Leavitt-Dexter Valve Reseating Lathe
- with thanks to Peter Merriam for supplying such excellent photographs - High-resolution pictures - may take time to open
Not really intended for general work but a specialised machine for re-seating "globe" or other types of valves, the 4-inch centre height Leavitt was manufactured by the Leavitt Machine Company and marked: Dexter Valve Reseating Machine, Orange, Massachusetts. Globe valves are typically found where fluid or gas is being transported along a pipe, the valve being opened and closed with a capstan handwheel - with shipboard being common, a valve re-seating machine kit was advertised as being a valuable part of a marine engineer's toolkit. Leavitt-Dexter, long-established in the valve reseating machine business, have made, over many decades, a variety of models with the one shown here the most lathe-like offered.
With a V-way at the front and a flat at the back (separated by a centre-to-centre distance of 3.125"), the bed was 16" long, 4.375" wide, 4.75" high and carried a headstock that, like the tailstock, was held on with a single hexagon bolt. Rather surprisingly. the headstock was equipped with a 2.125-inch diameter, 3-jaw ring-scroll chuck branded "Leavitt". If the chuck - some marks are indistinct but the words Orange and Patented can be made out next to jaws 2 and 3 respectively - really was manufactured by the Company (and not bought-in) it would point to a serious commitment to volume production - for small 3-jaw chucks are not the easiest of things to tool up for and manufacture. The overall length of the headstock spindle, including the chuck (held on a 16 t.p.i. thread), was 13 inches. On one example found, the headstock drive was equipped with a simple, one-stage gear reduction, through this fitting is missing from the second machine.
Fitted with a swivelling compound slide rest assembly, the machine enjoyed a wide range of tooling adjustments. In typical plain-lathe fashion one slide had a long, screw-driven travel while the other was very much shorter - in fact so short in this case that it looked rather like the toolslide from a triple-slide assembly as found on some watchmakers' lathes.
Should any reader have a Leavitt valve re-seating machine different to those shown below, the writer would be interested to hear from you.