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Atlas/Craftsman Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

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wa5cab

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#1
I hadn't previously noticed it probably because looking back I see that almost all age related questions the past year have been for 12". In the combined machine database (408 entries to date) there are only 74 10" entries, a third of which show no serial numbers. And there is a large jump or blank range in the 10" serial numbers. They meander up to a little over 8000 and then skip to over 17000. Plus we only have three supposed bearing dates, one of which does not track with the other two. Meaning that it is about 13000 smaller than one with almost the same date.

Anyway, anyone with a 10" who doesn't remember for sure entering your machine into the old Yahoo database or giving it to me recently, please send me the model number (which includes bed length), serial number (including any prefix or suffix letters), type (10F, 10D, etc.), and if it has Timken bearings, the bearing dates if you know them. If no bearing dates, then anything that would give the original purchase date (no guesses, please).

Thanks, Robert D.
 

Bellers

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#2
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

I'm afraid I don't know of the yahoo database but I have a 10F here in England. I'm afraid I have no ideas on original purchase date but the serial number is only 56 after the shipping note shown on lathes.co.uk (024444 shipped 4/23/41)
2014-08-21181333_zpsf963dab6.jpg
 

wa5cab

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#3
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

Bellers,

Thanks. I'm about to conclude that the one that is so far out of sequence has a misplaced 0 or a missing 1.

Robert D.
 

rfdes

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#4
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

I recently restored my 10F and replaced the timken bearings. My bearings were etched with
'5-4-42' for the date. The TH36 tag indicated a serial # of 032618.

You will notice the brass tag with some Navy serial number. I figured I would spruce that up as well.
I always wished that I could find some further information regarding the meaning of this number. If
anyone can shed some light on its significance, it would be appreciated.

Jim
WB5KYE


DSC00239.JPG

DSC00239.JPG
 

wa5cab

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#5
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

Jim,

Thanks. That falls in line with some other dates that I have and is further evidence that in one, either the serial number or the date is incorrect.

The brass plate looks like a Navy Plant Account tag. Up through at least the 1960's, shore stations at least had what they called a "Plant Account". It was an inventory of all equipment, including furniture that had been assigned to the station. Each item was assigned a number, whether it also had a serial number or not. But I don't recall suffix letters so can't say what "KM" means. The only thing that comes to mind is Kings Mountain, but I don't know of any Navy connection. So it must mean something else.

Robert D.
 

shaddr3

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#6
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

My atlas 10"x36 is a Th54 serial 065874 with pickomatic gear box. I can't find the bearing numbers. I believe it is a 1945, I have the original catalogs, original bulletins and other ancient documents dating back that far. Hope this helps.
Royce
 

wa5cab

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#7
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

Thanks, Royce. That falls in line with the nearest known date and serial number I have. If any of the ancient documents happen to be the invoice, shipping notice, or similar, that would be helpful.

No bearing dates probably means that a PO replaced them.

Robert D.
 

cdhknives

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#8
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

I have a range of catalogs with my lathe but the oldest is 1941 so I've concluded it's age is thereabout. No idea on bearing date, no call to disassemble the headstock to date (thankfully!). Roller bearings, 10F w/horizontal countershaft.

QC-54
003825
 

wa5cab

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#9
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

AFAIK, 003825 could be consistent with 1940 or 1941. But we have no production figures and one thing that has not been established yet is whether or not Atlas started over at 00001 with the 10F. As we have very few bearing dates off of Timken 10F's and none off of 10D's, dating the 10" is difficult. The one thing that is established is that the QC42/54 did definitely start over at 00001 as we have several reported 3-digit serial numbers in the database. I had about decided that they did start over when two or three definitely 10F's turned up with serial numbers with "D" prefixes. The only explanation I could come up with for that was that the beds were finished, including serial numbers, during the transition from 10D to 10F. And that some beds that had started through the manufacturing process intended for 10D's ended up on 10F's instead.

