This is what a metal lathe looks like. Controls for speed and threading. Older lathes may not have levers for control. Those use a pile of gears mounted at the left side to create the correct thread pitch and speed.
Like DRW said, it's a wood lathe. Atlas also made metal lathes, and even though they aren't particularly sturdy they work well. Atlas was sort of a above-average consumer brand back in the day. I've had a 10x24" Atlas metal lathe for years and I'm in the process of replacing it with a small South Bend.
(Yes there is plastic over the knurling to protect it from the steady)