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      email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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      Corbett's XL, XL Junior
      and "Little Jim" Lathes

      Continued on Page 2 (of 2)

      If you have a "Little Jim" or "XL Junior", the writer
      would be interested to know


      Advertised briefly during 1949, Corbett's "Little Jim" lathe would have been made by either the Winfield Company (local to Corbett's ) or by the engineering works belonging to Mr. Freddie Coals in Woodford Avenue, Southend Road (just off the London North Circular Road) in Woodford Green, Essex. Corbett's, who by 1953 were based in Stanton Hill near Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, were well-known distributors of small machine tools during the 1940s and 1950 and would have commissioned both Winfield and Coles to manufacture various models - of which probably the most successful was the "Granville" (the same two makers probably had a hand in the manufacture of lathes for sale by Randa and Tyzack). Corbett's also marketed a well-made and useful little 7-inch shaper, the maker of which is unknown.
      As little in the way of evidence survives - and few examples of the lathes - it appears that the Little Jim was offered in three forms: the No.1 plain lathe at ?7 : 10s : 0d, this being bereft of backgear and screwcutting and with a 2.25" centre height and taking 12" between centres; the No. 1a plain-turning and backgeared for ?9 : 10s : 0d (this presumably being the same size as the No.1) and the 1b with backgear, screwcutting and a proper compound slide rest for ?7 : 10s : 0d. However, now that an example of the latter has been found, it seems to be identical to another model offered by Corbett, the XL Junior, this being a larger 3.25" centre height machine taking 14 inches between centres (advertisements stated that all models of the Little Jim could, for an extra ?, be supplied with a longer bed admitting 14 inches between centres). Only one stand was offered, a treadle unit for an extra ?0 : 10s : 0d, with a bench countershaft for ? : 18s : 6d - though of course, the electric motor was extra.
      Unfortunately, only one maker's illustration of the Little Jim has been found, that for the No.1 for the plain-turning model - so why two identical lathes were offered with different names is not known, though it is entirely possible that the copywriter confused the models and their specifications - not all you read is black and white is?..
      Of a decent specification, the headstock of the 1b held a spindle bored to pass 5/8" running in bronze bearings and carrying a No. 2 Morse taper in its 1.125" x 12 t.p.i.  nose (the same as a Myford Series 7). Drive was by a 3-step V-pulley to take an "A" section V-belt.
      Braced by external ribs, the flat-topped bed had its narrow edges set vertically with, presumably, the guidance of both carriage and tailstock by the front and rear ways. The carriage was simple and consisted of saddle with two transverse T-slots surmounted by a single, swivelling toolslide without a micrometer dial - but equipped with an American-style lantern toolpost, an English type being available as an alternative. In plain and backgeared forms the 5/8" x t.p.i. overhung leadscrew ran through a full nut and was hand cranked by a balanced handle at the tailstock end. The lathe weighed approximated 65 lbs in its basic form..

      Some high-resolution pictures - may take time to open

      Corbett's "Little Jim" plain-turning lathe

      Corbett's XL Junior lathe - identical to the "Little Jim" Model 1b
      With its distinctive externally braced bed this was actually a version of the Mk. 1 Winfield and advertised during 1953. With a 3.25" centre height and admitting 14" between centres, a gap-bed was standard and the lathe available in several forms - of which the cheapest was the Model 1 Plain, a version bereft of back gear and screwcutting and listed at ?0 : 10S : 0d. An extra ? : 10s :0d procured the Model 1a with a backgear assembly with a further ? was demanded for the Model 1b, this being a full screwcutting version with a proper, snail-cam engaged clasp nut on the leadscrew, a single-slot changewheel arm, no tumble reverse and rack-and-pinion hand drive to the carriage. Driven by a proper, full-sized A-section V-belt, the headstock had a 3-step pulley with the 5/8" bore spindle running in split bronze bearings. The spindle nose was identical to that on Series 7 Myford lathes with a 1.125" x 12 t.p.i. thread, T-slotted in the proper tradition of small English lathes, the cross slide was fitted with a swivelling  top slide secured by just one bolt at the back - with both slides using balanced handwheels - but lacking micrometer dials.
      Able to be set over, the tailstock took a No. 1 Morse taper with the spindle passing clear through the handwheels in the manner of that on an ML7.
      A small range of accessories was offered including fixed and swivelling vertical milling slides, a 4.75-inch diameter rotary milling table, drive dogs, sets of turning tools, a machine vice and the usual centres, boring bars and electric motors..

      Corbett's Little Jim Model 1b - the full-sized model with backgear and screwcutting. This example has lost its swivelling tool slide

      Corbett's Little Jim Model 1b - the V-belt-drive headstock with backgear clustered (like that on a Myford ML4) behind the front spindle bearing

      No tumble-reverse - just a simple, single-slot bracket used to carry screwcutting changewheels - the latter of the same DP as used on Myford Series 7 lathes

      A previous owner has - wisely - modified the tiny original cross-feed handwheel to give a better grip

      The rare "Corbett's" 4 1/4" x 20" XL Lathe - the "Senior" version
      Advertised during the 1950s this conventional backgeared and screwcutting lathe was sold by Corbett's but also, in modified form, badged as versions of the Grayson and Warwick. However, almost certainly all versions would have been manufactured in the engineering works belonging to Mr. Freddie Coals in Woodford Avenue, Southend Road (just off the London North Circular Road) in Woodford Green, Essex. Fitted with a 5/8" bore, No. 2 Morse taper spindle running in simple split bronze bearings closed down by set screws, the headstock on some (as above) was held to the 4-inch wide bed by four bolts, but on others by a pair at the front and a single one to the left. A choice of V or flat-belt drive was available, each with a 3-step pulley giving, with backgear, six speeds. The spindle nose was the same as used on the Myford Series 7 lathes - 1.125" x 8 t.p.i. - and the leadscrew, driven through changewheels equipped with tumble reverse, was 3/4" in diameter with an Acme thread. Four versions of this 170 lb lathe were offered: The XL-1 at ?6 : 10s : 0d without a drive system; the XL-2 with a built-on countershaft at ?9 : 10s : 0d; the XL-3 on a treadle stand at ?5 : 10s : 0d (surely there can have been few takers for that version) and the XL-4 on a stand with self-contained motor drive (but less the motor) at ?5 : 10s : 0d.


      Corbetts 4-inch centre height model the XL

      Another variation on the theme - but this time carrying no maker's or supplier's marking -but almost certainly by F. Coles & Company

      A different version of the "Corbett's" 4 1/4" x 20" XL lathe - this being an odd mixture of early Winfield (with clustered backgear inboard of the front spindle bearing) and Pools Special (apron and cross slide end bracket).

      What must be a late-model Corbett's 4.25" XL with cast-in Corbett's lettering, V-belt drive with the pulleys clustered towards the spindle nose - also sold with "Granville" badges


      Continued on Page 2 (of 2)


      Corbett's XL, XL Junior
      and "Little Jim" Lathes

      email: tony@lathes.co.uk
      Home   Machine Tool Archive   Machine-tools Sale & Wanted
      Machine Tool Manuals   Catalogues   Belts   Books  Accessories

      If you have a "Little Jim" or "XL Junior", the writer
      would be interested to know

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