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What machine tools are these?

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Lindsay Sillars27/01/2021 22:16:46
11 forum posts
30 photos

img_3350.jpgimg_3349.jpgf064a7d8-d7c2-45f5-9cef-8069f6902701.jpg8616e172-c45a-48db-9497-0769023a026e.jpgAny information that anyone has on what these machine tools are.. make/models would be very much appreciated.

Thank you


Oily Rag27/01/2021 22:30:10
464 forum posts
147 photos

Third picture down is a BSA Tools Coventry die head grinder, for sharpening the 4 dies. The box next to it is the adaptor for the different die lead angles.

The top two photos are of a compound angle rotary table, probably with a 60 hole indexing pin in the back. Possibly manufactured by Elliot.

The bottom two photos show a compound grinding table but missing the top table section. Looks to be either Cincinnati, Taylor Hobson or more likely Jones & Shipman. The angle retainer bolt holes make it definitely likely to be a grinder attachment.

Lots of dust in that workshop - but at least the rust bug has been kept at bay.

Nice hammer head in the second photo background!


Edited By Oily Rag on 27/01/2021 22:32:28

Lindsay Sillars27/01/2021 22:39:31
11 forum posts
30 photos

Hi Martin,

Thanks so much for all of your information that will help us greatly on our endless google search that we have been on!

Thankfully those pieces have been brought out of storage and have only been in the dusty shed for a short period of time.

I didn't even notice that! the place is full of random metal objects collected over a long period of time!

Again many thanks!


Oily Rag27/01/2021 22:48:15
464 forum posts
147 photos

Pleasure Lindsay,

I'm sure someone will give you better details on the last item (the grinder attachment).

I couldn't help but notice the second photo down shows a Coventry 3 jaw scroll chuck with serrated top jaws (Middle on right hand side). Does this have "Alfred Herbert Ltd., Coventry, Maker" stamped on it? Looks to be in fine condition and a real find if it is a genuine Herbert make.


Lindsay Sillars27/01/2021 22:55:47
11 forum posts
30 photos

It is in my dads tool storage I will give him a message and get him to check for me tomorrow.

Amazing what you can find when a storage container is emptied after many years of being locked up!

Bazyle27/01/2021 23:08:18
6012 forum posts
220 photos

Is the orange paint original? Only ever seen plant machinery that hideous. It might be an engraver's rotary indexer if not a grinder part as too light for machining.
The hammer head is a plannishing hammer.

Nigel Graham 227/01/2021 23:14:33
1686 forum posts
20 photos

My word - Aladdin's Cave!

First off - the orange assembly - I suggest is a 2-axis direct-indexing table for use on a drilling-machine. I am not sure it would be sturdy enough for heavy milling. The handle simply lock the table but the associated metalwork looks complicated enough for it to have operated an indexing-feed.

The four larger holes in the face-plate appear owner-drilled for a specific work-piece or jig, suggesting a career in a batch-production or single-product machine-shop. The smaller holes seem more random but don't look like carelessness so might have had a similar purpose.

The little oops! on that innermost ring, and the broken T-slot edge, make me think them isolated accidents in a machine-shop that generally used its equipment properly and carefully. (A lot more carefully than I have seen...) That colour is unusual for machine-shop equipment, so possibly owner-applied, maybe as a form of asset code.

Not part of a wood-working machine, perhaps?


I'd guess the BSA-made item is part of a tool-&-cutter grinder - I assume the box next to it holds something related and is not just co-incidence. BSA was a major British manufacturer of motorcycles and tools, but started in armaments - British Small Arms - hence the rifles trade-mark on the box.


I'd say the assembly in the last two photos is from some sort of jig-borer.

The entire upper works seems adjustable through a small angle for level. Is it an optical illusion or are the mounting-lugs actually at an angle from the vertical?

The rotary function has what look like angle-stops. The left-right slide has a relatively massive, but micrometer-adjustment, travel-stop. I am puzzled why its slide-ways are offset from the rest of the device.

The top-slide's hefty dove-tails suggests it took the brunt of the moving for whatever the thing did, but I can't think what the projecting stud was for. It seems an odd place for it.

Whatever it is, exudes very high precision work!

