"An Old Medallion and Rose Engine Lathe"

George Gentry, in The Model Engineer, 1922

Science Museum (London), Inv. No. 1922-265

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George Gentry wrote a two-part article describing "An Old Medallion and Rose Engine Lathe" then on loan to the Science Museum (London) for The Model Engineer in 1922. This article is in the public domain in the United States, and so is reprinted here. (But notew that it is still in copyright in England, as it is still less than 70 years after the date of death of George Gentry (1870-1964.))

This lathe has had a difficult life. As Gentry relates its history, it ended up in derelict condition after passing through many hands. In 1922 it went to the Science Museum (London) with the proud claim that it was from the workshop of Louis XVI (but without any documentation for this claim). By 1975, in the Science Museum booklet Early Machine Tools (London: HMSO, 1975) it was simply identified as a French Medallion Lathe from about 1760. (The photograph used in this booklet may be seen in the Science Museum's "Science and Society Picture Library" image sales service at https://www.scienceandsociety.co.uk. Search for "Medallion Lathe"; it is image 10415845.) Today this lathe does not even appear in the Science Museum's online collections inventory.

The provenance of this lathe, along with three others which also have been associated with Louis XVI, is discussed briefly in Olga Baird's article "The Ornamental Lathe of Louis XVI from the Birmingham Collection of Science and Industry." The Society of Ornamental Turners Bulletin Vol. 23, Whole No. 113 (Sept. 2005): 102-107. (Note, though, that the "Science and Society" image number she cites for Science Museum 1922-265 is incorrect. She cites image 10437418, which is a Rose Engine Lathe circa 1768 by Hulot fils. The image of Inv. 1922-265 is No. 10415845.)

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G. G. "Complex Turning Lathes." (No. 1113)

G. G. [George Gentry]. "Complex Turning Lathes." The Model Engineer and Electrician. Vol. 47, Whole No. 1113 (Thursday, August 24, 1922): 170. This is a one-column "teaser" for the two-part article to come.

Scanned from my copy of the original.

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Gentry. "An Old Medallion and Rose Engine Lathe." (Part 1, No. 1129)

Gentry, Geo. "An Old Medallion and Rose Engine Lathe" [Part 1 of 2]. The Model Engineer and Electrician. Vol. 47, Whole No. 1129 (December 14, 1922): 567-570.

Bibliographical Note: This is Whole No. 1129, but the masthead erroneously says 1128. Fig. 2 (a view of the back of the lathe) appears on p. 567, while Fig. 1 (a view of the front of the lathe) appears one page later on p. 568. Scanned from my copy of the original.

Here are the images from the article, first as 2048 pixel wide JPEG images:

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Here as full-resolution 2400dpi PNG images (these are large files). Because everyone needs a high-resolution scan of a bad 1920s photograph of a turned copy of a medal of Queen Victoria.

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Gentry. "An Old Medallion and Rose Engine Lathe." (Part 2, No. 1131)

Gentry, Geo. "An Old Medallion and Rose Engine Lathe" [Part 2 of 2]. The Model Engineer and Electrician. Vol. 47, Whole No. 1131 (December 18, 1922): 629-633.

Scanned from my copy of the original.

The Plates for this part of Gentry's article are from the Encyclopédie. They don't represent this lathe specifically. As above, the images below link to 2048 pixel wide JPEG versions and the full-resolution 2400dpi scans are linked from a list after. The order of presentation here is the same as the article: Plates 1, 2, 4, 6, 3 5.

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Jackson. "Medallion Lathe Research." (No. 1138)

In Whole No. 1138 (which is probably Vol. 48, in 1923) a letter by A. C. Jackson entitled "Medallion Lathe Research" appeared. Jackson was the owner of the lathe discussed in Gentry's article.

I know of this letter only through indexes of The Model Engineer. I have not yet read it.