Announced during the 1969 Model Engineering Exhibition, the Pixi lathe was designed and manufactured by Brian Perris, and marketed through Sartglen Engineering Ltd. (part of the Wexler group, a garage and property company) of 113 Park Street, London W1Y 3FB and 148 Portland Road, Hove, Sussex. With a tiny 1.5-inch centre height and a skimpy specification, it did not immediately catch on and for a while disappeared from view. The lathe, considerably worked over and with the centre height increased to am more useful 2", appeared next for a short time during the early 1970s when it was being made (or marketed) by L. C. Jay and Son of 19 Oak Street, Norwich and sold badged with various names including: Jason, Perris Pixi and (inevitably) "The New Randa" - the latter marketed by the makers of the original Randa lathe, Ross & Alexander of 165-167 Bishopgate, London E.C.2
The original version was, in many respects, similar to the Jason (full details here) but smaller - the centre height being just 1.5 inches and the between-centres' capacity 8 inches - and of a simpler specification. The 5/16"-bore spindle was driven by an overhung pulley from 1/8th hp motor and the bed equipped with a 4-inch capacity gap as standard (the latter feature a post-exhibition modification. A proper compound slide rest was fitted (with the feed-screws carrying micrometer-graduated collars) and the carriage, of the cheapest version, driven along the bed by a handwheel, engraved with micrometer lines on its rim. As an option, screwcutting by changwheels was offered and, when fitted, was engaged and disengaged by a dog clutch, held within a housing, at the headstock end of the bed.
Some Pixi lathes were sold with a motor mount bolted to the back of the headstock while others were supplied as just a stripped-down, plain lathe for the impecunious owner to add his own drive system
The self-eject tailstock barrel had a No. 1 Morse taper socket and the whole lathe was 14 inches long and weighed around 24 lbs. In April, 1969 the list price was ?5.
If you own a Pixi lathe, or one of their other machine tools, or know anything of the company's history, the writer would be interested to hear from you..