was fitted with a ring of 60 indexing holes. This lathe is probably from the 1920's or 1930's. It has serial number 2083 stamped into the end of the bed.

This machine has a swing of about 7" over the bed and is equipped with a 6" faceplate. It is about 14" between centers. It uses a Hardinge 5C collet and has over a 1" capacity through the bore. According to research, that would make this a model BB57 lathe, although their are no part numbers on the lathe itself. The brass label with the number "63" on it was probably a machine number applied by a factory to identify the machine at some point in its life. The 4th photo at the left shows the actual machine label located on the right side of the base.

CINCINNATI "MECHANIC MAKER"—Though little is known about this small lathe made by the Winkle Mfg. Co., it might have been built during or right after World War II when metal was in short supply, because almost the entire machine is made from stamped sheet metal rather than castings. It is one of the more interesting lathes we have come across because of the way it is made. The dovetails on the bed and cross slide are strips of bar stock with an angle cut on one side that are attached to the sheet metal frame. The headstock and tailstock, cross slide table and even the handwheels and faceplate are made from formed sheet metal. Considering the thinness of the metal, the formed shapes actually give it a fair amount of rigidity, but it would still not be of use for cutting any material much tougher than wood. A look at the small direct drive AC motor with a fan on the end of the shaft will confirm it is not a heavy duty machine. There is no speed control, simply an ON/OFF toggle switch on the side of the headstock cover, which just lifts off to expose the motor.

A small, round tool post holds a 1/4" square HSS cutting tool, which is held in place with a simple threaded thumbscrew. The tailstock spindle is also locked in a similar manner. On the back of the tailstock is a third thumbscrew that locks the tailstock in place on the dovetailed ways. Using this method, alignment between headstock and tailstock centers is not able to be adjusted, and is far from what would be considered "close tolerances." All leadscrews have 1/4-20 threads, with the cross slide and main lead screws being the appropriate left-hand lead, while the tailstock is a right-hand lead, so turning the handwheel always advances the slide away from the user.

Though seemingly a somewhat crude machine, it actually is a fairly clever design considering the constraints of being completely made from sheet metal. The famous "Cincinnati" name is normally associated with the better known company from that city that makes full-size metalworking equipment. The Winkle Manufacturing Co. also happens to be located in Cincinnati, but one wonders how they were able to get away with using the name of the more famous tool company on their product, even though it obviously offered no serious competition in that market. Actually, in those days large manufacturers often let toy companies use their names free of charge, feeling it was good advertising. Once the lawyers found out they could charge money for the use of a trade name, that practice was seriously reduced.

If anyone knows more about this lathe and the company that produced it, please let us know.

CRAFTSMAN AA109/DUNLAP—Sears, Roebuck & Co. was one of the first large mail-order companies, selling all kinds of consumer products including tools in their catalogs. This 6" x 18" lathe was made for Sears by the AA Company, often called "Double A." The original name decal near the bottom of the headstock has been repainted over and no trace of it now remains. It was marketed sometime between 1941 and 1948 as catalog number 109-2062. It has #0 Morse centers, a small 1/2-20 spindle thread and ungraduated micrometer dials. These were unusually small spindle sizes for a lathe this size. Even so, it's price of $31.95 was a good bargain compared to the 6" Atlas lathe Sears sold for $67.50 at that time. It had 8 speeds from 580 to 2040 RPM and could cut threads from 8 to 96 TPI using the built-in gears. This particular model appears be the shorter bed version that was produced after WWII and may have originally been labeled with the Craftsman label rather than as Dunlap.

CRAFTSMAN MODEL 80—This 6" x 12" Craftsman lathe was made by the Double A Company (AA) starting with the 1949 season and is labeled as Model No. 109-2127. Though similar to the Dunlap model above, the lathe was restyled in 1949 to have a more modern, more rounded appearance with an engine turned plate on the back gear cover. The lathe came with a three-speed pulley and included a four-speed pulley to put on the motor shaft of the motor you supplied. Although fitted with a planetary-type backgear assembly built into the face of the headstock pulley, tumble reverse and screwcutting, there was no countershaft arrangement, and, if directly driven by the recommended 1750 RPM motor, the bottom speed of 120 RPM would appear to have made screwcutting rather difficult. Most owners probably found a slower motor and used smaller pulleys in an attempt to get around this problem. Later models included a double-step pulley for the motor and a proper countershaft assembly, thus doubling the number of available speeds and giving, according to the handbook, a range from 55 to 465 RPM in backgear and from 380 to 3050 in direct drive, which was a much more satisfactory arrangement. The headstock spindle runs in bronze bearings and has a surprisingly small nose thread of only 1/2-20. The tailstock taper is also a very small No. 0 Morse.

