We’ve had a couple readers ask us questions about Hardinge HC & HCT chucking machines and metal lathes. We recently made available some more manuals for these Hardinge chucking machines. We have Hardinge operator’s, maintenance, and parts manuals for many different vintages, and for the different manual and automatic threading units that were on some of these Hardinge lathes. The Hardinge chucker lathes were workhorses, and even a worn out Hardinge HC & HCT can easily hold tight tolerances. These also had the nickname Kodak Lathe, which is explained below.
Hardinge Brothers, Inc. History
1919 Hardinge Cataract Quick Change Lathe
The American Hardinge Brothers’ origins go back to 1890 in Chicago, when Franklin and Henry Hardinge began developing watchmaker lathes. They purchased the Cataract machine line from Cataract Tool and Optical Co, in 1902. In 1931 Morrison Machine Products purchased Hardinge Brothers and moved them to Morrison’s operations in Elmira, NY. Hardinge Brothers, Inc. machines are well known for their superb quality and dependability. Their popular models are the HLV and the great HLV-H precision lathes. The HC and HCT chucking machines came after WWII. These models were also know as Kodak lathes, because Kodak wanted machines to help in the manufacturing of high quality lens rings, casing, and shells. The engineers from Eastman Kodak Company actually went down to Elmira, NY to work with the engineers at Hardinge to develop these lathes specifically to help with Kodak’s production. That was the original purpose of these lathes, but these lathes also turned out to be great on other jobs as well.
Hardinge HCT Lathe Pictures
We received several pictures from some readers looking for information and manuals for their HCT chucker metal lathes. The first set show a HCT with serial #26300, dated 1953. The cross slide was removed for repair and cleaning, and it is missing the threading attachment, which is the “T” in HCT.
Threading attachment shown above
Click pictures to enlarge
This next set of pictures is of a Hardinge HCT chucking metal lathe. I’m not sure what the serial number is, but it is the same vintage of HCT lathe as the one above. Obviously, someone has added a VFD at the top left for variable speed control later, and this one is also missing the threading attachment.
Hardinge Manual & Automatic Threading Unit Attachment
Hardinge made both a manual and automatic threading unit attachment for the chucker lathes, which were the HCT models. The Hardinge chucker lathes don’t have a quick change gearbox to switch feeds for different threads. Instead the Hardinge have a threading attachment unit that follows what is called a lead screw with a certain pitch that is placed on the back end of the spindle.
Then you have to place the corresponding follower on the follower arm. This follows the lead screw which with the set pitch, and moves the tooling on the other side of the spindle so you can cut the threads. The following pitches for right-handed threads were standard: 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40, 48, 50 and 60. Left-handed or special pitches could be custom ordered, and blank lead screws and followers were also sold so you could grind your own threads or leads.
Follower and Follower Arm
Hardinge Lathe Catalog Information
Below are some excerpts from some Hardinge lathe catalogs about the HC and HC-AT that detail the specifications of these lathes. We also have Hardinge catalogs and bulletins in PDF format free to download here: Hardinge PDF Downloads
Operator’s, Maintenance, and Parts Manuals for Hardinge HC, HCT, and HC-AT
We have quite a few manuals available that cover the Hardinge HC, HCT, and HC-AT lathes. Here are some Hardinge manuals that would be useful for these models:
Do you have a HC or HCT that you would like to share pictures or information about?
Please contact us or leave some comments below.