Georg E. Friedrich Lathe
With a centre height of 75 mm and accepting some 230 mm between centres, our previously "unknown" lathe does carry a badge stating" Georg E. Friedrich, Selbitz" - and this has now been confirmed as the maker, a surviving company invoice for 1954 including a small drawing of the lathe featured below.
Almost certainly constructed from the late 1940s until the late 1950s and of conventional layout, the Friedrich does have one very unusual distinguishing feature: normally on this class of machine, collets would (for the sake of absolute accuracy) be held directly in the headstock spindle, the taper often finished by a grinding assembly mounted on the bed. However, on this example an adapter sleeve is used - as found on many larger backgeared and screwcutting types - though for what reason is unclear, unless the designer (for some unknown reason) wanted to make the headstock spindle bore as large as possible. The spindle drive, by flat belt instead of a round leather or plastic rope, points to a machine intended for heavier-than-normal use - though the same arrangement is not uncommon on similar bench precision models. Heavily built, the headstock casting is reinforced by the front of the casting being brought up to the level of the spindle bearings, these being in bronze, tapered on the outside, parallel on the inside and drawn into the headstock by screwed, castellated rings.
Formed with a flat way at the front and a V at the back, the bed is cast as one piece with a box under the headstock (that holds the electrical switch) and a rather old-fashioned looking foot at the other end.
As there is no carriage feed along the bed, the usual very long-travel top slide is fitted, with the ways and feed-screw left exposed (and with no provision for a cover to be seen); however, the cross slide screw is fully protected (a sheet-metal cover being fastened to the back of the casting) and driven by a screw that abuts directly against the saddle - the designer neglecting to include a short, bolt-on extension sleeve to allow the slide a little more travel. Both feed screws are fitted with "balanced" handles and small diameter micrometer dials, these having their engraved lines rather widely spaced. A simple triangular, clamp-type toolpost is fitted, supported on a light spring and with the nut sitting on a washer with a lower dished face so that it "self-aligns".
Hinged onto the back of the headstock-end foot is a robust countershaft with drive from the motor being by a 2-step V-pulley that gives, in conjunction with a 3-step cone on the headstock, a total of six spindle speeds. A spring-loaded screw is used to adjust the belt tension, the need for an over-centre handle being obviated by the simplicity of just rolling the flat belt from one pulley to the other with only a slight slackening of the setting.
Likely to have been offered only as a precision plain-turning lathe (that is, without any form of power feed to the carriage) the "Friedrich" would have joined a crowded post-WW2 European market with German competitors including the well-established West German firms of G.Boley, Leinen (Boley & Leinen), Lorch, Wolf Jahn (as well as lesser known makers such as Benzinger, Kuhlmann, Morat, Saacke and Scherzinger) together with Schaublin, Habegger, Simonet and Mikron in Switzerland and Smart and Brown in England. In addition, other East German concerns were also active in the field including, Saupe in Leipzig, Auerbach in Dresden and Rudolf Kadner in Glashütte, Sächsische, Schweiz-Osterzgebirge, Saxony.
Many lathes of this type and size were offered by their makers in three versions - being built with a bed-mounted capstan attachment for production work, with lever-operated slides as a second-operation lathe (for lighter manufacturing duties) and as a toolroom version when fitted with a screw-feed compound slide rest and tailstock and intended for one-off high-precision jobs (in German parlance a "mechanic's" lathe). All three types could be assembled using just the standard bed and drive unit, it simply being necessary to bolt on the required parts. However, whether the "Friedrich" was ever offered with the accessories necessary to perform the conversions is not known - though as the headstock casting appears to lack machined faces and tapped holes to allow the mounting of a lever-action collet closer it's likely, that (as with the Scherzinger) this was a lathe intended only for precision instrument and clock work.
Other "unknown" German lathes of a similar type are the No. 79, No. 89 - and amongst other unknown lathes ones that might be of German manufacture: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and a collection of interesting machines here,.
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