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This article is about mechanically automated lathes. For CNC lathes and their technological offshoots, see turning center. Bullard Mult-Au-Matic, a vertical, multispindle automatic lathe, 1914. The first kinds of automatic lathes were mechanically automated ones, from the 1870s until the advent of NC and CNC in the 1950s and 1960s.
CNC has not yet entirely displaced mechanically automated machines. The latter type of machine tool is no longer being newly built, but many existing examples remain in service. Because of the historical path of development of machine tool technology, the natural language terminology used to name automatic lathes, at least in English, is not hierarchical in quite the way that a manufacturing layperson might expect.