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Hi Far from new/poorly bench top lathe

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chris bale 118/10/2021 10:26:38
10 forum posts
9 photos

Picked this lathe up from an old boy who sadly passed away mid retoration, before i picked it up.

Is anyone able to identify it? It has 10Tpi screws, headstock thread look to be 8Tpi only have 1/2inch to measure off! Some parts are custom non standard. The bolts seem to be UNC might not be standard though.

Motor and belt pulleys are there but no frame work to mount these, there is nothing left of what mounts any of the change gears.

Any help would be great, thanks in advance.

Pics in Album

Rod Renshaw18/10/2021 12:53:52
376 forum posts
2 photos

Welcome to the forum. Seems to be a Drummond "B" type lathe. See " " website.


Rod Renshaw18/10/2021 16:14:08
376 forum posts
2 photos


I had expected others to contribute to your question and to comment on the type of lathe you have. Drummond made lathes from about 1905 and many of their smaller types were used by model engineers. Solid reliable machines well worth restoring for their historical value as well as for use. Many were sold to the military for use on ships, submarines and army mobile field workshops. Some on this forum have and use the later Type M and I suspect there will be some who have or have used a type B and will be able to answer any specific questions you may have about this type.


Edited By Rod Renshaw on 18/10/2021 16:14:37

Nigel Graham 218/10/2021 18:37:10
2135 forum posts
29 photos

It does look like a Drummond but 'B' type? I think the leadscrew runs through the centre of the bed, not along the front, on the 'B'.

It certainly did on one I had, though it appeared to be a sort of transition model as if Drummond was using up a stock of earlier parts first. Also yours has a much chunkier bed - my specimen was of the earlier pattern with its curvaceous cantilever bed. An early 'M'?

The loop over the headstock is a late 'B' pattern but the bed much more the 'M'. The apron does not seem to match Tony Griffith's photos, but might be a previous owner's modification.

My thought is that this too is a transition or mid-development lathe, from late-B to early-M when it would appear the Drummond Bros were busy developing the machine overall. Have you established its age, assuming the serial number is still on the machine?

Something the Drummond lathes sported was a self-acting feed-trip, and I am suprised Myfords did not fit this to their lathes.

I still have and occasionally use my other Drummond machine, a manual shaper.

Would be good to see the old gal back in service, anyway!

DiogenesII18/10/2021 19:22:17
561 forum posts
221 photos

FWIW, there's another incomplete one just turned up on Tony's site now; - For Sale - Vintage Drummond B-Type...

..hard to see what's there, and what isn't - the photos might be useful for comparison at the very least..

With this age of lathe, owners will have made their own countershaft / motor brackets, or bought a kit, so there probably won't be a 'correct' item, 'period' Drummond and Myford used countershaft assemblies turn up fairly regularly s/hand - there are pictures of some typical set-ups here; - Myford M Type Counterhafts

..a changewheel banjo (bracket) could always be fabricated from mild steel, more easily so if you can find a pattern....

Ady118/10/2021 22:09:48
5091 forum posts
736 photos

The head looks like a B type and the base an M type

edit no

The leadscrew bits look like M type parts but there's no rack on the base below the leadscrew

....the body of the lathe may be another make... but I think its an M type

Edited By Ady1 on 18/10/2021 22:17:10

Bazyle18/10/2021 22:54:02
6324 forum posts
222 photos

It is a B-type with a self modified apron, not an uncommon change to provide a halfnut to disconnect the leadscrew as the original B-type was permanently engaged.

It should be an 8 tpi leadscrew, only the roundbed had a 10tpi leadscrew (aka model A but not to be confused with the pre-B which was never called A as they didn't realise they were going to make a B)
Since there has been a change to the apron the spindle and other parts may have been modified. These lathes date from a period when many owners were machinists so confident to make new parts as they wore out or needed upgrades. However you will find the details of the standard nose thread on the above linked sites.

Join Drummond group. That site has all that is ALL the existing information on Drummond lathes.

Ady119/10/2021 07:32:12
5091 forum posts
736 photos

That's pretty sneaky

So they took the B type bed castings lying in the yard, redesigned the headstock and saddle gubbins, then drilled some screw holes for the rack and called it the M type

The only caveat being the saddle worked backwards

At least we now know why it happened that way, only took 100 years to figure it out

and the earliest M types have no rack at all and were a bit of a headstock disaster


Edited By Ady1 on 19/10/2021 07:48:07

Nicholas Farr19/10/2021 08:11:05
3360 forum posts
1542 photos

Hi Ady1, I wouldn't really call it sneaky, it's just evolution, maybe the "M" stands for modified, or more likely "modern" if you read the Foreword from their user manual.

Regards Nick.