Correction 2015/04/07- first QC was built 1947. 003825 current best guess would be 1949. Don't know where my brain was when I wrote the above.

Robert D.
 
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Jim Hubbell

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#10
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

My Atlas is a ten inch Model TH54, serial 072641. The date etched on the spindle bearing is: 9-10-46.
The half nut threads were worn very thin by the time I purchased it. I have since made up two sets so as to have a spare.

I also made a spindle compound gear and idler. I made a 127 tooth change gear so as to cut metric threads.
Despite the prejudice towards Atlas I believe it to be a great tool when used within its capabilities.
 

wa5cab

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#11
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

cdhknives,

I haven't been getting enough sleep lately, which is my excuse for totally missing the fact that you reported that your machine is a QC54. The Atlas QCGB didn't come out until late 1947 (first catalog it shows up in is L47). So your machine has to be later. How much later we don't have enough data to say. We only have serial numbers for eleven QC models total. Of the eleven, only one was reported with believable age documentation (original invoice or shipping document - record isn't clear on which). It is S/N 000647 shipped January, 1948. In the eleven reports, the highest reported serial number is 004882. The QC models were sold from late 1947 through late 1957. Considering that the highest reported serial number change gear 10F is 088631, from a start date of about 1935, I find it hard to believe that less than 5000 QC models were built.

Dates on catalogs found with these old machines are not useful in dating them. A good example of why not is me. For neary 30 years, if someone had acquired my 3996 and related Atlas stuff from my widow, they would have found a 1980 lathe, a 1978 catalog and a 1978 MOLO. However, after about 2010, they would have begun to find conflicting indicators. I got interested in the thing again from a collector standpoint and began to track down and buy all of the accessories that I hadn't bought in 1981. And older and newer catalogs. Today, they would find catalogs from 1931 through 1981 and MOLO's from 1937 through 1988. And accessories that hadn't been sold since the 1950's.

Anyway, your machine was built 1948 or later unless the PO bought and retrofitted the QCGB after 1947 and changed the nameplate. And serial number 003825 on a change gear machine is almost certain to have been on a 10D. That's another area where the database has so few entries as to be statistically inconclusive and possibly incorrect as well. That's one of the reasons that I started this sticky thread - in hopes of collecting enough data to be able to weed out the bogus entries. Sadly, there has been very little response.


I have a range of catalogs with my lathe but the oldest is 1941 so I've concluded it's age is thereabout. No idea on bearing date, no call to disassemble the headstock to date (thankfully!). Roller bearings, 10F w/horizontal countershaft.

QC-54
003825
 

cdhknives

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#12
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

cdhknives,


Anyway, your machine was built 1948 or later unless the PO bought and retrofitted the QCGB after 1947 and changed the nameplate. And serial number 003825 on a change gear machine is almost certain to have been on a 10D. That's another area where the database has so few entries as to be statistically inconclusive and possibly incorrect as well. That's one of the reasons that I started this sticky thread - in hopes of collecting enough data to be able to weed out the bogus entries. Sadly, there has been very little response.
I also have the power cross slide of a 10F, but no way of determing (other than probably not with the history I know of) if it was retrofitted. What else is a dead giveaway between a 10D and 10F?

The lathe came into my family in the 1960's when my grandfather bought it and my uncle (then a HS student) helped him rebuild it. The lead screw was badly worn near the headstock, so it was removed and remachined to reverse it end to end...so my leadscrew works in opposite directions and I assume a custom half nut was made. It works fine otherwise, so long as I work close to the headstock. Other than that, I understand nothing but much cleanup was done to it, but my uncle is still around and in good shape so I'll ask...