Though attractively designed, there were a number of shortcomings including the small tailstock taper and spindle nose thread, the lack of a proper handwheel handle on the leadscrew end, the absence of graduations on the feed screws and, on early versions, the lack of a slow speed.

This lathe is sometimes confused with the "Craftsman 6-inch" lathe later made by the Atlas Company. While the Model 80 cost as little as $48.50 at the time, the Craftsman 6" sold in the 1950's for about $160.00 and was a more substantial and better equipped machine.


CRAFTSMAN "COMPANION"—This early 6" lathe from Sears, Roebuck & Co. was made either by Atlas or by the AA (Double A) Company. Starting in 1939, they started making a simple V-bed that was reserved for the cheaper "Companion" line of Craftsman tools. This was an early version of the post-war AA "Model 109" and Craftsman Model 80. Though the headstock bearings were marginal in quality and a weak point throughout the machine's life, it did have a proper apron-mounted handle for the carriage traverse (racked against the leadscrew like a modern Myford ML10), an epicyclic backgear assembly built into the front face of the headstock pulley and graduations on the cross feed screw. This series of lathes was made up until the 1960's in a more rare "square" headstock shape.

CYGNET Milling Machine—Designed and built in 1989 by 1998 Joe Martin Foundation "Metalworking Craftsman of the Year" winner Alan Ingersoll, this machine was one of a small production run of 7 machines. Since Al was going to go to the trouble of making patterns and producing a mill exactly the way he wanted it, he figured he could recover some of his time and costs by making a few to sell. This was Alan's personal machine that was purchased by Dr. Bob Kradjian of the Bay Area Engine Modelers (www.BAEMclub.com) and recently donated to the Foundation. The mill features built in dial indicators, T-slot covers for the table and very sturdy, well thought out construction. The machine is made from a combination of machined bar stock parts and castings for which Al made the wooden patterns himself and had cast by a local foundry. Some of the parts like the pulley cover look like cast parts but are actually made from separate parts silver soldered together, illustrating another aspect of Al's craftsmanship. According to the donor, Al always preferred DC motors with a variable speed control to an AC/DC motor.  This DC motor has lots of power, and Al made up the variable speed controller himself using an inexpensive Bridge rectifier and a variable transformer.

The 7th photo shows also the handsome custom made wooden block to hold collets, flycutter and other tools that came with the machine, illustrating a great sense of detail. The last photo shows the stamped name and serial number stamped into the machine. The "017" at the end of the number indicates the 7th and final hand built machine built.

Dr. Bob Kradjian (behind machine) is seen here presenting Alan Ingersol's Cygnet milling machine to Foundation Director Craig Libuse at a model engineering show in Visalia, CA. The Cygnet mill has not been placed in the historic tools collection but rather will be available for use in the Foundation's machine shop. The machine is just too useful and well made to retire. It will complement the Bridgeport and Sherline milling machines already in use in the shop.

"D-BED" GENEVA PATTERN LATHEThe "Geneva" type watch maker's lathe can be recognized by a round bed, with a flat machined along the back for its full length (giving it the characteristic "D" shaped cross-section) and nearly always supported on a single foot. These lathes, invented in 1859 by Charles S. Moseley in the U.S.A., generally take a 6mm or 8mm collet and were designed only for lighter, very high-precision work. There were dozens of brands of watchmakers’ lathes and a lot of "badge engineering" went on. This was compounded by accessories being interchangeable between makes so it is entirely possible that a lathe has been "made up" from others. Typical of this type of lathe were those made by Lorch Schmidt and Wolf Jahn companies. This particular lathe is identified on Tony Griffiths' web page on vintage machine tools as being typical of a lathe made by Wolf Jahn.

Donated by Tony Ducci.

"D-BED" GENEVA PATTERN LATHE—The "Geneva" type watch maker's lathe can be recognized by a round bed, with a flat machined along the back for its full length (giving it the characteristic "D" shaped cross-section) and nearly always supported on a single foot. These lathes, invented in 1859 by Charles S. Moseley in the U.S.A., generally take a 6mm or 8mm collet and were designed only for lighter, very high-precision work. There were dozens of brands of watchmakers’ lathes and a lot of "badge engineering" went on. This was compounded by accessories being interchangeable between makes so it is entirely possible that a lathe has been "made up" from others. Typical of this type of lathe were those made by Lorch Schmidt and Wolf Jahn companies. Made in Germany, this lathe is very similar to another of this type we have on display that was most likely made by Wolf Jahn.

