Information Age Turner: Roger Davies

Roger Davies (1924-1998)

Davies was an accomplished turner as well as a talented machinist who aided in the restoration of ornamental turning lathes and fashioned beautifully made new apparatus as well. A short bio for the 1991 OTI seminar reads, "English gunsmith and ornamental turner. Winner of all awards and prizes offered by the Worshipful Company of Turners Competition and also the Society of Ornamental Turners."

Davies made a short movie entitled Ornamental Turning with Roger Davies, a demonstration in which he created a small box from european boxwood on Holtzapffel lathe No. 2354. He acquired this lathe in 1975 and subsequently won many prizes both with the S.O.T. and the Worshipful Company of Turners. He was remarkable in combining supreme technical ability with extensive and detailed historical knowledge of ornamental turning equipment and its makers.

Below is an excerpt of a tribute from the Society of Ornamental Turners Bulletin #101:

Davies foremost interest was in ornamental turning and he was never happier than when he was working for the Society of Ornamental Turners of demonstrating his great skill and knowledge to his many friends and fellow members. He always considered his position as Editor and Council Member of the Society among the highest honors he had received in life.

Contrastingly, we members greatly appreciated the privilege of his expertise and the time and effort he freely expended on our behalf. Roger had diverse interests and was also a member of several other groups.

It is sad to think that a group supposedly interested in the history of these fine machine tools would knowingly take part in artificially driving up the price to the point where even senior fellows in the field of O.T. can no longer afford to acquire the tools of their beloved calling, putting them in a terrible bind. Unfortunately narrow profit seekers, who know next to nothing of the history, traditions, and quality associated with Holtzapffel lathes, continue to menace the future of O.T.

Warren Green Ogden, Jr., from "Notes on the History and Provenance of Holtzapffel Lathes" (1987)

Toolmakers of the Information Age
  • Walter Balliet
  • Ray Lawler
  • Paul Cler
  • Fred Armbruster
  • Al Collins
  • Lindow-White
Exhibitions in the Information Age