A catalog and history of Holtzapffel lathes


Holtzapffel Register and Production of Lathes

The Holtzapffel firm spanned several generations, during which at least 2,557 lathes were produced. From 1795 to 1928, the sale of lathes was documented, noting the type of lathe, when it first sold, the buyer's name, and price paid.

The Holtzapffel register of lathes is currently housed at the Guildhall Library in London. If the proper permissions can be obtained, a copy of the register in part or whole may become available for viewing here.

A brief history of the periods of production:

  • From 1795 to 1803, under the direction of founder John Jacob Holtzapffel I, the firm produced and sold 385 lathes, including Holtzapffel's first rose engine lathe in 1797.
  • From 1804 to 1827, a partnership with assistant John George Deyerlein was formed. Business was conducted under the name Holtzapffel & Deyerlein, and the lathes themselves began to be numbered. During this period, the company manufactured nearly 1000 lathes.
  • In 1827, Deyerlein left the firm and John Jacob's son Charles joined the business. Nine years later, when his father died, Charles headed the business until 1847, the time of his early death. During this period, the firm produced approximately 400 new lathes.
  • At the time of his father's death, John Jacob II was still a minor. Therefore, Charles' widow Amelia ran the Holtzapffel firm until 1853, during which approximately 65 lathes were manufactured.
  • John Jacob II ran the firm until 1896, during which time the firm produced approximately 400 new lathes.
  • From 1896 until 1928, when the business closed its doors, they manufactured and sold the remaining 100+ lathes.

In addition, it was common for lathes to be returned to the factory for augmentation, refurberation, and resale. The above tallies do not include that additional production.

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