Auburn University Lathe - Auburn, AL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member xptwo
N 32° 36.296 W 085° 28.965
16S E 642370 N 3608507
Quick Description: This Civil War cannon lathe has been a part of Auburn University since it was donated to the school in 1936. It was originally used at the Selma Arsenal during the Civil War.
Location: Alabama, United States
Date Posted: 7/20/2013 9:11:17 AM
Waymark Code: WMHKJK
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Tante.Hossi
Views: 3

Long Description:
The Lathe is located on the north side of Samford Hall along South College Street, near the intersection with Thatch Avenue. As usual on a campus, parking will be easier on weekends or school holidays.

The plaque on the side of the lathe gives its history:

The Lathe

Built in Selma, Alabama, during the early part of the Civil War for the manufacture of military supplies for the Confederate Army. During the war an attempt was made to move it to Columbus, Georgia, to prevent its being seized by Federal troops. En route, it was buried for a time near Irondale, Alabama. When the danger of capture had passed, it was dug up and moved to Columbus, where it was used for boring cannon until the end of the war. After the war, the lathe was used by the Birmingham Rolling Mills, which later became part of the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company. In 1936 that company presented this historic lathe to the Alabama Polytechnic Institute.

Presented by Alpha Phi Omega 1952

The following information about the Selma Foundry is excerpted from the Encyclopedia of Alabama:

"The Selma Ordnance and Naval Foundry, also known as the Selma Naval Foundry and Ironworks and the Selma Arsenal and Gun Works, was a leading manufacturing center for the South during the Civil War. The facility, located on the Alabama River in Dallas County, produced finished war materials for the Confederate armed forces from pig-iron ingots from the state's blast furnaces. At its peak around 1863-64, this manufacturing center employed as many as 10,000 workers in approximately 100 buildings and was second only to the Tredegar Ironworks in Richmond, Virginia, in the production of war materials."

"The equipment at Selma included gun lathes and molds situated in a gun foundry, along with machine shops, a puddling furnace, and blacksmith shops. The facility cast its first cannon, a 7-inch Brooke rifle, in July 1863. Generally, a large gun such as a Brooke took six to seven weeks to complete from initial casting, through the cooling process, and then lathing the bore and cutting the barrel grooves to exact dimensions for accommodating the shot or shell. A lathe that is said to have been recovered from Selma sits on the campus of Auburn University next to Samford Hall. Some sources state that the last Brooke was cast in December 1864, although others place the date at March 21, 1865, just before Selma's fall. In all, more than 70 Brooke guns were manufactured at Selma, most of which were shipped to Mobile; others were mounted on naval vessels or employed in coastal defenses."

source: (visit link)

I was not able to find more specific information about the lathe online. Based on the article in the Encyclopedia of Alabama, I will put 1863 as the year the lathe was built. The display date comes from the date on the plaque.
Type of Machine: lathe

Year the machine was built: 1863

Year the machine was put on display: 1952

Is there online documentation for this machine: [Web Link]

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