Capstan lathe, made by Smith & Coventry Ltd, Manchester, c.1890.
This is a specialist lathe sometimes known as a ‘brass finishing lathe’. It was used to cut threads into brass items that were already shaped, such as kitchen taps. Gears were used to adjust the size of thread being cut. Unusually, this lathe has a chain-drive running through the bed to move the saddle and tool post. Most lathes of this period used a lead screw, and the operator moved the saddle along the screw by turning a handle. This Smith and Coventry lathe features a multi-sided tool-holder known as a ‘capstan’ . It holds several cutting tools to enable the operator to change tool without stopping the machine. American engineer Steven Fitch invented the multiple tool holder in 1845, where it was known as a ‘turret’.
Cite this page
We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.
Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero
Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence
Download catalogue entry as json
View manifest in IIIF viewer
Download manifest IIIF
Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.