Not to be confused with the modern Italian maker, Ceriani who market a lathe with the same name, the original "David" was advertised for a just short time in the mid 1920s and marketed, if not actually manufactured, by Irwin & Jones of 4, Westmoreland Buildings, Aldergate Street, London, E.C.1. This company were also responsible for the unusual, but entirely unsuccessful, "Fulswyng" lathe, a machine that ran its carriage on ways formed on the front and back faces of the bed, rather than the top, rather in the manner of the later (and very different) Schaublin precision 102-VM lathes
Of a very simple, plain-turning type, the design of the 21/2" x 6" David echoed that long used by other makers of similar types in having a bed of cantilever form, with a swivelling compound slide rest located against its front face and held down by a through-bolt and handwheel. Surprisingly, the headstock pulley was for a flat belt, when contemporary practice for such small machines was to use a round leather "gut" rope. The 3/4" diameter, 3/8" bore spindle ran in two split plain bearings (when a single bearings and point rear support might have been expected) - though no doubt these were not bushed but with the spindle running direct in the cast iron of the headstock. The spindle nose was machined with a 3/4" Whitworth thread.
Of the most basic, lever-action type, the tailstock was no less effective for that, many operators preferring the more sensitive feel it gave in comparison with a screw feed. No. 1 Morse centres were used in headstock and tailstock - competing lathes from Portass could only stretch to an inadequate No. 0 - and the makers also offered a compact and cleverly-designed treadle stand that resembled those offered by, amongst others, Pittler "Pattern B", EXE 21/2" and JR.
In 1924 the makers were asking ? : 17s : 6d for the bench model with an extra ? : 15s : 0d for the stand and drive system, making a total of ? : 12s ; 6d. ready to run. As a comparison, the contemporary Portass "Portalathe", a machine of similar specification and also mounted on a treadle stand (though of very simple construction) was ? : 10s : 0d, a significant 32% saving. Although having less capacity, the Portass enjoyed the advantage of a gap bed and a carriage hand-driven along the bed by a leadscrew. In all likelihood few examples of the "David" would have been sold - perhaps just fifty or so. So far only one example appears has come to light, a bench-mounted type
If you have a David lathe, or any information about them, the writer would be interested to hear from you..