South Bend Lathe brought the product to the customer in 1930

Source: The Old Motor

(January 10, 2021) The South Bend Lathe Works, named after the city in Indiana, where it is located was formed in 1906 by John J. and Miles W. O’Brien, twin brothers, who were born in Ireland. The pair were trained tool and die-makers that started the manufacturing firm after receiving their mechanical engineering degrees from Purdue University in Indiana.

The successful company apparently learned early on that equipping its salesmen with a vehicle outfitted with machine tools and taking them directly to prospective buyer’s helped sell its products. This vehicle is a Model “A” Ford sedan delivery and appears to be a 1931 model.

The Ford contains one of South Bend’s base model lathes that does not have a “quick change” feed and threading gearbox. The stack of gears that have to be changed one at a time is visible on the pull-out table’s left side. Accessories and tooling are mounted on the driver’s sidewall, and that weight is offset by the main part of the fairly heavy machine being placed on the passenger side of the Ford truck.

South Bend Lathe was a major manufacturer at the time of the photograph — they made almost half the engine lathes produced in the US in 1930. They’re not that dominant in market share any more, but they’re still around as a division of Shirza Balolia.