The history of these is a big part of the fun and value!
 

wa5cab

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#13
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

The QC54 is a 10F with QCGB. There were four 10" groups, more or less. 10, 10A, 10B & 10C are the first group. 10D and 10E are the second. 10F is the third. And the QC was the fourth. The 10D differs from the 10F in having nearly square (and symmetrical left to right) feet. Whereas the 10F feet are longer left to right and "lean" toward the center. The 10D has a 5/8" dia. lead screw and a vertical countershaft (early 10F's could be bought with the vertical countershaft, too). The 10D and earlier had a one-piece carriage. But it had the later compound slide, cranks and handwheels. It also had the later change gear guard (cover). It had two individual gear guards on top of the headstock and did not have a belt guard. It was available with optional Timken spindle bearings but the majority had babbit. Early 10F were available with babbit bearings (through about 1945) but most have Timken. 10D up through S/N 3969 had two studs for the compound swivel. S/n 3970 and later had the same inverted cone pintle used through end of production in 1981. The only other thing I can think of is that the 10D change gear set included a 96T gear. But that distinction went away with the Pic-O-Matic and the QCGB.

There are, incidentally, two versions of the QCGB. The early one (No. 1500 for 3/4" and 1570 for 5/8" lead screw) had a FWD/REV tumbler similar to the one on all 12" and 6". With a spring-loaded pin holding it in any of the three positions. The later one from around 1952 and later (6800 for either 3/4" or 5/8") had a clamp bolt that had to be loosened in order to change directions.

The database is sadly lacking in 4-digit serial numbers for 10D and 10F (exactly one of each, and as reported the 10D number is higher than the 10F) so we do not any idea what the last 10D serial number was. The current record jumps from those two 4-digit numbers (6301 & 8635) to 17609 (which is either an H48 or an H54 - the serial number was entered twice, with conflicting model numbers - once apparently by Tim Symes in Alberta, Canada and the other time with no name or location given).

Robert D.
 
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LeakyCanoe

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#14
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

interesting thread Robert. Sorry I lack any provenance of note nor have I had to tear-down the machine to access the bearings.

Accordingly, I have only the photo of the ID tag with model ( TH48 ) and the nice round serial # ( 46,000 ) for you. I hope there was a tip of the hat at the machine as it was sent on down the line back in the day...

Atlas TH48 tag.jpg
 

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#15
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

how do you get the bearing covers off to look for the dates ?
 

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#16
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

Here are the serial numbers for the three lathes I have. TH-48 041302 it has a QCGB. TH-48 058280 TV-42 030376
 

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#17
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

10-F QC54 # 088015

Bearing dates: 1-21-51 & 4-9-51

Just to confuse things, in the box of parts was an extra set of bearings # 8-20-43 & 10-11-43

HWF

ps fyi I took the headstock apart because of the gear which drives the back gear had most of it's teeth missing along with the small back gear. They both crumbled in my hand like they were made of plaster when I pulled them off.
 

wa5cab

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#18
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

My replies (and anyone elses 10/04/14 - 10/06/14) were lost in a system crash. So I'm going to repeat them as best I recall, and all in one reply.

Mike R,

The only practical way to remove the dust covers without damage is to pull the spindle. But even if you could get them off, you wouldn't be able to see the dates as they are on the wide side of the cups.

Harold,

The 1943 dated bearings did not come from your QC54 because the two QC models didn't first appear until late 1947.
 
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#19
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

Hello All,
I recently acquired an old Atlas 10" Model F lathe (verified from available pictures/literature). It has Babbit headstock bearings and the bed length is 36". It has a big 3/4" lead screw. There is a serial number stamped in the front rail at the extreme right, H 15883 S. No other designations exist. I estimate the age of the machine from the early 1940s. Does anyone have a better guess?
Lou O.
 

wa5cab

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#20
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

Lou,

You didn't mention whether or not your lathe still has its countershaft but the little available information suggests that the "H" prefix found in some early serial numbers means Horizontal. So the model number would be H36. No one has come up with any logical explanation for the "S" suffix.

