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      R.A. Lee Lathe

      Although mentioned in Patrick Knight's book "A-Z of British Stationary Engines" as a seller, circa 1897/8, of small gas and oil engines, R.A. Lee Engineers, Victoria, Broadway, Westminster, are not recorded as a machine-tool manufacturer. Dating from around 1850 to 1910, this simple plain-turning lathe had a centre height of around 4 inchers and a capacity between centres of approximately 24 inches.
      Like many contemporary light lathes intended for amateur use (and a design feature continued well into the 20th century) the Lee had its headstock spindle carried in a single bearing at the front with its left-hand end held against a hardened, pointed support carried in an adjustable holder where the left-hand bearing would normally be found The 3-step headstock pulley was not intended to use a V belt - it would be several decades before they appeared - but a round leather "rope", often referred to as a "gut drive" (as in cat gut..). The rest of the lathe was also entirely conventional with the flat-topped bed unsupported between the walls except at the headstock and tailstock ends, the hand T-rest and tailstock secured by through-bolts and full-circle open "nuts" and with bed feet of a particularly slender design..