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Van Norman lathe, I think. What is it?


Cast Iron
Mar 24, 2014
Riverside County, CA
It is on Craigslist near me. It is a Van Norman machine of some type? I always thought Van Norman made automotive rebuilding tools? I am having a hard time figuring out what this is? It says it is a lathe with a grinder. They used to make brake lathes but this does not look like one. It kind of looks like a small cylindrical grinder but I am guessing.

Back in the day ,a customer would bring in a set of used oversize pistons he had scrounged somewhere ,and have them reground to suit his honed out cylinder bores........Van Norman "E" contour was a favourite,and we would also resize the ring grooves for thicker rings ,which were a stock item for popular motors.............The same procedure also applied where a customer would opt for a re sleeve back to standard bore ,and have his oversized pistons reground (called resized) to suit the liners ..........especially if he had a rare car for which no spares were available.
There were cheap 'backyard cast' pistons on the market which were lathe turned round,and they would inevitably seize in two narrow strips either side of the thrust faces ............Cam ground oval was a big selling point if you bought pistons