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      email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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      Ar-Con Tool Co. Lathes


      Trading from 500 Fassett Road in Toledo, Ohio, the Ar-Con made an interesting multi-function machine - the "Utilitool". Sold from around 1928 to 1931, the machine was based on a simple wood-turning lathe that utilised a 1/2 h.p. ball-bearing motor as the headstock with, outboard, on the end of its left-hand spindle, a grinding wheel with tool rest. The new owner could purchase the Utilitool as either a complete kit or - much more likely due to the Great Depression - build up the gradually, machine accessory by accessory, as funds permitted. Items available seemed to included a jigsaw, table-type sawbench, faceplates, sanding discs, polishing mops, long and short T-rests, a flexible drive unit and a variety of wood-turning tools. Although using a motor as the headstock was an obvious route to economical production, the Company were at pains to point out that their machine was not a toy and built so as to have "..an ample margin of power and strength.. and with even the "wing screws and lock nuts of drop-forged steel".
      Ar-Con were not the only maker of machinery in Toledo, the Toledo Machine & Tool Company made a range of large industrial machine tools while an assortment of other, much smaller concerns (exactly as in Sheffield, England) offered a range of wood and metal machining equipment intended for amateur or light professional use. Amongst these concerns was the Watson Mfg. Co. who listed (possibly amongst other models) the neat but plain-turning Baby Grand lathe and the Sypher Manufacturing Company, a direct competitor of Ar-Con, who manufactured a range of simple, plain-tuning metal and wood lathes together with a range of useful accessories  In 1930 - no doubt hastened by the straightened economic time - a merger took place between Sypher and AR-Con, the new company becoming
      Syper-Arcon. Sypher also made wood lathes that used a motor as their headstock, one being sold under the Sears, Roebuck & Co. Craftsman banner as the very simple, lightly-built 12" x 36" "Peerless" -this costing just $33 including freight. Another, sold under the company's own name and at $12 more, had a more conservative 7.75-inch swing and was of rather better construction with an improved toolrest and a screw-feed (instead of push-spindle) tailstock.
      Born in Toledo in 1877 was Mr. Walter C. Guilder, designer and manufacturer of the interesting multi-function Guilder "Model Builder" - though this was not built locally.
      Do any Ar-Con machines survive? As it's likely that no maker's mark or badges were attached some may exist unrecognised by their owners. If you have such an example - or advertising literature from the company, the writer would be interested to hear from you..



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