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Machinery Photo Index
Manufactured/Badged by:
Oliver Machinery Co.
Grand Rapids, MI

Machine Specifications
Machine Class: Wood Working Machinery
Machine Type: Lathe, Wood
Machine Size: 12" x 36" w/EVS
Submitted By: Jeff McVey
Machine Specifications
Description/Model: No 51K - a unique version?
Date of Manufacturer: 1940 - S/N 49525
Serial Number: (View SN Registry Entry)
Last Updated 1/5/2005 12:00:00 AM

I bought this lathe on eBay a few weeks ago. I just returned home from the 1500-mile trip to get it yesterday evening. This is another version of Oliver's small lathe with the electrically variable speed, single-phase Kimble patent motor, but it's unlike any of the other ones I've seen before.

I already had one of the very early (circa 1917-20) Kimble-powered Oliver lathes, and pictures of it are already in the Oliver photo index. That one has the speed controller/governor running on a separate shaft, which is mounted behind the motor itself.

Around 1920, Oliver introduced the newer version of the Kimble lathe motor. This newer type had the controller/governor (still on a separate shaft) mounted atop the motor. As far as I knew, this was the final version, and remained in production until they were discontinued (in the 1950's?). This version of the Kimble motor is shown in the brochures - dated 1941 and 1943 - on the 51K that are shown on the mothership.

This particular lathe bears serial number 49525, indicating that it was made in 1940. Although I have yet to take it apart, since there's no obviously separate controller/governor, I must assume that it's inside the motor itself - mounted right on the armature shaft.

Another strange thing about this motor is that it's a 208-volt single-phase motor. I thought you only got 208-volts in certain 3-phase arrangements. Fortunately, it runs fine on 220/230/240 household current.

The machine appears to be in good shape. It has light surface rust on the bare metal surfaces, but I'm pretty sure it'll clean up just fine. It had the original knock-out bar and the little hanger for storing it. It also has the original cast iron "back board" mounting brackets. It came with a couple of tool rests, a faceplate, the handwheel, a couple of screw chucks (less the screws), some drive centers, and a live center.

So, has anybody out there seen or heard of a 51K like this one? How about a 208-volt, single-phase motor? It's a mystery to me now, but hopefully I'll stumble across some info in the future.

Photo 1:

Comments: front view
Source: eBay photo (modified)
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IMG Code

Photo 2:

Comments: motor controls
Source: eBay photo (modified)
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Photo 3:

Comments: motor data plate
Source: eBay photo (modified)
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