The Regal is LeBlond’s Model T, a gamechanging product that served as the bedrock of the company’s fortunes.
To continue a Ford motor analogy, LeBlond’s current metal lathe – the RKL – can be seen as the company’s Mustang, a model that adds flair and style to the company’s brand of reliability and efficiency blazed by the Regal and earlier lines.
In a series of posts, we are going to explore the differences between the LeBlond Regal and RKL. First, we will start with the history of the two machines.
The Birth of the Regal
The Regal was introduced by the LeBlond Machine Tool Company in 1931 as part of its commitment to produce a “better lathe.” The Regal was aimed at non-industrial users such as machine shops and wealthy amateurs and was lighter than the company’s heavier lathes, the smallest of which, until the late 1920’s, featured a 15” swing.
Word War II proved the mettle of the Regal as the machine was used in the United States and exported to allies like Great Britain in the war effort against the Nazis and the other Axis powers.
The Servo-Shift Innovation
The Regal was modified in the decades following the war. The website lathes.co.uk describes the innovation of the later Regal models:
Although late-model LeBlond Regal lathes all shared the same basic design (regardless of capacity), there were two types of headstock spindle-speed selection: a standard type with four levels and a “Servo-shift” model with speeds pre-selected and changed automatically by hydraulics. The ordinary model can be recognized by its 4-lever control and the Servo model by the use of two levers and a speed-selector dial.
The Servo-shift feature on the Regal enabled an operator to shift gears in the headstock easier and was innovative in increasing the efficiency of the manual lathe.
The Regal officially ended production in the 1995.
RKL Continues the Legacy of Excellence
Customers continued pressing LeBlond for a new metal lathe with the quality and tradition of excellence of the Regal. In 2010, LeBlond Ltd. decided to introduce the RKL.
“Our goal was to perpetuate the LeBlond legacy in terms of quality equipment and service parts support,” says LeBlond Ltd. President Jon Tallman. “We chose the designation RKL to honor the history of the original R.K. LeBlond Machine Tool Company founded in 1887 by Richard K. LeBlond.”
Don’t miss LeBlond’s promotion until September 15th where you can save up to 20% off or as much as $4500 off an RKL 1300 or 1500 Series metal lathe. Check out the offer here. If you’re interested in larger LeBlond manual lathes, K.O. Lee grinders or need original OEM parts for LeBlond, K.O. Lee, Standard Modern, Johnson Press, Deka Drill and W.F. & John Barnes equipment, fill out a contact form here.