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      email: tony@lathes.co.uk
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      D. W. Pond Lathe
      Pond lathe continued here
      If you have a Pond machine tool the writer would be pleased to hear from you


      Shown below is a 17-inch swing by 60-inches between-centres Pond lathe, one of a range of machine tools including plain-turning and backgeared and screwcutting (engine) lathes manufactured in the 19th century by D. W. Pond in Worcester, MA. The company also made lighter-duty models, with swings of 13", 15", 16" and 18", extra heavy-duty types in 20", 24", 28", 32" and 38" and a number of very large lathes that were categorised as "triple-geared" (that is, with a double backgear reduction) in 40", 44", 54" and 60" sizes. Drills and planers, the latter one of the firms original products from 1856, were also manufactured in some numbers  The lathe illustrated below, thought to have been made in 1874, was designed at a time when carbon-steel turning tools of limited strength and metal-removing ability were in use and has all the hallmarks of a machine from the period. However, its relatively deep bed, long headstock, full-size apron and generally well-contracted appearance would have put in a class above most of its competitors. Also in tune with the era, the screwcutting and power feeds were split, with the changewheel-driven leadscrew passing down the back of the bed and the power shaft - for sliding and surfacing feeds - along the front, driven by a flat belt running over a 3-step cone pulley turned from a smaller pulley built around the output shaft from the (inside-mounted) tumble-reverse gears. Using a sliding key, the slotted power shaft ran across the back of the single-sided apron to turn a bevel gear that operated the longitudinal drive (with engagement by a screw-in-and-out cone clutch) with a larger reduction by worm-and-wheel gearing, for the cross feed. The latter was also further slowed by a pair of exposed spur gears on the face of the apron - a (dangerous) feature of many Pond lathes and also widely used by Weisser in Germany. Despite the antiquity of its design the V-way bed was decently wide and the very long carriage able to move on ways that passed in front of and behind the headstock casting - so allowing the cross slide to be positioned centrally on the saddle.
      The machine featured would originally have been equipped with awkward-to-operate crank handles on top and cross slides (both bereft of micrometer dials, as was then normal) - but has been nearly modified to carry balanced ball handles and the carriage equipped with a full-circle handwheel. Unusually for the era the carriage drive was through a reduction gear train and not by a gear acting directly on a bed-mounted rack - the resulting smoothness of operation and ability to impart a slow, steady movement to the cutting tool when using hand feeds must have come as pleasant surprise to any operator moving from one type to the other. With just a cross slide and no swivelling top slide (though it is certain one would have been available) the toolpost had to be carried on a tall block running on rather narrow ways cut into the top surface of the apron.
      The original founder of the Company, David W. Pond (1848-1897), worked at first in partnership with his father, Lucius W. Pond, in the machine-tool business of L. W. Pond. When that concern failed (Pond senior was imprisoned for forgery) Pond bought out the company's creditors and merged the remaining interests with his own company to became
      D. W. Pond Successor to L.W. Pond". By 1882, and employing 240 men, Pond had become the largest machine tool company in the Worcester area. The organisation was incorporated on February 1, 1883, as the Pond Machine Tool Company Inc. and then moved to Plaintfield, NJ. By 1894 he had disposed of his interests to Manning, Maxwell & Moore - but committed suicide by shooting on August 4, 1897. In August 1899 the company merged with the Niles Tool Works and Bement, Miles & Company to form the massive and diverse Niles-Bement-Pond Co., one of America's largest industrial organisations..  Pond photographs continued here

      Sliding and surfacing feeds were driven by a slotted shaft running along the front face of the bed - this was turned by a flat belt running over a 3-step cone pulley driven from a smaller pulley built around the output shaft from the (inside-mounted)  tumble-reverse gear

      The screwcutting leadscrew passed down the back of the bed with clasp nuts mounted on a rear apron. Note the very large backgear assembly


      The exposed cross-feed screw and gear can have done little to prolong their longevity--but the arrangement was standard practice at the time.

      Not every lathe of the period had such a long and ridged apron, The knob in the centre screwed in and out to engage the power sliding feed (via a cone clutch) whilst to the right can be seen the exposed gearing for power cross feed. The dangerously-exposed gears on the face of the apron were common at the time in both America and Europe

      Inside the apron. Using a sliding key, the slotted power shaft ran across the back of the single-sided apron and turned a bevel gear to operated the longitudinal feed and worm-and-wheel gearing for the cross. The latter was also further slowed by a pair of exposed spur gears on the face of the apron.

      Leadscrew "clasp" nut was simply pushed against the leadscrew - using a quick-action cam mechanism

      Although square section threads were common on leadscrews almost from their inception, the Pond appears to have used one with a novel form having a


      Pond lathe continued here

      D. W. Pond Lathe
      email: tony@lathes.co.uk
      Home   Machine Tool Archive   Machine-tools Sale & Wanted
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      If you have a Pond machine tool the writer would be pleased to hear from you
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