Sebastian-May (or Sebastian Lathe Co.) Treadle Lathe
George Langford
January 21, 2005

Sebastian treadle lathe
   The lathe at left has no makers marks.  However, one like it is shown in Kenneth L. Cope's book, American Lathe Builders: 1810-1910, on page 157, under the heading of Sebastian-May Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, Fig. 3. The lathe came from a private party in Philadelphia around 1975 for $75; when I took the picture I had not yet re-installed the lead screw.  No change gears came with it, but so far I have made a new banjo and I've collected a few loose gears with what seem like a suitable pitch - i.e., considerably coarser than my 9 inch So. Bend's change gears.
   There is something amiss with the main pulley - the belt is only tight when it's on the middle step.  I suspect that someone at the factory got it mixed up with an earlier or later run of parts ... or the base was made by Sebastian-May and the lathe by the Sebastian Lathe Company.  The patinas are identical; not a recent marriage.
   A lathe like this one is shown in the Montgomery & Co.'s The Tool Catalog No. 21 (ca. 1900) below.  That image shows a Sebastian makers plate.  But Cope's book shows a lathe with the identical makers plate under the heading of Sebastian Lathe Co., also of Cincinnati.

 Montgomery & Co. Catalog - Sebastian-May latheNEW 9-INCH SCREW CUTTING LATHE.                      
The head stock has a 3-speed cone for a 1-inch belt, the largest cone being 5 inches in diameter; the back gear is thrown in and out by a cam.  The head is detachable so as to admit of re-adjustment should the spindle become untrue.  The spindle is made of 1 1/4-inch special steel, having a 1/2-inch hole its entire length; it runs in gun metal bearings, provision being made to take up all wear.
    The tail stock has an adjustable side movement for taper turning, the spindle is 15/16 inch in diameter and is self-discharging.  The centres are made to correspond with Morse Taper No.1.
    The front bearing is 1 3/16 inches in diameter and 1 3/4 inches long.  The bed has 4 V's, is 6 1/2 inches wide, and is thoroughly braced.
   The carriage and rest are of the most approved design; the carriage is gibbed to the bed, both front and back, rendering it very rigid, it is detachable for hand work, and can be thrown into feed instantly for turning or screw-cutting.  The lathe swings 6 3/8 inches over rest.
   The rack and gears are cut from the solid metal, and are as true and noiseless as it is possible for metal gear[s] to be.
    With each lathe is furnished a 6-inch face plate, 2 pointed centres, wrenches, gears to cut all standard threads from 8 to 40, and either a foot motion or countershaft, but when both are wanted the price will be $9.00 extra.

Swings over
Length of
9 inches
9 inches
25 inches
36 inches
40 inches
62 inches
275 lbs.
300 lbs.
   We can furnish a pair of blocks to raise the head and tail stocks so as to swing 11 inches, for $6.00 extra.  We will put the lathes on short legs to be used as a bench lathe, with countershaft, at prices given above; or without either foot motion or countershaft, at $5.00 less than above prices.   We will put a reverse motion in head stock of this lathe for $10 extra.   The pulleys on countershaft are 5 x 2 1/2 inches, speed should be 220 revolutions, price of countershaft will be $9.00
   Set of ten metal-turning tools, 5/16 x 1/2, ground and tem[ered, ready to use,, $4.00; set of wood-turning tools, handled, $3.75; steady rest, $1.75; follower rest; $1.75; extra gears, $1.00 each. Chucks will be fitted free when ordered with the lathe.