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Flather Lathes


Sep 18, 2007
Hi... anyone out there ever heard of The FLATHER LATHE COMPANY of Nashua, NH? I have one... a 9 inch unit that is a pretty nice lathe (to a beginner) and is pretty complete. I've never heard of this brand, nor has any of the machinists I've spoken with so I thought I would just inquire here. Thanks, and I can provide a picture of this little "gal" if anyone is interested.
Flather & Co., formed in 1867 by Edward W. Flather and his brothers William J., Mark Jr., and Joseph. Also made tapping machines, shapers, and planers. (Not to be confused with the Mark Flather Planer Co., formed in 1884 by Mark Flather after he left Flather & Co.) Not sure when Flather & Co. closed down, but they were a major player during their time.
Many styles of lathe were offered (engine lathes, hand lathes, foot lathes, ect.). Which type do you have?
We always like to see pictures on this forum.
They were a very well known machine tool maker. Flather came over from England. Flather was one of the early developers of the quick change gearbox as was Norton. South Bend Lathe used the Flather quick change gearbox(single tumbler), before going to Norton's.
seen one once


didn't match my drapes ;)
guy talked about taking it to antiques road show :rolleyes:

and yes
we must have pics
Hi all... Thanks to you guys with the info! I can't find a model number anywhere on this little machine and I have dismantled, cleaned, repainted, and reassembled her completely a few years ago. I only know it's a Flather because it says so on the Threading Chart which is riveted on the change gear cover. Also, I would have added some pictures, but I can't find anything on this site, or in the FAQ, to show how to attach images.
Probably never had a model number per se... it's swing was probably a model number of sorts.
Good info on posting photos here: Photo posting
You can't attach photos to the post- you have to have them hosted on the web somewhere. If you don't have web space to do that you can email them to me and I will post them.
[email protected]
If you do a search of this section you'll see the Yankee Mechanic has a really good history of THe Flather co. Also The shopswarf website used to have some original pictures and propaganda from the company. Also It's something like the forsengland website has a restoration of a flather. I bought a copy of Donald Tullochs book on "Worchester City Of Prosperity". It has a few paragraphs on Flather.
If you haven't figured out by now I too have a Flather Lathe. think it's about a 14" swing. Haven't got it going yet but it's inside with oil on the ways and protected from the elements.
Mine looks pretty much like the picture that "wippin boy" posted except for the pretty yellow paint. Mine has a number on it I can't think of off the top of my head but I think it's 10,200 and something. I also got the rotating table with a bunch of gears on it.
Does anybody know how to date the machine with a number on it. THe Flather was how I found this website and I've been addicted ever since.
John G.
If someone local had some time and space,.. I saw a 36 inch swing flather a year or so back. Its not that heavy for a 36, beacuse it used a riser blocks uner the head and tail. I think it was all factory origional setup and never restored or abused. 20 or 30 foot +/- long. The story was it was available to a good home. And the owner seeemd a bit fussy about his definiton of good as someplace like a museum and not end up an ornament. It was in an old mill basement and the deal was to take it out threw a basement window! Thats why I say local. He said thats how they got it in there? He already refused one guy becuase he did not trust the guy to provide the proper setting and preservation. I am not posting any details on the web. But I would be able to sometime show&introduce someone. I think its still there? The owner mentioned eventuially as he get older, the building will probably get torn down and that would be an oportunity to take it out and he would be a lot less fussy as to where it went. In that event, I would definately post a note here. Assuming he calls me or I hear about it.

I already know how this will probably end up,...

I think Flather made a lot of good lathes over a long enough time period that some interested in New Hampshire, or lathes, could build an interesting collection around Flather. Space permitting including a relatively large lathe.

I have some Flather parts that I picked off a scrap machine +/-10yrs ago. Maybe 14-16 swing, I dont remember much it was a pile of bits when I saw it. I still have those parts if any needs.