DREMEL DELUXE MOTO-LATHE No. 701—While the Dremel name is most often associated with small hand-held high speed grinding tools, in the 1970's they did make a brief foray into the lathe market with this small wood-turning tool. The main components are molded from a hard black plastic. The tool rest is steel. Turning capacity is listed as 1-1/2" round stock up to 6" long. Machine size is 15-5/8" long, 6" wide and 4-1/4" high. The motor is a "shaded pole Induction" style of 1.4 Amp, 115V, 60 Hz capacity with a direct drive speed of 3450 RPM. Include in the Catalog No. 701 kit are 4 hardened steel lathe chisels, 12 assorted hardwood dowels, 1 faceplate, 1 wood screw drive center and one honing stone. Also included are a spur driver, a clear plastic center finder and a metal tightening wrench. The box lists uses as "model ship building, miniatures, toys and model airplane building." Features listed on the box state that it will handle both spindle and face plate turning, will turn wood, plastics and soft metals, and it won't interfere with TV or Radio reception. Included also is a 16-page instruction manual that covers setting up the lathe, mounting a work piece, chisel techniques, standard turning operations,  chisel sharpening and an exploded view parts diagram. The machine was manufactured by the Dremel Mfg. Division of Emerson Electric Co., Racine Wisconsin. The instructions indicate a printing date of 8/78.

This machine was purchased new in its original box at a swap meet and donated to the Joe Martin Foundation by Jim Clark of Clark Precision Machine, formerly of Lakeside, CA, now of Billings, MT.





DRUMMOND "TYPE A" 4" x 11.5" LATHE—Manufactured In Surrey, England  from 1908 to 1939, the round bed Drummond Type A lathe proved very popular with amateur turners, particularly in the model engineering field. The right hand thread on the leadscrew results in movement of the saddle opposite of what is normal; that is, clockwise rotation of the handwheel moves the saddle toward the tailstock rather than the headstock, no doubt resulting in a few ruined parts until an operator got used to this quirk. The tailstock leadscrew works the same way.

Drummond first started producing lathes in 1902 with the flat bed Type B 3.5 x 16" lathe. Many Drummond lathes were purchased by the military, and company records are still available that often make it possible to trace a machine to service on a particular warship. The Drummond company was purchased in 1953 by Asquiths, another English lathe company, which was in turn purchased in 1966 by Staveley Industries, and Drummond designs were produced up until about 1970.

Much more can be learned about Drummond lathes and their use at Tony Griffiths excellent web site. See www.lathes.co.uk (Machine Tool Archives) for general tool information or http://www.lathes.co.uk/drummond/index.html for information specific to Drummond lathes. This particular lathe is stamped "MCH.A. 3994" on the side of the round bed and includes a 3" 3-jaw chuck from the Cushman Chuck Co., Hartford, PA. It has an early cap type spindle dating it to pre-1919. The bronze bearings are in one piece with clearance set by a slot and pinch bolts. The table has four T-slots rather than the three shown on later machines.


DUMORE DRILL PRESS—A 25-cent coin sitting on the drill table will give you an idea how small this little drill press is. The 1/16 HP motor has a rated (no load) speed of 17,000 RPM. The motor/spindle unit can be positioned on the vertical tube with a handwheel lock. For drilling, the part on the round table is moved upwards into the drill  using the handwheel below the table. There is about 2" of travel and an adjustable stop. The original speed control was missing, so it was replaced with an control from an old Sherline AC/DC motor. Total height is about 14-1/2" and the table is 3-7/16" in diameter. The chuck is a Jacobs #0.

EDELSTAAL MACHINEX 5 LATHE—A modestly priced lathe marketed in the 1970's by American Edelstaal in Tenefly, NJ had both its headstock (1" x 16 TPI) and tailstock fabricated from aluminum extrusions. The carriage was also aluminum, while the bed was ground cast steel. Swing is 5" over the bed and 3-1/8" over the cross slide with 10" between centers. (A 14" between centers model was also offered.) This one is fitted with a 3-1/8" Edelstaal 3-jaw chuck and has an aluminum faceplate and two cast drive dogs. There is a provision on the back of the bed for the mounting of a mill/drill column. The 1/4 HP motor drives the 9/16" bore spindle through six speeds from 250 to 4000 RPM.

GERRARD ROTARY INDEXER—This one-off custom rotary indexer was made and donated by Phil Gerrard. He made it to help with engraving numbers and marks on custom  projects when he worked for Bell & Howell. It even has its own fitted wooden box and tools. It can be used either vertically or horizontally. This one-of-a-kind indexer really exhibits some beautiful craftsmanship and is a good example of what a good toolmaker can do.
GERRARD MACHINE VISE—Also hand made and donated by toolmaker Phil Gerrard, this small machinist's vise also has its own wooden box plus a custom round handled hex wrench to tighten it and a small hex key that doubles for adjustment and also to hold the vise in its box when not in use.


Purchased on an eBay auction, little information was provided with this old Swiss hand-cranked lathe. It is made almost entirely of brass with wooden handle knobs. Stamped into top of the frame is the inscription "G.Ve VAUCHER JEANNERET FLEURIER, SUISSE 1866." This would indicate the manufacturer, country (Switzerland) and patent date or date of manufacture. It has driven by hand cranking a gear drive and has a compound tool holder that can be adjusted and driven in several directions. The faceplate has a set of three spring-loaded clamps for holding parts. A pointed center can be advanced from the headstock end using a sliding lever in the spindle. Unfortunately, due to insufficient packaging, some of the handles were bent in shipping. We have straightened the brittle parts as best we can.

