Almost 50 Years of CVA Machine Tool Manufacture
CVA Wade Lathe
Probably the earliest machine tool manufactured by CVA at Portland Road was the Wade Lathe, manufactured around 1926 when the Company traded as CAV. It was a basic design with a 3-step cone pulley used to achieve different spindle speeds. It sold for just £3.00, however no spindle drive was provided; power most likely being an optional extra, or provided separately by the user.
CVA Model 72 Bench Lathe
The Model 72 Bench Lathe was manufactured from the mid 1930s. The one shown is fitted with an H-Gear on the rear of the headstock, which provided variable spindle speeds. The H-Gear was also sold independently and was still manufactured by CVA up-to the early 1950s.
CVA Model 75 Floor Standing Lathe
The Model 75 Floor Standing Lathe was also manufactured from the mid 1930s. The H-Gear was integrated internally, with the on/off, spindle speed and direction selectors all mounted on the front. The tailstock could be replaced with a capstan turret, which enabled semi skilled operators to produce “quality” parts; probably an essential requirement during WWII.
CVA Second Operation Lathe
Manufactured during WWII, the CVA Second Operation Lathe was a forerunner of the CVA Auto. For cutting motion, the slides were fitted with levers, presumably their presetting would determine the exact size and shape of the component; again an essential requirement for high production and semi skilled operation during WWII.
CVA Model 79 Toolmakers Die Sinking Mill
This “beautiful” and flexible machine was also produced during WWII, up until the very early 1950s. It had no power feed to the axis, therefore when CVA started to produce Kearney & Trecker Mills under licence from 1947, it was quickly superseded by their superior machines, all of which had power feed.
CVA 1 & 1A Toolroom Lathe
To complement the Model 79, was the CVA 1, and later 1A Lathe. Produced and sold from the late 1940s through to the mid 1950s, when it disappeared from sales literature and the Directors’ Report. The lathe was widely recognised by toolmakers as a fine machine, in fact many were also in production in their own toolroom in Upper St. James’s Street, Kemp Town.
CVA High Speed Automatic Lathe (Auto)
Developed during the latter part of WWII; initially the No8 Auto was launched onto the market around 1947. This was followed by 3 other models, No12, No 20 and No 26. The numbers represented the bar capacity in 16ths of an inch. No 8 equalling ½ inch, No 12 equalling ¾ inch etc. The cutting tools were positioned to the part using cams, which were designed according to the component requirement. All models were equipped with the patented constant throw turret, amongst the many features. Although essentially a lathe, a wide range of other operations were possible, including milling, slotting, and deburring, enabling small complicated components to be completed automatically in a single operation.
Nearly 50 Years of CVA Machine Tool Manufacture
On the 22nd of May 1972 it was announced to the press, that the rights to the Autos had been sold to Brown & Sharp Limited of Plymouth, ending almost 50 years of manufacture of CVA machine tools. Auto production in Brighton would be gradually wound down over the following two and a half years. This would allow the company to concentrate on Kearney & Trecker numerical control and automotive machines.
A Lunch Time Mystery
Designers, machinists, foundrymen, electricians, patternmakers, welders, machine tool fitters; a skilled trade and gainful employment was had by many local men thanks to CVA. Times were hard in the early days, even tougher in the 1930s and wartime. How did the men relax during their lunch break at Portland Road? Did they have time to nip down to the seafront, play football in the yard, or was there another pastime? If you look closely the answer is on the page.