BRITANNIA Lathe
No. 14  
New and Improved
Self-Acting and Screw-Cutting Lathe

7" swing (diameter) , 14" swing gap-bed
(diameter)

22" between centers, 3'6" bed length

1" x 8 TPI spindle nose thread, 5/16" hole
through spindle

Britannia Co., Colchester, England

Serial # 17753

Built around 1905

Approx. weight:  450 lbs. unpacked

Approx. overall dimensions: 4' x 4' x 2'
Navigation Bar Placeholder
INTERESTING ANTIQUE MACHINES SOLD ON
THE NET   2-2007 through 2008
BRITANNIA New and Improved Self-Acting and
Screw-Cutting Lathe   2-2008  through 3-2008
No. 14  
New and Improved
Self-Acting and Screw-Cutting Lathe
How to cut threads on a lathe,  calculate threads from the
change gears, ajust and set the lathe gears to cut threads.
An "Harrington maker, Philadelphia" lathe
.( flat belt ) sold on e-bay in 2007
Below, A watch  gear cutting machine. Made around 1860, Made of solid
brass, steel, with cast iron base, and a weight of almost 20 lbs, and
measures 16 w x 15 h. est. $1000
1882 original detail drawing of  PRATT AND WHITNEY ENGINE LATHE , DATED APRIL 28,
82. DRAWN ON WHATMAN 1879 PAPER, MEASURES 12 X 19, OUTSTANDING
CONDITION, FOUND IN A LARGE COLLECTION  OF ORIGINAL 19TH CENTURY
MECHANICAL DRAWINGS.      picture not avail.
The Refinement of the Ornamental Lathe
by Holtzapffel
Generally considered in the same breath with the term "ornamental turning" is the family name of Holtzapffel. John Jacob Holtzapffel
moved from Alsace to England in about 1785 and opened his engineer's tool business in London in 1793. His first lathe was sold to a
Mr. Crisp on June 31st 1795, the outfit costing £ 25-4s-10d. When one considers that today this would be over £ 2000, or $3000US, and
that the skilled mechanic of the day earned less than 8d per hour, this lathe represented over 3 months wages. All of Holtzapffel's lathes
were numbered, and not all had full ornamental turning apparatus included. By about 1805, after the Holtzapffel firm had reached nearly
No. 500 in their numbering scheme, almost all lathes had iron beds instead of the previously used mahogany wood beds. The last
lathe sold was Holtz. No 2557, made in 1913/14 and sold in Nov. 1928. No other maker of ornamental lathes matched the productivity of
the Holtzapffel family in the field of ornamental lathes.

When John Jacob I died in 1835, about 1600 lathes had been sold by his firm. Not all were fully equipped as ornamental lathes, but with
the large number that were, quite an impetus was given to ornamental turning as a leisure occupation in England. The introduction of
the cutting frame by Holtzapffel allowed for significantly more complex patterns to be cut as compared to what could be done previously
with only the drilling frame. The elder Holtzapffel standardized his screw threads before 1800, his spindle thread being 9.45 threads per
inch for example, and the firm maintained this standard throughout all the lathes they manufactured. This standardization was initiated
long before any kind of screw standards were established for industry at large.

The son of John Jacob I, Charles, who joined the firm in 1827, began the monumental series of five books that were called Turning and
Mechanical Manipulation in 1835. This ambitious effort, comprising over 3000 pages and 1600-odd illustrations, was intended to be a
complete survey and overview of all the mechanical arts of the day. It was not until 1884 that Vol. V was published by the son of Charles
Holtzapffel, John Jacob II. However, it was not until 1894, with the addition of a revised and enlarged version of Vol. III, that the set was
complete. Today, Vol's. IV and V of this series are known as the "Bible of Ornamental Turning" because of their wealth of information
about all aspects of the craft of ornamental turning. Charles managed the firm until his death in 1847. He was considered a
distinguished engineer, developing and inventing various devices. An obituary notice remarked of him that,

Mr. Holtzapffel probably never put his hand to a machine which he did not improve, and his practice in the construction of machines has
been more miscellaneous probably than that of any other mechanist, his workmanship more accurate, and his general mechanical
arrangements more refined...He had all the humility of genius without its eccentricities, and his heart habitually overflowed with
kindness towarrd everyone around him.

Charles' wife, Amelia, ran the firm until 1853, and in 1867, Charles' son, John Jacob II, became head of the firm until 1896. He died in
1897. A nephew of Charles, George William Budd, became head of the firm in 1896. Few ornamental lathes were made after the turn of
the century and the 19th century was known as the zenith of the ornamental turning lathe. Many lathes were sold to the aristocracy of
England. The earl of Harborough, for instance, bought nine Holtzapffel lathes between 1812 and 1848. This was certainly not common,
but is instructive of the popularity of these machines once one developed an affinity for OT.

The contribution of John Jacob Holtzapffel's work was significant in several respects. As expressed by Walshaw (see Bibliography),
"First, he brought the cost of the machine down to a figure which a mere 'gentleman' (or even a prosperous tradesman) could afford,
and, second, the design was both elegant and functional." His designs were much improved over the lathes previously made on the
continent of Europe. Holtzapffel also was a master of marketing apparatus to his clients over time. Improvements and additions to
apparatus increased the capability of his equipment and induced his clients to continue to be his customers. The remarkable set of
books by the family were, in effect, an extensive set of owner's manuals for their machines.

***ANY QUESTIONS CONTACT DAVID LINDSAY
 DLINDSAY@GOLDMACHINERY.COM
OR  1-800-619-4653 ****
Technical Details:

Circa 1875 vintage
Manufactured in Victorian England
This machine is used to turn semi-precious materials such as ivory & alabaster, hard woods such as ebony and various other materials
Equipped with:

Technical Details:

Circa 1875 vintage
Manufactured in Victorian England
This machine is used to turn semi-precious materials such as ivory & alabaster, hard woods such as ebony and various other materials
Equipped with:
Prentice Bros. Lathe circa 1910 ? Sort of a cross between a toolmaker's lathe and a patternmakers lathe.Has smooth running spindle
with 3-step cone pulley running in solid bronze bearings. Spindle is hollow, approx 5/8-3/4" diameter through.
Has compound rest for metal turning, and a hand rest for woodturning. Lathe bed is 48" total, end-to-end. Tailstock is complete and
operates smoothly. No chucks or tooling other than the faceplate shown, plus the Jacobs-type drill chuck in the tailstock. Countershaft is
the underhung type, meant to be suspended from the ceiling. Operates smoothly. Weighs a good 300-350 lbs.