CLICK HERE for a description by Ian Wright of the type of work done on this and similar lathes.


GOODALL-PRATT 700 PRECISION LATHE—This small bench lathe was used by jewelers and watchmakers. It had 3.5" between centers and could swing a 5" diameter part over the bed. The bed is hand scraped and original cost was $44.00. Missing is the tool rest which supported the handheld "graver" for cutting metal. It would have been attached to the bed between the headstock and tailstock. In the foreground is a Goodall-Pratt measuring caliper.


GOODALL-PRATT 700 POLISHING LATHE—Based on the same 700 lathe, the Model 29-1/2 "polishing lathe" version had a feedscrew tailstock and a spindle with a taper at both ends. It has been fitted with a 3-jaw chuck and a compound slide, which were upgrades available for the basic model.


GOODALL-PRATT 125 BENCH LATHE—Best known for their line of hand and measuring tools, the bench lathe business was not a large part of Goodall-Pratt's business. Marketed in the 1920's as a wood turning lathe, it had a swing of 7" over the bed and 12" between centers. It is 25" long overall and 11-1/2" high. It has a twin mount base with legs at each end. Goodall-Pratt's claims for the lathe were quite modest. They said is was made from good materials and of a thoroughly serviceable design, and the owner could expect them to be only reasonably accurate. To be exact, they said, "We do not claim to make a precision tool for the selling price of these lathes; but they can, and do, practically fill all the requirements for the average owner." (If only some of today's tool manufacturers were so refreshingly honest...)

The bed and base were milled but not hand scraped and a 3-step flat belt drive headstock spindle was fitted with an adjustable cone bearing, a #1 Morse taper center and was bored through to a diameter of 3/8". The tailstock had both a lever and screw feed and a #0 Morse taper.

Because of their low cost ($40.00), most were sold to unskilled amateurs and suffered rough use throughout their life. Very few appear on the market today in good condition. This one appears to maintain the original black and red paint scheme.



GUILDER MODEL BUILDER—During the 1930s Mr. Walter C. Guilder, of Wilmington, Vermont, an engineer, former toolmaker and model-boat enthusiast designed his plain-turning (non-screwcutting) "Guilder Model Builder" miniature lathe of 3" swing and 5" between centers to be as useful as possible for the home hobbyist who required several power tools in one tiny package. The machine was therefore designed to be a compact, self-contained unit and, although available on "plain legs" for drive by the customer's own motor, in its more complete form the lathe was mounted on supports attached to a plate which held a factory-fitted double-shaft motor which drove both the 0.25" bore headstock spindle and, simultaneously from its other end, a 0.25" capacity drill press mounted at the tailstock end of the bed. An electrical switch was built neatly into the bed casting just in front of the headstock.
Included in the Guilder Model Maker's specification was the ability to mount - without the use of tools and all driven by one rear-mounted motor - various accessories, amongst which were: a drill press, a circular saw (which one owner described as, "accurate and useful"), a jig saw, disc sander and table, sanding drum, fixed steady (listed as an "extension roller rest") and a vertical-milling slide. The commercial potential of the design was recognized by W. F. Crosby, a navel architect of Pelham Manor, New York, and, with his backing, production began at some unknown date in the mid 1930s; by 1949 manufacture had been transferred to H. E. Greene & Son, also in Wilmington, where it continued until the mid 1950s. (Description courtesy of Tony Griffiths, www.lathes.co.uk)

This machine as well as a large selection of accessories along with much original product catalog literature were generously donated by Judson Smith of New York.

IDEAL TOOL CO. INDICATOR—This small indicator is used in much the same manner as a more modern dial test indicator. The small scale at the end opposite the feeler indicates ±0.005" readings in an arc rather than on a circular gauge face.

Donated by Jhon Sanford.


LEAVITT LATHE—The label on the back side says, "Leavitt Machine Co., Dexter Valve Reseating Machine, Orange, Massachusetts." The bed is 22.25" long and the headstock is fitted with a Leavitt 3" 3-jaw chuck. The tailstock is fitted with a dead center. A compound slide with tool post sits between them. (The compound handwheel was missing and has been replaced with a Sherline made handwheel.) The cast iron base is raised up on four cast iron legs.

NOTE: Leavitt-Dexter was purchased by Quabbin Inc. several years ago and still manufactures the Dexter Valve Reseaters.

LUFKIN #137 MINI SQUARE—For small machine work, a square that will fit within the setup is handy to have. This tiny Lufkin model is only a few inches long but of very high quality. It has a standard measuring rule blade as well as an interchangeable unmarked blade that has a 45° angle on one end and a 30/60° angle on the other.

