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      E-MAIL   Tony@lathes.co.uk
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      R. Prudor Lathe - France
      - also badged as "Dufor", "Vachette" and "Schertlin" -

      Manufactured by R. Prudor of 127 bvd Richard Lenoir ?Paris, the Prudor lathe could date from as early as 1820, but is more likely - having regard to the well-supported headstock spindle, box-section foot beneath the headstock a proper compound slide rest, a finely-engraved degree scale around the base of the swivelling top slide and other detailing - to have been constructed circa 1890 to 1920. Around seven examples have come to light - most still in working order - showing that the lathe must have been built in reasonable numbers.
      With a centre height of around 100 mm and taking perhaps 300 mm between centres, the Prudor was plain turning, with no evidence that the carriage could be propelled along its triangular bed by a screw. The spindle appears to have just a 2-step pulley with diameters of 110 and 150 mm driven by a round leather rope - a system widely used on small lathes until as late as the 1930s - though in this case there was ample room for as many a three if not fours additional grooves.
      Nothing is known of the maker - and examples of what is obviously the same lathe have been founded carrying badges proclaiming "Dufor", Vachette" and Schertlin" - could this have been the French equivalent of Portass in England who made lathes for re-branding by all and sundry? Several examples have been found all with a number of significant differences including 3-step headstock pulleys for drive by a flat belt, at least three different headstock castings and different arrangements of the spindle bearings and
      One lathe has been found stamped on the end of its bed with the letters "LT" - this being the same as used on older French telephone equipment and so possibly indicating that it might have been used in a mobile workshop. The same lathe also has a most unusual arranged - the bed can be hinged vertically away from its substantial cast-iron foot. thus indicating it could well have been used. While this is not an uncommon thing to find, a lathe that can be repositioned vertically, this is so it can be adapted for use as a drill, However, the Prudor in question appears to have no facility for this to happen, so perhaps it was a simple (if eccentric) means on increasing storage space in the repair truck.
      Examples of other makers who offered triangular beds include GlashutteBoley, H Strube & Filse (also from Paris), Dalgety, an unknown make from France, yet another of East German origin and, of course, Henry Maudsley with his original screwcutting-by-changewheels lathe.
      Should any reader have further details of the Prudor or its badge-engineered cousins, or own a similar machine, the writer would be interested to hear from you..

      A particularly fine example of a Prudor with a hinged bed

      Another hinged-bed Prudor - but with some differences including the headstock-foot casting, headstock bearings and, possibly, a 3-step headstock pulley. Unfortunately the writing on the headstock cannot be read

      What must be a later example with a wide, 2-step headstock pulley for drive by a flat belt. Beneath the headstock spindle outboard of the left-hand bearing is what looks suspiciously like a "master star thread" - this being used in a number of different ways - including a sliding headstock spindle - for chase screwcutting 

      Swivelling top slide with degree graduations and  a small micrometer dial on the cross-feed screw.
      Note the slender nuts - if original suggesting manufacture after WW1 when, to save material, the former very large hexagons on and nuts and bolts (relative to their thread size) were considerably thinned down.

      This Prudor appears to have a home-made conversion to screwcutting by changewheels and, possibly, an unfinished modification at the tailstock end of the powershaft to provide, via a train of gears, a feed down the back of the lathe to drive a power-cross feed mechanism. A system once widely used on larger lathes though occasionally on smaller ones such as the Pools Major

      Another Prudor--a survival rate that shows a reasonable number of these lathes must have been made.

      E-MAIL   Tony@lathes.co.uk
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      R. Prudor Lathe - France