I’ve been poking around on the web looking for information about ornamental turning. A while back I saw a reference to a Holtzapffel lathe, which to me seemed incredibly complex, you might say ‘steampunk’ in today’s phraseology.
It transpired that this incredible piece of engineering was in fact called the ‘Rose Engine and Ornamental Turning Lathe’. I know this now, because John Edwards, who runs the excellent website dedicated to the subject has an excellent page of information on it.
It’s well beyond my knowledge to start explaining how ornamental turning lathes work, but please visit John’s site, it has some superb information and a great gallery of pieces made by turners. There’s also a great pdf called ‘The Definition & Brief History of Ornamental Turning‘ with some stunning examples of ornamental turning work.
The machines are also still being built. The kindly @ChrisK6789 (Chris Kuehn) on Twitter directed me to a video showing a modern-day machine in use. I’m sure this is just one of the million things this machine can do.