Ddonated by Oliver Smith.

MANSON 1.5" x 4" LATHE—Manufactured in Los Angeles by ManSon Small Machines in the 1940's, this small lathe causes some arguments as to whether it is a real lathe or a toy. At the time it was billed as "The World's Smallest Lathe." Overall length is only 9-3/16". The extremely tiny size limits the parts that can be made on it, but the design is substantial enough to indicate it was intended to make small metal parts to some level of accuracy. The original finish was grey paint. The spindle has a 3/16" through hole and threaded nose (7/16-20) to accept a faceplate or chuck. The swing over the bed was approximately 2" with 4" between centers. Swing over the carriage was 3/4" and collet capacity was 1/8". The carriage was driven by a rack gear by means of a handwheel on the carriage. The tool post accepts a square 3/16" cutting tool. An accessory kit was available that included a 4-jaw independent chuck, faceplate, drive togs and collets. An early advertisement shows the price for the basic lathe as $39.75, with $41.50 being the price for a lathe with a drive dog, tool bit and test rod. An adjustable tailstock was available for an additional $10.00 and a more powerful universal motor could be added for an extra $25.00. These small lathes have become highly collectible and now sell for10 to 20 times their original cost or more. The last photo shows a bottom view to show the motor.

Later models of this lathe were available under the name of Mono Lathe and Duo Lathe.

MASTER 3" x 4" LATHE "BBW"—Similar in design to the Manson Lathe above but manufactured by a later company called the MasterSon Company starting in 1949, this lathe has a polished aluminum finish instead of paint. The spindle has a taper for a WW collet. Included is a combination dead center/1" faceplate that has a groove in it to act as a drive dog. The 3" swing over the bed is larger than the ManSon, although it uses the same carriage assembly but with a taller tool post. Unlike the 3/16" cutting tool on the ManSon, the Master lathe uses a 1/8" square cutting tool. The tailstock is similar to the ManSon, but it is released for movement with a lever on the front face of the tailstock body rather than the over-the-top lever used on the ManSon. It is driven by an O-ring belt to a one-speed, one-direction motor housed inside the cast base. Unlike the ManSon which drove the spindle directly with an O-ring belt on a two-speed pulley offering 350 or 700 RPM., The Master BBW drives the spindle through a set of brass gears. The spindle runs in ball bearings rather than the plain bronze bearings used on the less expensive models. No name information is cast in as was the case on the older Manson lathes. The main body casting is very similar to the ManSon except the headstock is raised to accommodate a 3" swing. The belt cover on the left end of the machine snaps off rather than being held on with screws as on the ManSon. This lathe retailed at the top of their product line at $129.50. A set of back gears for threading was available.

Specifications are listed as: Length: 10.5", Width: 3.75" and Height: 7.25". Shipping weight is 12 pounds.

Master Lathe and accessory kits.

MASTER LATHE "S"—The "standard" version of the master lathe features a spindle that has an external thread to accept a chuck and a hole through the spindle of 3/16", allowing it to accept bar stock up to 1/8" in diameter through the spindle. The spindle runs in porous, self-oiling bronze bearings designed to take both radial and thrust loads. It is finished in a gray paint and has the same dimensions and specifications as the BBW version, the only difference being the spindle designed to take a chuck rather than a WW collet. The lathe originally sold for $79.50. Like the BBW, this lathe takes 1/8" square cutting tools in the tool post. Like the BBW model, the lathe is identified by a yellow, red and black decal on the front of the machine.

This lathe was purchased with the extra 4-jaw chuck kit in a metal box. The kit includes the 4-jaw chuck, a faceplate, two drive dogs, a drill chuck, center countersink drill, tool bits a collet chuck and three collets and a hex key. This kit was listed as having an original price of $34.50. Also purchased with this lathe is the threading kit in the smaller red cardboard box with wood insert which sold for $12.50 originally. The kit includes several size threading dies and a pin vise type die holder.

MATTEL "POWER SHOP" wood turning lathe—This 4-way tool is essentially designed as a toy, but it can do some simple jobs. It can be set up as a lathe, disc sander, drill press or jigsaw. It has an extruded aluminum base, cast aluminum tailstock, sheet metal headstock with die cast ends and a die cast Handle and tool support that slides in a curved track on the extruded base. The spindle is a 1/8" shaft with a flat onto which a spur driver, sanding disc or simple drill holder can be pressed. The tailstock live center is simply a plastic part with a ball-shaped end that spins in a depression in the tailstock plate. The tailstock also acts as a stand when the machine is placed in the vertical position to be used as a drill press. There is an eccentric on the spindle shaft that drives the jigsaw. In the jigsaw configuration, the tailstock plate is removed and attached to the headstock to act as a table. Though quite simple in construction, it would actually be a fairly good introduction to power tools for a young craftsman. Included is an illustrated instruction book and even a simple plastic eye shield.

