Established Nov. 1st, 1906 as South Bend Machine Tool Co., Incorporated in 1914 as South Bend Lathe Works.

First Ed. Issued: How to Run a Lathe, The Care and Operation of a Screw Cutting Lathe. Published 1907

SB started serial numbering lathes in July of 1910 with number 700.

To purchase a Pdf copy of your Serial Number Information from South Bend Lathe Co. please follow this link: Serial Number Card

To add your serial number to the SBL Workshop Database, E-mail your information to: wswells@earthlink.net

To view the Older version of the Serial Number Database, click this link: Old SN Database

To view the New Database in progress follow this link: New SN Database

Here is a page from South Bend that estimates the starting serial numbers by year. Provided by Robert Lang.

 The serial number is stamped on the tailstock end of the bed between the flat- and v-ways.  It Is used to determine the size and type of lathe, plus any special features or attachments.  The earliest records show that lathes were numbered sequentially, beginning with 700, in July 1910, and ending with 186,514 March 1947. After that date, a new numbering system added a three letter code to indicate 1) the swing, 2) the gear and apron combination and the location of the drive, and 3) the spindle hole size, type of swing, and special features.

 Another very old South Bend Page from Robert Lang that explains the new numbering system.

Swing

Gear, Apron, and Drive

Spindle and Swing Type

N=

9 inch

K=

Quick Change Gear (QCG), Friction Feed Apron,
Underneath Motor Drive (UMD)

R=

Regular Spindle Hole,
Standard Swing

K=

Light 10 inch (10K)

P=

Standard Change Gear,
Friction Feed Apron, UMD

L=

Large Spindle Hole,
Standard Swing

R=

Heavy 10 inch (10R or 10L)

A=

Quick Change Gear (QCG), Friction Feed Apron,
Overhead Countershaft Drive(CS)

E=

Regular Spindle Hole,
Raised Swing

T=

13 inch

B=

Standard Change Gear (SCG),
Friction Feed Apron, CS

D=

Large Spindle Hole,
Raised Swing

F=

14 1/2 inch

C=

Standard Change Gear (SCG),
Screw Feed Gear, CS

T=

Turret

 H=

 16 and 16/24

Y=

Standard Change Gear (SCG),
Screw Feed Gear, UMD

X=

Special

 

 

 

 

C=

CamLock Spindle

 

 

 

 

K=

Taper Key Lock Spindle

 Here, you can view a 1941 South Bend Serial Number Card