Developed in the late 1940s by a gifted German immigrant Hans Goldschmidt, the Shopsmith Company's first machine was intended to meet an emerging domestic market for a compact, do-it-all, reasonably-priced woodworker. Cataloged as the Model 10er, Goldschmidt's first machine was first put on the market in 1947 and became the model upon which all following types were to be based. Combining a saw table, lathe, drill press, sanding disc (faceplate) and a horizontal borer, all were powered, with great ingenuity, from a single motor. The machine, which took up no more room than a conventional wood-turning lathe, was built around a robust bed of two widely-spaced steel tubes (further braced by two lower, parallel bars that connected the legs) and branded "Shopsmith". The actual manufacture was by the Magna Engineering Corp. of San Diego, CA., a company owned by Mr. Goldschmidt. A unique feature for a multi-function wood machine was a moveable quill - this being a circulr cast-iron housing - just like that used on most drill presses - that held a spindle running in anti-friction bearings and machined its outside surface with a rack so that it could be moved in and out of the headstock casting. This design had two advantages: the machine could be arranged to hinge into an upright position and so be used as a conventional but very large-capacity drill press or, in its normal "lathe" mode, as a horizontal boring or drilling machine. By 1953 an improved model was in production, the long-lived and very popular Mk.V. This was to be steadily developed and refined with improved drive belts and the motor eventually becoming a 3/4 h.p., with speeds infinitely variable from 700 to 5200 r.p.m.
Although fittings included with a new machine varied over the years, by the mid-950s the new owner received a machine ready to run and, in the box, items that included a dual-locking rip fence, a support table at the other end of the bed to hold large sheets when using the saw bench, a hand T-rest for wood-turning, a 9-inch saw blade and arbor, lathe drive and cup centres, a miter gauge, a 12-inch sanding disc and sheet of sanding paper and a half-inch capacity Jacobs drill chuck. Larger accessories were driven by a flexible shaft from the left-hand end of the machine, so obviating the need for pulleys and belts, and included a horizontal-to-vertical swivelling band sander, a 19-inch throat jig-saw, a 4-inch wide jointer (a planer in the UK), an 11-inch throat bandsaw - and even a compressor to run a spray gun. As standard, the Shopsmith unit was mounted on handy tread-down castors, so enabling it to be pushed easily to one side of the garage or workshop when not in use.
Although production had ceased in 1964, by 1972 the Company had been restructured and the unit, largely unchanged, was back in production. Development continued and, in 1985, the improved Mk.V 510 was introduce this, is turn, being superseded by the current Mk.7, the new model having a redesigned headstock with a powerful, 1.75 h.p. motor driving a remarkably wide, infinitely-variable speed range from 250 to 10,000 r.p.m. Happily, the entire head assembly from the Mk.7, and some other parts, can be used to upgrade the Mk.V and Mk.V 510 models.
Many copies of the Shopsmith have been made, some being exact clones and manufactured in Taiwan - the photographed example below being one of the rarer examples, a machine branded Tyme for an English makers of simple wood-turning lathes. Like all copies of the American original, the Tyme "Multi-tool" enjoyed a surprisingly high build quality with smooth, chrome-plated bed rails and was supplied complete with all the usual Shopsmith-type fittings. Fitted out ready for immediate use, power came from a 1.5 h.p. single-phase motor that provided a range of infinitely variable speeds spanning 850 to 5,200 r.p.m. on the UK's 50 Hz supply.
Accessories supplied with each Tyme included a miter gauge, a miter gauge safety grip, a rip fence, hand-T-rest for woodturning, a 11.750-inch diameter sanding faceplate complete with an aluminium oxide medium-grit sheet, a general-purpose saw blade, an extension table to support large sheets being cut on the saw bench, the necessary wrenches, Allen keys, a wood-drive centre, a rotating centre for the tailstock, a drill chuck - and even a pair of goggles, touch-up paint and a "safety push stick" to keep hands away from rapidly rotating blades.
Optional extra available - and all driven from the main spindle - included 4 and 6-inch spindle-moulders (described using the American term "jointer), an 11-inch throat bandsaw, a choice of 18 and 24-inch throat jigsaws and a 6-inch belt-sander..