PATENT MODEL for a lathe (Unknown brand)—Prior to the use of 3D model software, all designs submitted to the patent office had to be accompanied by a working model to demonstrate the concept and function of the patented item. This small lathe is only 9" long and appears to be a model of a larger lathe rather than what was intended to be a functional, small lathe. For one, the handles on the handwheels are to scale and would not be sturdy enough for much actual use at this size. It is, however, beautifully built and has been well cared for. The base is actually cast, not machined from a billet of metal. With its belt driven headstock spindle, it goes back to a time when factories machines were powered by means of suspended leather belts driven by a line shaft that ran overhead (or in the floor). This was prior to the use of electric motors to power individual machines. All aspects of the lathe function and the 3-jaw chuck has working jaws. Other than stamped numbers for jaw position on the chuck, it has no maker's name or model number. Anyone knowing more about this lathe (model or full-size), please contact the Foundation.

Donated by Peter Amis.

RIVETT 504 LATHE—This 8" x 17" lathe was made by the Rivett Lathe and Grinder Co., Brighton, Boston, Mass, USA according to the label. It is fitted with a 4-1/8" 3-jaw chuck and a live center. The 3-position flat belt drive pulley has indexing holes drilled in the back. A 6" spoked handwheel could also be used to drive the headstock. The serial number stamped into the bottom of the tailstock casting is 3709.

RIVETT No. 2 watchmaker lathe from about 1896. This small lathe was benchtop mounted on a single post and features moveable headstock and tailstocks. In the middle is a positionable T-rest upon which the watchmaker rests his handheld "graver" to remove metal much like a woodworker uses a chisel tool on a lathe. The T-rest can be swung out of the way for loading parts or other hand operations. A small handwheel on the rear of the headstock spindle allows for hand indexing. The 3-position pulley was driven by a round pulley driven by an external motor. The bed of this machine is chrome plated steel rather than the usual cast iron, and all the serial numbers match.

Donated by Rivett expert and collector Tom Hammond.

S.E.L (Signaling Equipment LTD) Model 3080 lathe—Without a doubt the smallest lathe in the collection, this tiny English made lathe measures just 4-1/2" long and 1-3/16" wide at the base and 2-3/4" tall. It is molded from a hard, black plastic similar to bakelite and has metal pulley, centers, tool holder, cutting tool, crosslide leadscrew spindle center and knurled thumbscrews. It comes in its original yellow and black box which is in very good condition. The lathe itself is in perfect shape except that one half of one hold-down tine on the base is broken off. The photos show both a 1 Euro and quarter dollar coin for size reference. The Foundation also owns a small model machine shop that includes another lathe identical to this one plus a number of other miniature shop tools, all belt driven of a horizontal steam engine by Fleischmann. Not expected to actually be able to do any machining work, this model lathe was designed to add to the fun when creating a model of an old machine shop that used line shafts and overhead belts driven by steam or electric motors. The compound slide works in three directions, the cutting tool can be adjusted and the tailstock can be positioned and locked.

SHERLINE MODELS 1000/1100 and 4000/4100—Designed by Harold Clisby in Australia in the lathe 1960's, the Sherline lathe took advantage of the stiffness and economy of aluminum extrusions to eliminate the flexibility problems of the then-popular Unimat. Also sized at 3.5" x 8", it took aim directly at Unimat's market. It offered a good line of accessories including a thread cutting attachment with metal gears, chucks, steady rest and several tool posts. Mr. Clisby was a prolific inventor, and turned his attention to a successful air compressor design, turning over the manufacture of the lathe to Ron Sher of Sher Pty. Ltd. in Australia. Joe Martin became the first US importer of the lathe, when it was sold under the Craftsman label by Sears and also under the Sherline label. It was also sold under several other brand names such as Brookstone, Jensen and NatCam (National Camera) until the Sherline name became well known on its own. The original several hundred imports were a metallic blue color with brass bed and table and a small motor facing toward the right. The second photo shows early packaging where the box had its own carrying handle. After production moved to the USA, the finish changed to black and the AC/DC motors (now facing to the left) increased in power from 1/5 HP, to 1/4 HP, to 1/2 HP eventually to be replaced by a far superior DC motor that provides even more torque. Sherline machines are still in production and can now be purchased with all the modern features available on large machines like digital readouts and CNC controls. A longer lathe with 17" between centers is also available. The last photo shows a current production Model 4000 A lathe with chucks. The current price of $575.00 is actually less expensive in today's dollars than the original Unimat was at $99.00 in 1953, and use of CNC factory machining makes today's tools far more precise and accurate. Sherline also offers a line of three similarly sized milling machines. Though Unimat offered a milling column for the lathe, a stand-alone milling machine was not available in this size until Sherline introduced it.

