F S Babbitt of Taunton, MA was an early (mid 1870’s) manufacturer of a lathe that came with a table saw and scroll saw. They advertised it as being for “Amateurs and Artisans” as can be seen in this catalog cut.
There has been a mention that this combination machine was made by N H Baldwin of Laconia, NH. While there are some similarities with the products made by Baldwin and both were relatively early makers, here is some information that seems to show Babbitt was their own manufacturer.
A search of the census records of Taunton list FS Babbitt as a manufacturer in 1879 at a capital investment of $8000 employing 5 people. They had an 8 hp steam engine and sold $7000 of “products.” The average wage for skilled workers was $2.25 per day. At about $50 per machine, $7000 in sales would amount to 160 machines. Further, the two towns are over 130 miles apart, a considerable distance for the time. Given all this, it would seem to say Babbitt was a successful manufacturer in his own way.
This first picture shows an original lathe in good, as found condition. Note name cast in treadle.
This next set of pictures shows a different lathe that at some point, the owner must have wanted a longer bed so a wood one was made to replace the original cast iron on. Thankfully, they saved the original bed. You will also note the leg has been cracked and rewelded and there were other similar issues. This lathe is awaiting restoration.
More to come!!