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A visit to this area is a must for students of early industrial archaeology.Founded in 1889, by Charles Portass, the original Portass company was concerned with building and constructional engineering but, by the outbreak of the First World War (1914--1918), had evolved to the extent that it was able to take on a variety of government work.Both versions of the lathe were identical dimensionally, lightly built and just 13.75 inches long and around 6.5 lbs in weight; the centre height was 1" inches and the capacity between centres 6 inches; the gap, standard on both models, admitted a piece of material 4.25 inches in diameter.A small 3-speed bench-mounted countershaft was offered by the makers (though most of the impecunious enthusiasts who bought the lathe ignored it) or, at even greater expense, by a two-speed human-powered "foot-motor" and flywheel assembly. Walkley, who modeled tiny electric locomotives in 1 mm =1 foot (5 scale) used an Adept lathe to make his own miniature motors and reported that: parts including a 0.25"-diameter cast iron armature were .. This says much for the Adept when one mentions that everything came out true even to the boring of the miniature armature - the sort of job that many more expensive lathes are not always able to do well.Traced to 1931, the announcement of the ordinary Adept was followed two years later by the much improved Super Adept - when the latter was displayed at the August 1933 "Model Engineer" Exhibition on the stand of the then well-known tool dealer .Fitted with a bolt-on compound slide, the ordinary version of the Adept used the top slide to take a cut which, like watch and clockmakers' lathes, had a slide with sufficient travel to cover a good proportion of the available between-centres' distance.

Unfortunately Adept failed to developed their lathe to keep up with the ever-increasing demands of now more affluent modeller and by the early 1960s was gone.Although inexpensive, lacking in quality control and obviously built down to a strict price (there was no attempt made to smooth out surface imperfections in the castings, or even machine the underside of the foot) the black-enameled and sometimes blue-finished "Super" models were still capable, in the right hands, of performing some remarkable tasks. A well-made 4-jaw independent chuck with a threaded body and stamped "ADEPT" was available as an extra, but its cost, at one pound, twelve shillings and sixpence, was 33% of that of the lathe; what everybody would have liked, a miniature, 3-jaw scroll-operated self-centering chuck, was unavailable - it obviously being too difficult to construct such an accurate item and sell it for a reasonable price.Instead, a crude non-self-centering "dog" 3-jaw was offered - a chuck that was inaccurate, frustrating to use and with a poor grip - though skilled users could still make it perform miracles. advertising literature the writer would be pleased to hear from you.Dating from the early 1920s, the very first Portass lathes, were badged as being made in the west of Sheffield by "".Although Sheffield's main heavy industries, and the larger-volume steel plants of Rotherham, lay to the east (and down-wind of the better-class housing), there had been a long tradition of both large and small-scale engineering (including grinding, scythe manufacture and even wire drawing) in the western Sheffield valleys originally using water power from the Sheaf, Loxley and Porter steams - the latter a playground for the writer in his childhood.

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