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      email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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      "John Clark" Horizontal Milling Machine

      Not the most famous of machine tool makers - in fact no record appears to survive of their existence - the John Clark company was based in Shipley, England with, so far, only one its products coming to light, the Model 1A Plain Horizontal. However, a very similar model - with exactly the same writing on the upper half of easily-replaced door - appeared in Buck & Hickman catalogues during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Hence, there is a chance that John Clark was not a manufacturer, but a dealer or agent who was badge-engineering a product by a local or even foreign maker. A search through many of the similar hard-backed, machine-tool dealer catalogues from the period 1900 to 1940 show a plethora of similar, small to medium-sized milling machines, these often being given entirely fictional names such as "National", "Ideal", "Salisbury", "Standard", "Kalee" and "Globe" etc.
      Of absolutely conventional design for the period - and with a lathe-like slow-speed backgear fitted - the "Clark" was obviously intended for the jobbing machine or repair shop. Weighing around 1602 lbs and fitted with a table having a working surface of approximately 24" x 8" and travels of 14" longitudinally, 6" in traverse and 16" vertically, the miller was typical of its era in having plain bronze spindle bearings, a solid round overarm, a 3-step flat-belt pulley-driven spindle and six rates of automatically-disengaged power feed to the table's horizontal travel. Drive to the table's feed was economically and simply arranged by a second flat-belt drive taken from an extension to that driving the spindle. Zeroing micrometer dials reading to 0.001" were fitted to all the feed screws with that on the table's horizontal feed being exceptionally large and engraved into the periphery of a disc. If the specification given in the Buck & Hickman catalogue is correct, the spindle had a Brown & Sharpe No. 9 taper and, as all other machines of a similar size listed had a Morse taper, the miller might well have been American in origin and made by the B & S Company themselves - at the time by far the world's largest maker of milling machines. However, the Buck & Hickman illustration clearly shows a crude attempt by the commercial artist to obliterate the real maker's logo, the shape and size of this being similar to that needed to accommodate the "twisted rope" used by the English maker Denbigh. Confusion indeed.



      As illustrated during the late 1920s and early 1930s the "14-inch" plain horizontal milling machine. Note the crude obliteration of the makers' logo beneath the text, it's shape and size seeming to indicate the makers as the English firm of Denbigh

      The Denbigh "twisted rope" logo



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