SOUTH BEND 9" MODEL C WORKSHOP LATHE—At over 4 feet long, this lathe pushes the limits of the criteria for our miniature machine tool collection; however, South Bend lathes have been and are still so popular world wide that we felt no collection would be complete without one. The 9" Model C dating from a 1935 design is probably the definitive South Bend lathe.

Machine tool expert Tony Griffiths says, "Exported world-wide, the beautifully made classic American South Bend 9-inch "Workshop" lathe still has an enthusiastic following. Amazingly, the design, developed and refined, but still to its essentially original appearance and dimensions, is included in South Bend’s catalogues of today as a 10-inch lathe—a production run of over 69 years. During WWII many South Bend lathes of all sizes were exported to the UK under the "Lend-Lease" scheme, and thousands are still in amateur hands giving faithful service. High-quality materials were always a feature of these lathes—even the screws holding the gear guard covers were hardened so that repeated removal for cleaning and lubrication did not burr their slots and so mar the lathe’s appearance. The headstock spindle and bearings were masterpieces of precision engineering and, given just a modicum of lubrication, the hardened spindle and cast iron bearings of the 8-inch Junior and "9-inch Workshop" models, (an ideal combination of materials, incidentally) appear to last almost forever."

It's popularity is such that many "clones" of the South Bend design have been manufactured by other companies over the years.

STARK (or similar) LATHE IN MINIATURE—This tiny lathe is similar to the popular Stark lathe design that was produced by many different companies over a long period of years. This particular one is of a treadle model of the lathe, where the rotary motion of the spindle is powered by the operator's feet, a common form or power where electricity was not available. The lathe sits on a wooden workbench that has a drawer in the rear containing miniature wrenches, a compound slide and other tools. It was hand made by Georg Hesse in Berlin, Germany in the early 1900's and passed down from father to son. In Germany, Mr. Hesse's title was "fine Mekanik," which is the equivalent of a master machinist.

Donated by Maxine Hesse in honor of her late husband, Hans Hesse.

STARRETT SQUARE and BROWN & SHARP ANGLE GAUGE—The small 4" L.S. Starrett machinist's square will get regular use in our shop rather than languish in the display cabinet. In addition to the standard square arm, a center finding arm is also included.

The tiny Brown & Sharp angle gauge is the smallest we have seen. The arms are only about 1" long, but it is perfectly functional. Most modelmakers would find this an extremely useful tool, although we doubt it is still offered for sale by B&S. (A quarter is used for size illustration.)

Both tools donated by Phil Gerrard, who also donated many small drill bits, a custom boring head and other tools for use in the Foundation machine shop.

TWO STEVENS & CO. CALIPERS plus #50 COLLET SET and watch screw, washer and Jewel assortments

These tiny calipers and dividers were used to transfer a dimension from one part to another. The patent date on the curved set is 1870. The tiny #50 size collets are for holding very small watch shafts. Also included in the donation by Walter Yahn are a set that holds 36 sizes of balance hole jewel combinations (cock and foot) by Swartchild & Co. of Chicago. Another set from O. Aunes includes 12 small glass vials containing a selection tiny washers for adjusting watch timing. A final container has an assortment of very small watch screws.

Donated by Walter Yahn

STEWART MINIATURE TREADLE LATHE—Made by the James Stewart Company of New York, USA, the original of this lathe resides in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. Lynn Hollis took photos and dimensions from the prototype in the museum and created this 1/8 scale model. The treadle (foot powered lever to turn a flywheel) is fully functional with the headstock driven by a fine thread. The tailstock lock and other features also work.

The last two photos show the original lathe in the Ford Museum.

Model built and donated by Lynn Hollis

TAIG LATHE—One of the few other small machine tools produced in the USA, the Taig is made in Arizona. Like the Sherline, it is also based on about the same size as the old Unimat. The tailstock uses a quill feed for rapid drilling (but without micrometer control) and the headstock has T-slots in the extrusion for mounting fixtures or indicators. To keep costs down, the basic lathe is available with or without a motor. Taig also makes a milling machine.


TOYO LATHE—For many years the Toyo Lathe was Japan's answer to the Unimat. Sized about the same and of similar layout it was recognizable by its bright green color. Our example has both a 3-jaw and 4-jaw chuck. Inside the swing-out pulley cover are two pairs of 3-position pulleys offering six speeds using the two-position belt from the drive motor. Two separate speed charts are listed inside depending on whether you were using 50 or 60 Hz current. A separate belt could also be used to power the feed screw and a threading chart was posted inside the cover as well. For a time this lathe was marketed as the Sakai lathe, but distribution ceased when the company founder died.

