Production dates of the Perfecto shaping machines are not known for certain, but a trawl though advertisements and articles in the magazine "Model Engineer" shows that they were offered circa 1951/2 with production running until the early to mid 1980s. At first they could be bought as a finished machine or, in line with the poor economic conditions at the time, in kit form with the larger casting finished and the rest left for completion in a home workshop.
Hand-powered, the first model was based closely on a Tom Senior machine offered during the 1930s: of box-type construction, the cast-iron bed was internally ribbed and with its front face extended to provide a mounting point for the bolt-on table. Two sets of tapped holes were provided that allowed the table to be positioned approximately 2 inches higher or lower. Maximum stroke of the 10-inch long ram was 5 inches on the Model No. 1, though this was later offered as an option extended to 7-inches as the Model No. 2. The bed was 15 inches long and the table a 6" x 6" square with six slots in two lines of three and the option of a reversing, automatic table feed with a single, fixed rate of 0.005" per stroke. Unfortunately the slots were not arranged with perfect symmetry and their inside surfaces, together with that at the back of the table, were left in a rough, "as cast" state - this situation leading to much frustration when trying to bolt jobs in place. If you have such a table it is well worth getting the back machined flat and the slots milled out. Later hand-operated machines were fitted with the much-improved table from the powered version. On the end of the ram was a swivelling clapper box with 2.25 inches of height adjustment and a toolpost that, on early models was of the traditional pattern with a single clamping bolt - late machines were simplified with the tool clamped in place by two socket-headed screws.
Soon developed into a very well engineered powered model, the makers offered it with a choice of 5 and 7-inch ram strokes (Models No. 3 and No. 4 respectively) and now fitted with a table properly machined on the back surface and with three proper, full-length transverse T-slots on the top. Also fitted was a variable-rate powered feed, this version remained listed until the early 1980s - through with some unsold stock known to have lingered on until the middle of the decade.
During the 1970s the lathe was handled in the USA by Caldwell Industries of Luling, Texas and it is known that numbers were sold., especially of the powered model. Approximate dimensions of the hand models were: overall length 17 inches, width 16 inches height 12 inches and weight 75 lbs. The powered version was 20 inches long, 17 inches wide, stood 18 inches high and weighed, without its motor, 130 lbs.
Other small hand-operated shapers available during the 20th century included the Adept, Alexander, Arrow, Benson, Boynton, Bradley, Drummond, Flexispeeed, Graves, Liverpool Castings & Tool Supply, Omerod, Perfecto, George-Adams/Pitter, Polygon, Portass, Rapid-Lime, Robblak, and Tom Senior..