Lorch Schmidt

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What is known of this little rarity, not a lot in point of fact, but here is what I do know:-

The lathe dimensions:-

Centre height :- 65 mm

Between centres :- 250 mm depending on centre type.

Bed length :- 503 mm

Bed diameter :- 60 mm

Bed section "D" shape with top removed leaving a landing of 2 inches, definitely not 50 mm.

The bed is on pedestals which are higher than the norm, but totally original, the height of the bed top face to the under side of feet is 7-5/8 inches


Fixings to bed are all by cams forcing an alignment with the inside front vertical face of the slot, on the headstock and tailstock these are tightened by screw, on the compound and the "T" rest they are tightened by cams operated via ball handles.


The compound is secured to the bed by a single ball handle at the rear, there is a quadrant plate to angle the top slide to plus or minus 30 degrees on the main scale just in front of the top slide, and a finger and a second scale graduated plus or minus 10 degrees and a larger quadrant, giving a finer scale.

The top slide is held to the cross slide via a cam operated from the very front of the slide next to the ball handle, a quarter turn or less releases the clamp and the cam can then be pulled straight out, by undoing the clamp on the protractor plate the entire top slide comes off. The back top face of the cross-slide is engraved Lorch Schmidt and is spot polished

The feed screws are ¼ inch and 26 tpi. I had originally thought this to be 25 tpi, but it clearly isn't, the thimble is divided into 80 divisions and stamped every 8 sub-divided into 4 and further subdivided into 2's. I cant make any sense of this. But it is possible that the thimble was added later, the top slide doesn't have one at all.


The tailstock is self ejecting as per tool room lathes of good quality, the barrel is graduated in 1/16 of an inch for 1-1/2 inches and the barrel is 5/8 inch OD.


The collets are 10mm and I have reasonable set of metric and a few Imperial ones, they are 75 mm long to the widest part of the crown, the thread however is 3/8 inch and appears to be 25 TPI. The keyway is 1/16 inch wide and all but one of them are made by Karger who I can't find anything out about.


The division plate on the pulley has three rows of holes 24 - 60 and 84 with a sprung detent located in a taper holder on the base of the headstock. The cone pulley is secured by three screws which work upon an internal collet of three leaves to clamp to the mandrel spindle. The bearings are all hard cones with adjustment from a split and knurled nut at the rear. There are two oil holes above but they don't show any signs of ever having dust caps fitted. There are two brass dust shields for and aft as it were to cover the edges of the cones. The mandrel is threaded as would be an engineers lathe, but does not have a register, it appears to be ¾ inch OD and 26 tpi


The "T" rest seems to be unique, I have never seen its like, the ball handle at the rear secures both the position of the base plate to the bed and grasps the round bar that holds the T, this round bar moves to and fro, if you push it in, it passes into a "U" shape on the base plate that effectively prevents it from tipping sideways, if you pull it out an inch it will tip to any position and completely upside down to clear the work.


The fixings of the legs to the bed are with two cheese headed machine screws which are 3/8 inch Whitworth, all in all a very strange assortment.


I am guessing that this is an instrument makers lathe, or sometimes referred to as small bench top precision. I guess the age to be 1900 - 1930, but I would like to hear anyone else's thoughts on this. Tony Griffiths gives a dating of 1880 to 1920, one thing for sure the depression on the thirties killed all aesthetical design which in my view was the beginning of functionality alone, prior to this looks were equally important as function.


The machine was originally painted only in the two places (pre Hammerite) I have since re-enameled, the headstock and tailstock, but not on the faces which too would have been left as finished surfaces. Sadly I was unable to find any vestige of the original colour even with a dental pick in the corners etc. So as per Henry Ford, any colour you like so long as its black, but being such a small area I think it rather adds something, of course it's a difficult colour to photograph.