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August 1943 atlas advertisement

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jwmay

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#1
As long as I’ve been in this hobby, all through the forums, and everywhere, people say the Atlas lathe was made for “home hobbyists” and is not a production tool. So recently I was able to procure an old machine tool catalog. Check this out. Maybe this ad has been seen before, but I thought , just in case, some may like to see what I believe to be irrefutable evidence to the contrary. C3D7D59C-F01A-465C-88E0-4F2AE0C64182.jpeg
 

wa5cab

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#2
You most commonly hear that put-down today from one group of owners, who for some reason seem to have a particular dislike for Atlas equipment and owners. The fact is that most of the few hobbyists around in the 1930's and 1940's were pretty well heeled. Atlas's main market back then was apparently smaller machine shops, secondary equipment for larger shops, and the occasional farmer. If you read the comments from Atlas buyers that appear in the back of a few early Atlas catalogs, you won't find any hobbyists that I can recall.
 

Woodsman 22

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#3
You most commonly hear that put-down today from one group of owners, who for some reason seem to have a particular dislike for Atlas equipment and owners. The fact is that most of the few hobbyists around in the 1930's and 1940's were pretty well heeled. Atlas's main market back then was apparently smaller machine shops, secondary equipment for larger shops, and the occasional farmer. If you read the comments from Atlas buyers that appear in the back of a few early Atlas catalogs, you won't find any hobbyists that I can recall.
Yes, and they were a popular lathe with automobile repair shops back in the 40's as well.
 
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Buffalo20

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#4
somewhat surprised that they were making consumer lathes, during a war.
 

wa5cab

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#5
What I was trying to say was that they weren't. Or at least not deliberately. The Atlas equipment, like the Logan equipment, was relatively inexpensive. But that doesn't mean that the average citizen could have afforded one. Plus during the War, if you were rich and could have afforded it, you still had some hoops to jump through before you got whatever you wanted to buy.
 

jrkorman

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#7
somewhat surprised that they were making consumer lathes, during a war.
Many companies were performing "war work" and made nothing for consumer use. But they knew the war would be over and needed to keep their name in front of those consumers. Didn't hurt to let folks know you were behind the war effort either.
 
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Tim9

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#8
I am no expert here on War time production however I remember reading that when Britain was at war, much of their "Industry" was a cottage type of system where barns may have been converted to produce maybe just a specific part for a bomber or a fighter escort plane. Parts were produced all over Britain and then shipped to a factory for assemble. This was strategic so that they were less susceptible to bombing from the German Air Force. But it was also out of necessity. I can easily envision a few Atlas Capstan 10" lathes set up to make screws and bolts. http://www.lathes.co.uk/atlas/page6.html
 

BROCKWOOD

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#9
Brilliant ad campaign really. Grassroots efforts toward the common goal!!!
 

The Liberal Arts Garage

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#10
somewhat surprised that they were making consumer lathes, during a war.
Really ,there is a simple explanation- with war production making spare parts
hard to get , the war production board wisely allowed local garages& shops
to order on a need basis light machine tools to, repair auto electrics and modify
existing parts to keep them running ! ....BLJHB
 

wa5cab

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#11
While true, that has nothing to do with consumer anything. None of those small shops would have either then or now been remotely considered as being "consumers". I do not recall seeing in any Atlas catalog of the 1930's, 1940's or 1950's any indication that Atlas either did or intended to sell anything to the group of individuals generally falling into the classification of "consumer". Their generally intended customer base was farmers, ranchers, small construction companies (including marine and aviation) and small shops.
 

pontiac428

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#12
The story I got when I bought my 10F from an old aeronautical engineer was that he bought the lathe on liquidation from the Boeing shop floor in the early '80s, making me the third owner of the machine. I could only imagine it being used for small parts or quick jobs, and it doesn't show the wear one would expect from even the mildest production use, but the anecdote nonetheless points to commercial origins for my humble atlas.

The adverts in Pop Sci from the 1940's sure seem to include commercial applications for the light-duty machines. They can get a lot of jobs done in spite of their limitations.
 

cdhknives

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#13
My grandfather bought my lathe in the mid '50s from its original owner, a local pump shop. From the wear on the leadscrew I think they used it for grinding. As received, the bed was fine, the leadscrew threads were round and the gear train was badly worn. One more small shop as original owner in the late 1940's.
 

Round in circles

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#14
The Atlas branded " Sphere, Made in Britain " finally assembled with parts from the UK & the USA that I have is from 1943or 1942 .
It is slightly advanced to the one shown in your picture as it has Timken bearings , a better heavier powered cross slide , a different cast housing and cast feet . The tail stock casting is also different & a slightly heavier casting .
It makes extensive use of Bakelite to replace the metal pulley's , change wheel cover and the spindle shaft pulley cover . Most of the wheel handles and all knobs are also made from Bakelite.

I got mine it from a son ( 78 yrs old ) who's father ( A former WW2 munitions development officer RN ) used them at work, using the very same model as mine .
It was used for either development or full production in The Royal Naval Dockyards or maybe at the subterranean Ordnance Development & Mine Storage Depot Workshops at Pembroke to turn fine thread long precision screws ( for the propeller at the front of the torpedo ) in the torpedo development machinery workshop .

My lathe was still in it's original War Department grease , greased paper & its government stencilled wooden packing crate when the old boy purchased if at an emergency war stock sale in Feb 1946 for £5.00 . Our government was trying to get some quick money in the coffers, hence such sales .

Thanks for the Lathes UK link , I finally found the very same model as my lathe including a picture of the pair of brass screw cap grease nipples for lubricating the Timken bearings .
 
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wa5cab

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#16
Well, this morning I wrote a long blurb on the progression of the 10" headstocks and their comparison to those shown in most of the Sphere photos on Lathes UK at the URL that Mark lists above but it has disappeared. I may try to repeat it but I'll wait until the new server finishes getting installed.
 

westsailpat

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#17
Bummer , Robert .
 

wa5cab

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#18
Yeah.. c'est la vive. Part of what I wrote was that the Sphere headstock looks like it was copied from the original probably 1934 first version of the 10"(no motor switch mounting hole) , with the addition of the belt cover found on the 10F. By the time that the Spheres were made, the Atlas headstock had been through at least two changes (oval and rectangular switch plate) and was making two versions (babbit and Timken).

Note also that the Sphere has the removable bearing caps that would ID the lathe as having babbit bearings if it were an Atlas but the Sphere uses tapered roller bearings. There are also two grease-slinger disks visible in the photograph showing the removed and partially disassembled spindle. And as was previously remarked, the Brits elected for grease instead of oil.

The other thing that I pointed out was that the bed legs seem to match those used on the second and subsequent model groups of the (101.0736x, 101.0738x and 101.0740x) Craftsman 12", except for the word "Sphere" cast into the left one. Meaning that they are the later longer asymmetrical style and the right one has only one hold-down bolt instead of two.

I mentioned without comment the fact that the on-line article says that the cross slide was wider than on the US ones and that the parts that are Zamak on the Atlas are plastic on the Sphere. And concluded that at least some of the parts must have been made in England instead of in the US. Of course, we know that Atlas did sell them some complete lathes.
 

BROCKWOOD

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#19
Minor relavence.... Use a Word document to write & edit. Once satisfied, cut & paste. Cuts down on frustration. Nice write up. Thanks for retyping it!
 

wa5cab

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#20
You're welcome. If losing posts were a fairly common occurrence, I would probably have written it offline. But although I knew that we were about to change servers, I expected the site to shut down temporarily for it. Anyway, it's behind us now, and I've only seen two or three complaints about lost posts or threads. So apparently not a major problem.
 
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