Nicholas Farr19/10/2021 08:49:41
3360 forum posts
1542 photos

Hi Nigel Graham 2, the B type has always had the leadscrew at the front as far as I'm aware, but the early flat bed 3 - 1/2" Flat bed and the Drummond 4" "A" type round bed, both have their leadscrew through the middle of the bed.

Regards Nick.

Edited By Nicholas Farr on 19/10/2021 08:54:39

Rod Renshaw19/10/2021 11:37:26
376 forum posts
2 photos

Someone told me once the "M" stood for "Military" and was because of the type M lathes having power cross feed and a self- act trip - which made them especially suitable for use on destroyers etc. while they were bouncing around on the ocean blue. any truth in this story do you think?


roy entwistle19/10/2021 11:45:53
1525 forum posts

Rod              Did any Drummond have power cross feed ?


Edited By roy entwistle on 19/10/2021 11:46:26

Rod Renshaw19/10/2021 11:58:11
376 forum posts
2 photos


I don't know, just what I was told. Perhaps the man who told me the original story got self- act feed and cross feed mixed up.


Bazyle19/10/2021 13:16:41
6324 forum posts
222 photos

No. Not Miiitary. The B-type was available in a form for naval use, only to the Admiralty initially, with a second front shaft that provided power cross feed. And is called the Admiralty pattern. This was necessary to cope with a rolling ship but later some escaped to the army and civilians Only used on very small ships they later got reassigned to submarines in use up until the 'sixties judging from the demob dates of a couple. Some may have been 'in service' for 50+ years.
Later when the M-type was designed the Admiralty modifications were provided on that lathe so you see both types. The Admiralty version also has another name that I can't remember but interested parties will be reading the Lathes site which mentions it.

The B-type headstock was revised more than once and also gets modified by engineers doing a mix and match. I have a B-type with a pre-B headstock perhaps as they used up some residual parts.

Edited By Bazyle on 19/10/2021 13:21:02

chris bale 119/10/2021 21:34:22
10 forum posts
9 photos

I figuerd the top bar was a hand rest while you peered closely at what you machined with your right hand while holding yourself steady with the left as you bobbed up n down. Just my theory after hearing it went on a boat and had a treddle

An 8 Tpi screw would give .125 per rotation, where as 10Tpi is 100 thou per rotation with 100 divides, would 8tpi not be a metric thread coming in at a 3mm pitch?

Could the M not mean metric version? This would be about the time the french were pushing for us in the uk to go metric but due to war efforts going metric didn't make sense, any thing that was canibalised or stolen had to be remachined to be used as the tollarences were off, nothing would fit from uk stuff to german stuff, being allied with the usa ment things coming in were still imperial and to our tolarences allready.

I added another photo of the end of the bed and the half nut config! seems tight so he did a good job as there is no backlash in it.

Thanks to all who answerd

Nigel Graham 219/10/2021 23:01:19
2135 forum posts
29 photos

Nick -

I've looked back through Tony Griffiths' archive, and I see what you mean.

I no longer have the lathe but have identified it as matching the 1908 catalogue photo, with internal drive-shaft and leadscrew, compound slide and that elegantly arched head end of the bed. However, further down the page we find a heading, "Drummond B-Type circa 1906" - but also with the internal shafts.


Chris -

Whatever "M" stood for or meant, it was neither "Military" nor "Metric".

Not metric because 0.125" does not = 3mm. As few as 10 revolutions of an 8TPI screw gives a travel of 31.75mm, not 30, with correspondingly significant errors possible in any screws intended as metric but cut with the standard inch-thread change-wheels.

Metric screw-cutting from an 8TPI leadscrew on a lathe too small to cary a 127T conversion change-wheel normally demands a 63 or 32T change-wheel in the combination, even then producing approximations close only over fairly short distances. The Myford ML7 gives several metric pitches with its normal inch-pitch wheels, but the necessary compound train might not be possible on the Drummond.

Why the letter? Seems a puzzle as the 'M' was developed in the early 1920s, and not originally for the Services particularly.

Drummonds later made a version for the Admiralty, with powered cross as well as long feed, but called it the "BS". The loop over the headstock was really for rigidity but may well have found a second career as a rather hazardous hand-hold for a "tiffy" using the lathe aboard a destroyer bouncing around the Atlantic in a SSW Force 7!

Howard Lewis20/10/2021 11:07:06
6113 forum posts
14 photos

There is a Drummond, which appears to be a B type, treadle operated, in a corner of the Rotherwas House at The WaterWorks Museum in Hereford.

Hopefully, before too long, it will be located where it can be occasionally demonstrated..


Nicholas Farr20/10/2021 11:57:18
3360 forum posts
1542 photos

Hi Nigel Graham 2, might this be the one you are thinking of Rare 4" Flat Bed Lathe. Haven't actually seen one of these myself though.

Regards Nick.

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