I am wondering about the term "apron" used for a lathe. It is a gear mechanism, it seems.

See http://images.slideplayer.com/26/8615152/slides/slide_47.jpg.

Why apron? Why does apron come in here as a term at all?

  • It may be that the term "apron" is used to mean cover. The mechanics are under a cover. But there may be something here not at all obvious.
    – J. Taylor
    Apr 17, 2018 at 19:26
  • Looks on slide 46 like they're referring to an enclosure that resembles an apron, and slide 47 shows the internal mechanisms under the apron? It is confusing.
    – jimm101
    Apr 17, 2018 at 19:30
  • Yes, Brekets; why does any such thing come in at all, pleaes? Apr 17, 2018 at 20:48
  • countrysideamishfurniture.com/help/faq/what-is-an-apron ~ "Aprons" are also found on fine furniture. Even I (who is not Amish) use the term for that part of any piece of furniture. In fact, just the other day I referred to the lower section of an antique Pine trunk that had been converted for use as a blanket chest, using the very same terminology.
    – Bread
    Apr 17, 2018 at 22:18
  • community.cartalk.com/t/aprons-what-are-the-aprons/6952 ~ "Aprons" are also found on cars, something my father would have known.
    – Bread
    Apr 17, 2018 at 22:21

1 Answer 1


It's called an apron because it hangs over the front side of the lathe.

First see this definition:

Apron is attached to the carriage and hangs over the front side of the lathe bed.
Apron Mechanism in Lathe

And then see this diagram:

Image source: Vinagento.com

The apron hangs down perpendicular to the bed of the lathe, hanging in an apron-like way.

  • 1
    I work for a machine shop :-)
    – Jane U
    Apr 17, 2018 at 21:56

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