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A nice Rivett....and some of Mr. Playtner's stuff

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Here's an 8mm Rivett Watchmakers lathe I picked up awhile ago.   Rivett was a really high end lathe maker.  Started by a Canuck who headed to US to find his fortune, the Faneuil Watch Tool Co was founded in 1984 (name changed to Rivett in 1905).  I bought the watchmakers lathe kit a few years ago from an estate.  It was owned by a watchmaker in Stouffville Ont and the accessory kit is really complete including dividing plates, a Hardinge polisher, bezel chuck and a wheel cutting attachment (shop made). 

As well there is a large selection of wheel cutters, one set visible on wood dowels and the other in a small wood box.  The box lid has a note saying they're from the late Mr Playtner, 1890, principal of a watchmaking school in Toronto.  The dates don't entirely make sense, as Playtner founded the Canadian Horological Institute in Toronto in 1890 (he was 25), Canada's first watchmaking school and he lived to 1943.  I'm guessing the Stouffville watchmaker acquired the items mid 20th century after Playtners' passing.  Apparently the school drew from afar and had at least one tie in to Rivett; its students won the top three awards from the Faneuil Watch Tool Company's 1897 competition.  He was also the author of "The Analysis of the Lever Escapement" which I gather is still relevant and cited today.

I've also got a 1897 Rivett 608 which which is arguably the preeminent instrument lathe of the time, or for that matter perhaps for all time: for example it would hold .0001" over 6 inches when new.  They were unpainted with polished castings and cost more than man's annual wage and were often found at Universities - mine came out the Cornell University Materials Engineering Lab.   My 608, made before the 1905 name change, has the Faneuil name plate.  As well they made a tool makers lathe, the 1020 which is comparable to the Monarch 10ee or Hardinge HLV.   

Anyway, enough about Rivett, I thought you guys would like to see the watchmakers lathe.  Any other Rivett owners out there?  feel free to post you pics here











Edited by measuretwice

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That is truly cool... a tool from Playtner’s school.  Playtner closed his school in 1913 but moved to Elgin, Illinois in 1921 and openned the Elgin Watchmakers’ College.  He retired in 1923, recommending William Samelius replace him as director.  He returned to his home in Kitchener, Ontario.  A relative noted that he became a bit odd as he aged.  A student watchmaker visited his home before he passed and was surprised to see the main floor set up as a complete classroom, all equipped. Playtner owned all the equipment at the CHI and I guess that after he passed away, his family sold it all.  Mind you, his will didn’t mention more than one lathe.  Check “Canada’s Master Watchmaker, Henry Playtner and the Canadian Horological Institute”  available from chi_information@yahoo.ca

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