Getting Closer to Chips on the South Bend 9A AKA "The General"
Getting Closer to Chips on the South Bend 9A AKA “The General”

In July, 2018 I was gifted a South Bend lathe, model 9A which I have named, “The General” due do a red badge found in it, which reads:

THIS MACHINE CONFORMS TO THE ORDERS OF THE WAR PRODUCTION BOARD

When I arrived home, naturally I wanted to know about the history of this piece of machinery. The badge led me to believe initially that it was involved in building and repairing equipment, however once my memory of history clarified, I came to believe that this lathe was built during a time of rationing in the United States, and my lathe was deemed necessary for the war effort by the War Production Board. Although cool, this does not put it on a Battleship in the Pacific Theater.

I also took many photographs of the lathe, and notice clearly on the way that lathe was stamped with its serial number: 162,763.

The Internet is a wonderful place when you see it like a giant reference library and this site caused me to believe that my lathe was produced between 1944 and 1947. This is good clarification, however, I already guessed that the machinery was produce during the WWII war efforts because I had the red badge.

My next step was to contact South Bend directly and ordered a serial number card. The serial card lookup costs $25 and they will send to you a copy of the invoice when your lathe was sold. Soon enough, I received an email from South Bend with some history.

My SB 9A was ordered on 5/7/1945 and shipped on 6/14/1945 to Harold Kempel from Eccles & Davies, Los Angeles, CAL. Eccles & Davies was a distributor for South Bend in Los Angeles, CA. I was told by the original owner that he picked it up from San Pedro, and this is probably all I will ever know.

Regardless, looking forward to working on many project with “The General”, even if that name is not representative of its past.