Manufactured first by John and Henry Yardley, who traded as Grindturn Engineering from premises in Market Chambers, Market Street, Shrewsbury, it is believed that the Grindturn was in production by 1947 as a 2-inch centre height lathe that took 8 inches between centres. The name Grind-turn came from the (ill-advised) fitting of a small grinding wheel on the left-hand end of the headstock spindle - grinding dust and lathe beds tending not to mix. Details of the Company's early days are sketchy but the possibility exists that demand was such that manufacture was partially sub-contracted to Richard Haighton Ltd. of the Vulcan Works in Nelson, Lancashire.
By late 1948 the capacity had been increased by one-half inch on centre height (the between-centres remained the same) and a second version offered that was mounted on a cast-aluminium base plate complete with a 0.25 h.p. motor and a particularly neat, 6-speed all-V-belt countershaft. It is possible, though not confirmed, that the original 2-inch Grindturn can be recognised by its overhung leadscrew, the 2.5-inch version having a supporting bearing at the left-hand end. In January, 1949, the basic lathe was listed at ?2 : 17s : 6d and that on the base a stiff ?5 : 15s : 0d. - though as the whole assembly was light enough to be considered portable and able, with "suitable permissions", be moved indoors during winter months to share the kitchen table and warmth from the open coal fire it would had considerable appeal to the better paid. Unfortunately, by the middle of 1949, prices had increased by over 13%, taking the base-mounted unit to ?2 and the ordinary model to ?5 : 15s : 0d.
By 1949 the Grindturn company was bankrupt and Haighton took the opportunity to acquire the manufacturing rights and set about producing an improved version - in a letter dated June, 1950, Haighton mentioned introducing a screwcutting version of the lathe (with a rather flimsily dog-clutch on the leadscrew), and this machine was advertised both as the "Haighton Grindturn" and "Haighton Cadet". Although the leadscrew on this model ran through a solid bronze nut, unlike the majority of other makers who employed this design, on the Haighton the nut was split along one side and could be adjusted for wear by a pair of socket-headed screws.
Possibly coinciding with the Company's move to Burnley in 1954, the Grindturn reference was dropped from advertisements and only the description "Cadet" employed; An obvious development of the original machine, the "Cadet" was very well built, almost a large lathe in miniature, with an outstanding specification and very careful attention to detail. The bed, held down with four bolts at the headstock end and two at the tailstock, was fitted to a slightly modified and rather better-finished aluminium baseplate with rounded edges (later models changed to a superior cast-iron plate, the increased rigidity of which played a large part in the lathe's ability to take surprisingly deep cuts while maintaining accuracy). Other improvements and options included a dog clutch with better support and a spindle backgear together with belt and changewheel guards (although a version of the original Grindturn was offered with changewheel drive to the carriage, the lack of backgear for slow speeds meant this was only suitable to produce a power feed along the bed, screwcutting requiring the spindle to be turned by a hand).
As a reflection of its quality and comprehensive specification, the price of a complete, motorised the Cadet in the mid 1950s was ?4 : 15s : 0d, only ? : 2s : 6d less (25%) than asked for the 3.5" x 20" Myford ML7. However, despite the steep price, in 1953 Haighton were able to run a series of advertisements in Model Engineer Magazine proclaiming: Now over 500 satisfied users. Assuming this to be accurate, it was a reasonable achievement, meaning sales averaging three per week and bringing in a steady if unspectacular income for the company.
Eventually, manufacture was taken over by one Mr. Douglas Guest, the former general manager of Haighton's engineering department, who had left to start his own company, D. Guest Ltd. Guest's later merged with Cleveland Engineering Ltd. (lathes made in post Haighton times can be identified by the use of die-cast micrometer dials in Zamak with crude divisions that lacked digits). The new organisation, Cleveland-Guest, grew to occupy four sites in Colne - North Valley Road, Greenfield Road, Keighley Road and Colne Lane - and is now part of Gardner Aerospace. It is likely that production of the Cadet would have finished during 1958, coinciding with the cessation of advertising in the model engineering press.
Haighton were not just makers of a small lathe, but a proper engineering company with a long history of successful projects. One interesting machine, constructed from approximately 1953 to 1958, was the "Major", a development of the beautiful American Hardinge TM/UM precision universal milling machine. Haighton must also have enjoyed some influence with the local technical college (and the teachers a degree of common sense) for, in the 4th & 5th year of their City and Guilds Machine Shop Engineering Course, students had to build a 'Cadet' from castings and parts supplied by Haighton.