Holtzapffel No. 2410

Bill’s next ornamental lathe acquisition brought a more completely equipped example into the fold. The original owner of Holtzapffel No. 2410, Alfred Bevan Esq., took delivery of his new lathe on June 25, 1892.

It was his second lathe purchased new from Holtzapffel, and he traded in his first lathe on the second. It is obvious that Mr. Bevan knew exactly what he wanted in upgrades, as he ordered the lathe exceptionally well equipped and requested many of the parts typically made in brass to be made of more expensive gun metal. The cost of the initial order was 670 Pounds Sterling; however, before the year was up, he would order accessories costing over 100 Pounds more, making No. 2410 perhaps the 3rd most expensive lathe Holtzapffel ever made.

In 1907 the Holtzapffel company sold No. 2410 to William Henry Adolphus Gaddum Esq. Mr. Gaddum added to the lathe’s accessories, used it a great deal and happily left quite a record of his work. Indeed, one can spend hours looking through his pattern samples and marveling at the coded instructions he recorded for them (Unfortunately, he didn’t leave us a key to the code.). These pattern samples tell us much about both Mr. Gaddum’s abilities and his accessories. He made extensive use of both the epicycloidal cutting frame and the rectilinear chuck and employed many pumping cams as well. The patterns also tell us that he had one of Budd’s Rose Chucks and likely used another rose turning device as well. He was apparently preparing to print a book with the patterns. Happily, we have the patterns both in wood samples as well as many multiples in print. Upon his death Gaddum left the lathe to his grandson, John Walter Payne.

Holtzapffel No. 2410 with Holtzapffel chisels in triptych.

Mr. Payne kept the lathe until about 1960 when it was sold to Lewis Motley whose great-grandfather was the original owner of Holtzapffel rose engine #1107, purchased in 1817. Clearly the gene for good taste and mechanical prowess had survived the generations. Payne retained the lathe until his death in November, 1968.

Robert Thornton Benthall bought the lathe from the Payne estate in 1969, but, as he was elderly, only kept it until 1971 when it was purchased by Ronald Adames who reported that it was accompanied by a great many accessories as well as a number of mahogany tool cabinets and a large assortment of literature and records. The bulk these records and literature has stayed with the lathe and are the foundation of the Plumier Foundation Library and Archive.

Mr. Adames retained the lathe until his death in 1992 when it was purchased by John Edwards. By this time much of the equipment had been separated from the lathe and its whereabouts were unknown. Remarkably, and true to his nature, John Edwards was able to hunt down the majority of the original pieces and reunite them with the lathe. Equipment he didn’t find was largely replaced by similar pieces to fill out the kit as it was originally equipped, making it once again one of the most complete Holtzapffel lathes in the world. In time, John Edwards would sell this exquisite piece of equipment to Bill Ruprecht who set it in storage until the Plumier Foundation was incorporated.

As it sits today, No. 2410 is, without a doubt, one of the most complete Holtzapffel ornamental turning lathes in existence. It once again has not only the original main chucks, eccentric, rectilinear, spherical, elliptical, and eccentric, but also a long list of other accessories as well. It is equipped with spiral attachments for both the front and back of the headstock with a mount for the elliptical chuck so that it can be used in conjunction with the front spiral. The reciprocator will work on the front or back as well. It has also been supplied with a spiral spherical slide as it had originally. The rose attachment is missing parts, but we will put it right in the future. The geometric slide rest is also present. The compensating index for equal division of an ellipse attachment is there as is the oblique chuck. The counting index makes indexing the headstock quick, easy and, most importantly, flawless. The ornamental slide rest has not only the counting apparatus, which allows for precise movements of the slide rest by means of a ratchet (20 Pounds alone when new), but also an auto feed with stops. The slide rest is also fitted out with a gear train that joins up with the elliptical and epicycloidal cutting frames to time them with the headstock and slide rest movement. A right angle attachment holds cutting frames perpendicular to the toolbox. There is also a rose cutting frame. The power hone that attaches to the lathe is there to sharpen the many boxes of cutters, two boxes of which appear to have never been used. The original riser blocks are in the kit as are newer ones that were made so additional attachments could be used on larger diameter work pieces. A pumping attachment is partly intact, and, again, we will complete it in the future. The list of accessories goes on and on. Two other accessories merit mentioning, as well. There are not just one but two different slow motion drive systems for the lathe. One is rarer than the other, and both are exceedingly rare. One is activated by a worm drive on the headstock spindle and incorporates segment stops that automatically stop the motion. This attachment, remarkably enough, was worn to the degree that we had to replace the worm, but the original set of dials is still with the system. One can only imagine the countless hours of enjoyment Mr. Gaddum must have had using this attachment, as the wear was profound on a part that doesn’t wear very fast. It is also instructive to observe that the hardened steel worm (with a three-lead thread start, by the way) wore faster than the brass worm wheel.
The second owner of #2410 made over 100 patterns that he printed and left instructions in code; however, he didn’t leave a key for the code.

The second slow motion system is mounted on the back of mahogany stand. This drive system was originally intended to be powered via the overhead drive, but we installed a new/old stock shunt wound DC motor and jack shaft. This system is even more rare and seldom seen installed as it requires that the lathe be set out from the wall more than usual. It’s elegance in motion is exceeded only by its usefulness as it aids greatly in producing extraordinarily smooth finishes.

All ornamental turning lathes provide a palette and canvas for exploration and expression, but this lathe’s large complement of effective and useful accessories adds a good deal of efficiency to the process as well.