UNMAT 1 LATHE SYSTEM—The last of the small machines to remain in production carrying the Unimat name is made entirely from plastic except for the extruded aluminum bed and the pot metal chuck. Though limited to cutting wax, wood and perhaps a little aluminum, the system incorporates several clever design features that allow the components to be put together in many ways to do a lot of different jobs. There are optional modules available for milling, drilling and rotary work as well. There are a number of packages at various price levels that incorporate different modules. A DVD and book of projects comes with the machine, which is sold and promoted world-wide. (The book is in six languages.) While still manufactured in Austria, the Unimat is no longer made by Emco as was the case with the older metal machines up to the Unimat 3. (The Unimat 4 was made in Taiwan.) Now made by Manfred Heindl and The CoolTool Company in Austria, the Unimat name continues in a brightly colored, fun, multi-purpose tool system that is well supported with accessories and features, but is suitable for light duty work only. According to the box cover, the machine has won several awards for design.

Photo 1 shows the cover of the box of the "Classic" 6-in-one set. The various configurations are shown in the cover photo. Photo 2 shows the components as packaged in the box. Photo 3 shows a detail of the pot metal 3-jaw chuck, which is 1-7/8" in diameter and one of the few metal parts supplied. (Even the collets are molded from plastic.) The final photo shows one of the best features of the system; that is, it is extremely well documented with manuals, project books, a video and a DVD. The Unimat line takes advantage of all the marketing tools available to a modern manufacturer, keeping in mind it will be sold alongside colorful kits and toys in the hobby market.

The last photo shows our 6-in-one set configured as a metal cutting lathe. A One Euro and American Quarter dollar coin are shown on the crosslide for size reference.


UNIMAT DB200/SL1000—Introduced in 1954 and selling for $99.00 in the wooden box, this small tabletop lathe was an instant hit that revolutionized the home lathe market. This Austrian-made tool offered a huge line of accessories and many thousands were sold. It's weakness was its flexibility due to the use of a bed made from two round rods. It is still popular with tool collectors today, although for your money you can buy a modern lathe that is in current production that will make more accurate parts. This is the one that started it all, though, and its 3.5" x 8" size was the basis of the design of many of the lathes still sold today. Sitting in the top of the box is an optional saw table attachment, one of many options available for the machine.


UNIMAT 3 LATHE—The last Unimat to be produced in Austria, it solved the bed flex problem by going to a cast, dovetailed bed. The light duty motor limits its usability, but the large line of Unimat accessories kept it popular for a long time. Manufactured in Austria by EMCO, it was eventually replaced by the Unimat 4 which was manufactured in Taiwan, and the drop in quality turned off many former customers. It is no longer distributed in the USA.

WADE CAV LATHE #2—The Wade CAV was manufactured by C.A.V. Small Tools Ltd., in Sussex England from 1922 to the lathe 1930's. It is made using polished pressure die cast copper-aluminum alloy components. Keep in mind that aluminum was considered almost a precious metal in the 1920's, so this was a pretty radical choice of materials for the time. It also has a back gear for screw cutting and a steel bed instead of the usual cast iron used at the time. This example has a 3" 3-jaw chuck. The bed itself is a large tube, which is in itself unusual.

Donated by Gary Twemlow, Scotland.


UNKNOWN BRAND JEWELER'S LATHE—There is no manufacturer information anywhere on this donated lathe, although it is a very attractive design with the polished brass parts and black-painted bed. The brass legs give this tiny machine (the bed is 12-5/8" long) the look of a larger lathe. The roughly cast bed has two triangular pointed ground ways that register in grooves in the bottom of the headstock, tailstock and slide. Each is positioned by loosening a large brass thumbscrew under the bed, although one thumbscrew has been lost and replaced by a bolt on this particular machine. The capacity is a swing of 1-5/8" (3-1/4" diameter) by about 6" between centers. The headstock does not actually have a center or an internal taper for one, but rather a threaded end on the spindle shaft is used to accept the chuck which can hold a center. A white celluloid plastic handwheel with brass spokes operates the tailstock and is marked, "Celluloid, PAT. May 14, '78." which presumably indicates 1878. If anyone has any information on the manufacturer of this lathe, please contact mecm@craftsmanshipmuseum.com.

Donated by Joe Kreuger of Vista, CA.

Tool donations welcomed

If you have a small, historically significant machine tool that you would like to share with the world, please contact us regarding a donation. We would be happy to prepare, maintain and display it. A plaque with your name as the donor will be placed with the machine. Contact mecm@craftsmanshipmuseum.com or call (760) 727-9492.

More on the history of machine tools of all sizes

A man named Tony Griffiths in England has put together a great resource on the Internet for those wishing to learn more about machine tools. Visit his tool archive at http://www.lathes.co.uk.

This section is not yet sponsored

To learn how your company or organization can sponsor a section in the Craftsmanship Museum, please contact mecm@craftsmanshipmuseum.com.


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