We have no confirmed (by Timken bearing date or early paperwork) serial numbers earlier than three from 1942. It is thought that with the exception of the QC42 and QC54, all Atlas 10" models have serial numbers out of the same sequence. Meaning that the first 10" made was serial number 1 (later to be called 000001) and that the numbers ran up from there through 1957. Making the crude assumption that the production rate was relatively constant and estimating the mfg date off of the 1942 serial number, your machine would have been made in late 1938. If you assume higher production rates from 1940 on, then 1939. This at least doesn't disagree with other source data, mainly catalogs from the period.

Robert D.
 

louosten

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#21
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

Robert;
Thanks for the reply. Yes, this machine came with a horizontal countershaft setup, so the "H" is resolved . The "S" could mean standard (Babbitt) bearings, or maybe standard bed length (36"). Interestingly, the guy I purchased it from said it was built in the 1960s...only off about 22 years! Would you happen to know Atlas' annual production rate on these machines?
Lou O.
 

wa5cab

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#22
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

Lou,

OK on "H" but the standard bed length was 42" according to several catalogs. On the "S", what little information we have in the database would agree with Standard = Babbit . But we have several 101.07403 probably from a later period with an "S" suffix and that model only came with Timken bearings. So that has to be filed under "maybe",

We have no actual production data. We have only a few 9" serial numbers but they are all lower than any 10" s/n. So I am beginning to think that Serial Number 1 was a 9" compound drive and not the first 10". The highest 10" serial number that we have is 88786 which I calculated (from one with bearing dates of 06/22/1951) was made around 08/14/1951. When I get time, I will use post-war data and calculate the approximate highest serial number. It will be under 100000, because that's what the late 12" started at.

Robert D.
 

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#23
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

I just picked up a QC54 with serial number 004218. Not sure about anything else since I have had it for 2 whole days.
 

wa5cab

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#24
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

Sorry but we only have one date on a QC and that only the year (1947). The first model 10" QCGB appeared in late 1947. Unfortunately, after apparently running a continuous sequence of serial numbers from at least 1936 and probably from 1932, Atlas started over at 000001 with the QC42 and QC54. The only thing about age that can be said is that it was made between 1947 and 1957. We don't know how many were made so can't guess on a year. The highest serial number we currently have for a 10" QC is 004882. But the highest serial number we have on a change gear model was made in 1952, five years before they quit making them. So there is no way to guess whether 004882 was near the end, in the middle, or what.

Robert D.
 

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#25
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

Here is a picture of my # plate on the 10" QC54 I recently acquired.
QC54 Ser #.JPG
HWF

QC54 Ser #.JPG
 

wa5cab

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#26
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

Well, Harold, that is weird (pun intended). That serial number would probably date to late June, 1951. But the other 10 QC's that I have serial numbers on are all under 005000. And at the time that the first QC came out, the 10F was above 078000. Maybe after a few years, they decided to go back to the original serial number pool. Only finding another 5-digit number will tell.

Robert D.
 

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#27
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

Mine also has 3/8" ways if that helps to date these, as I've heard somewhere around '50 is when they switched to 1/2"?
 

wa5cab

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#28
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

No, the 10" had 3/8" ways from start to finish. The 1/2" ways are in the 12" versions (two) built from late 1957 through to end of lathe production in 1981.

Robert D.
 

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#29
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

I have an atlas 10d s/n a3965s stamped in the right end of outside way. it is 36" c to c. i would like to know when it was manufactured. i think it is a 1936 year model. i appreciate any info that you have.
thanks. dennis
 

wa5cab

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#30
Re: Atlas 10" Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

Dennis,

How did you ID it as a 10D? There were at least six 10" models (not counting the four bed lengths that all were available in, which would mean 24 models) sold before the 10F's appeared. There are a couple of examples reported that would tend to suggest that it might originally have been a 10A instead. Post a front view photo if you can. We have no firm (supported by any evidence) dates for early 10" but from the serial number, my initial guess is sometime in 1935.

Robert D.
 
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