Pristine 1838 “Rose Engine” Lathe

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Rose Engine

A rose engine lathe (Wikipedia) is a type of geometric lathe used to produce complex radial engravings called Guilloché, which are used both for decorative and security (i.e. anticounterfeiting) purposes.

Those of you with more than $238,000 of disposable cash lying around may be irked to discover that the auction for this stunningly beautiful antique specimen is long closed. At least we can all still enjoy the gorgeous photographs, courtesy Massachusetts-based Skinner Auctioneers, who sealed the deal back in December. Their site is actually chock-a-block with beautiful old tools, instruments, and apparatus, and has proven to be a major click trap for me this morning.

Holtzapffel & Company Rose Engine Lathe No. 1636 and Cabinet of Accessories

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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