Sometime during the late 50s-early 60s South Bend Lathe Works changed the lubrication requirement on the Spindle Cone and Back Gear on their lathes from oil to grease (with the corresponding markings on those components). Earlier lathes are marked “OIL”, and later lathes are marked “GREASE” (I have not seen dates associated with the change-over). It seems that the change was requested by the Service Department to insure adequate lubrication and to avoid warantee claims. While the lube schedule for the oil was once per 8 hour shift, the schedule for the grease was once per year.
SBL specified the use of Roy Dean DE-112 grease (SBL catalog #CE1625) for this application. Unfortunately, this grease is now out of production and the two vendors that carry the remaining stock will someday run out. Fortunately, technology moves on and there are products that meet or exceed the performance of the lubrication specified back in the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. 2015 brings us to a Soy Based Lithium grease that flows well and offers 4 times the lubricity of the original 20% Teflon grease. Sold in 8 OZ tubes for easy application, it should keep your machine happy for years to come (3 OZ application dosage). More importantly, this item should be available well into the future, allowing you to lube your lathe the way the manufacturer intended.