Mark Easingwood27/01/2021 23:41:49
33 forum posts
6 photos



The item I have circled looks like a "cap iron" from a plane, (woodwork), probably a very well made plane, as used in cabinet/furniture making. If you find the plane, and it's by a good maker, it may be worth a few bob.

Pete.28/01/2021 01:37:11
626 forum posts
102 photos

The orange thing looks very similar to a Taylor Hobson indexing table I have from an engraving machine, if you have a look on it there's probably a tag with info if you scrape some of that orange paint off.

larry phelan 128/01/2021 09:49:24
1079 forum posts
14 photos

Never know what you might find when you start digging !

Tim Stevens28/01/2021 10:08:54
1448 forum posts

Just for the record - BSA was the BIRMINGHAM Small Arms company. I know - I worked there in the mid 1960s.

Cheers, Tim

Edited By Tim Stevens on 28/01/2021 10:09:14

Eric Cox28/01/2021 10:25:44
536 forum posts
36 photos

The hammer in the background is a planishing hammer. I can remember using one in the school metal work class to decorate a copper serviette ring.

Bo'sun28/01/2021 10:48:55
496 forum posts

Another vote for planishing hammer. 8 kids (or thereabouts) and planishing hammers at school made for one hell of a racket. No ear defenders in those days. "What was that you said".

Andrew Johnston28/01/2021 10:58:15
6237 forum posts
676 photos

I'd be interested to see more pictures of the BSA item. It doesn't look like any Coventry die grinder I've seen, but I didn't realise that anyone other than Herbert made grinding fixtures for Coventry dies.


Rex Hanman28/01/2021 11:29:19
85 forum posts
Posted by Bo'sun on 28/01/2021 10:48:55:

Another vote for planishing hammer. 8 kids (or thereabouts) and planishing hammers at school made for one hell of a racket. No ear defenders in those days. "What was that you said".

Only8?? I had 20! Pardon?

Anthony Kendall28/01/2021 11:29:49
110 forum posts
Posted by Tim Stevens on 28/01/2021 10:08:54:

Just for the record - BSA was the BIRMINGHAM Small Arms company. I know - I worked there in the mid 1960s.

Cheers, Tim

You probably helped make my bike.

Nigel Graham 228/01/2021 12:26:44
1686 forum posts
20 photos

Pete - That's a thought. At first I could not determine its size but now see that the box below it is labelled for a 5-inch 3-jaw chuck. So it's not very big. Also the little "oops" circle was made by a milling-cutter or broad engraving-cutter (D-bit form), not a drill point.

If by Taylor-Hobson the initials at least might be embossed on the casting, though not visible in those photos.

If so, it could be RTH (Rank-Taylor-Hobson) or perhaps more likely as the accessory looks an old pattern, TTH (Taylor, Taylor Hobson.)

I have operated an R-T-H engraving machine but the indexing-head for that was more like the ones advertised by ARC, etc., and I think with a single axis. It might not have been an RTH product. I now own a T-T.H. model, needing some work for re-use.


Thank you Tim for the correction. My apologies to Birmingham - and yes I do know that despite widespread belief, Birmingham is one of a cluster of towns!


Andrew - I didn't think the BSA fitting is for grinding die-chasers either, but could be for holding milling-cutters or boring-bar bits for sharpening their ends. My reason is that I have a die-grinding holder, made by Alfred Herbert, and it is holds the 4 chasers in the correct order in a row for use on a surface-grinder. However, I do concede other ways to the same end, e.g. on a conventional tool-&-cutter grinder, may have been made!


There is another mystery object in the second photo - the bronze-looking thing standing on an angle-box to the left of the indexing attachment.

Pete Rimmer28/01/2021 12:42:20
1053 forum posts
69 photos

The orange device looks like a compound rapid indexer. Pull the lever and you can turn the table one notch to index again. There may be several slotted or drilled plates nearby where it was stored, to swap out for different indexing options.

noel shelley28/01/2021 13:18:24
723 forum posts
19 photos

The BSA item does not look like a coventry die head chaser grinding fixture, either early or late type. Albert herbert were the main maker but clarkson also made them - I have one. Noel.

Vic28/01/2021 15:14:14
2896 forum posts
8 photos

It’s all rubbish. Just send it all to me and I’ll arrange humane disposal. face 23

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