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Colchester Lathes
- as manufactured from the Mid 1920s -
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Information about exactly what lathes were produced by the Colchester Lathe Co. during the 1920s is hard to find - the Company appearing to have produced very little in the way of publicity material and with even that containing scant details. However, it is now known, that by early in the decade a number of models were well established and included a 5-inch centre height "Bantam"; the 6.5-inch "Triumph" (this name being subsequently applied to models with a 7.5-inch centre height and the 6-inch and 6.5-inch types renamed "Master"; a 6-inch Mascot (a name later more usually associated with lathes having a 8.5-inch centre height) and a variety of other types that lacked a descriptive name but were just referred to, variously, as\; "61/2-inch All Geared Head"; "71/2-inch All Geared Head"; "71/2-inch Cone Head" (flat-belt drive); "81/2-inch All Geared Head" and "13-inch Cone Head and All Geared Head" - the latter a very heavy-duty type with the saddle supported by a sub-bed formed on the front face of the main bed and available as a surfacing and boring type or equipped for production with a hexagon turret assembly. Although a variety of bed lengths was offered for all models, both with and without gaps, screwcutting gearboxes appear to have been restricted to some of the larger models.
A number of alternative drive systems was offered - though with many machine shops and factories still using overhead line shafting all types could be had with some method of connecting to this. More modern versions, with an all-geared headstock, had either a single flat input pulley arranged with a fast-and-loose belt striker, or a motor carried (as was common at the time) on top of the headstock. Even versions with a combined treadle and motor drive were listed, though demand for these must have been slight. All Colchester geared-head models of the period appear to have been fitted with a spindle clutch, this practice continuing until the 1940s when, unaccountably it was dropped. However, with the advent of the Triumph 2000 in 1960 clutches were reintroduced, these usually being of the Matrix manufacture (though occasionally Ortlinghause were used) and of a type that worked as brake in both forward and reverse direction.
Spindle bearings were exclusively in bronze and adjustable, with end thrust taken by a ball race. The flat-belt driven spindles were all backgeared, using ordinary cast-iron gears, while the geared headstock types all held heat-treated gears lubricated by splash.
Screwcutting feeds to the double-walled aprons were by conventional leadscrews with, in all cases, the sliding and surfacing feeds by a separate power shaft. Apart from the less expensive and smaller Bantam, all aprons had either an oil bath to lubricate the entire gear trains or just the power-feed worm-wheel. On the Triumph a very useful and effective old-fashioned idea was retained (and subsequently used in various forms for several more decades on a variety of makes) - drive to the power shaft by flat belt to provide a range of finer feeds..