Winsted Tools


Masters' Library

  The Lathe & Its Uses by James Lukin, 1868    


Although the title of this work is sufficient to declare its contents, a few prefatory remarks may not be superfluous as to its design and the manner in which that design has been carried out.

It has ever been to the writer a matter of surprise and regret that although the art of turning has been so long and so successfully pursued in this country, both by artisans and amateurs, no work has appeared in the English language treating upon the subject, except one or two sketches and imperfect treatises.

Some years since Mr. Holtzapffel advertised a forthcoming series of seven volumes, intended to supply this manifest deficiency in our scientific and mechanical literature, and the subject would have been handled by him in a thoroughly exhaustive and masterly manner.

The untimely death of that gentleman occurred after the publication of the first three volumes, which are indeed complete in themselves, and of immeasurable value to the mechanic and amateur.

Unfortunately only introductory, “simple turning by hand tools” being the special subject of the proposed fourth volume.


The present proprietors of the firm of Holtzapffel & Co. having, in their catalogue even up to the time of the most recent edition, continued to advertise the seven volumes, amateurs especially have anxiously hoped for the publication of some part at least of the remainder of the series.

That expectation is, it is to be feared, little likely to be rewarded; and, not until that fact had been ascertained with something bordering upon certainty, did the author of the present work venture to take up the pen and endeavor to set forth the principles and practice of an art which, like so many others, he has found so absorbing and attractive, and withal so delightful a source of recreation to mind and body.

Several things, however, contributed to make the writer hesitate to undertake such a work. In the first place he was aware that a number of possible readers would probably be more competent than, himself for such a task, especially those whose means might have enabled them to procure a large amount of the most modern and approved apparatus connected with the Lathe, and whose occupations might allow of more leisure for their extensive use than falls to the lot of the writer.

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