Glenn Brooks wrote: With great respect for Harold, Iam sure this lathe can actually peel 1/4" strips of chips off large diameter stock - although have no idea who would need that kind of work done anymore.
I agree. It could, but in order to do so it would require lower gearing, which is a huge part of why it wouldn't cut it in today's environment, where time is money. Lower surface speeds, to increase torque, and, maybe, decreased feed rate. Each of which add greatly to the time it takes when taking serious cuts----cuts that would likely be competing with modern CNC equipment.
Do keep in mind, machines like this were built when carbon steel cutting tools were very much in use. They demand slower spindle speeds. Performance with lower horse power motors was acceptable, due to the gearing involved. Speeding up a lathe like this without changing the motor would not allow for even high speed operations at reasonable depths of cut and feed rates.
It's a sad commentary, but the harsh reality is that such machines are in the same boat as shapers. Nice, neat to see and watch, but not even remotely competitive in today's market. Great for the home shop, though.