1950’s Perfecta guillotine - Veb Polygraph

hi everyone,

does anyone have a 1950’s Perfecta Veb Polygraph guillotine?
I am thinking of buying one but there are a couple of problems. the seller says that the blade is 2mm out of square. Not sure how that could happen to a blade. Would it be possible to compensate by adjusting the back guard/ guage?

The other problem is that it comes with a 3 phase motor. is there anyone running a similar guillotine by exchanging the motor to a single 240v Motor?

And lastly, does anyone know where to find a copy of the instruction manual?

help is much appreciated.

Log in to reply   17 replies so far

Polygraph was an East German conglomerate, and very little info is in English much less PDF format. It absorbed pre-war German firms such as Krause, Brehmer, Rockstroh-Werke and Schelter & Giesecke. Heidelberg, Planeta and MAN Roland absorbed the remains after reunification.
I am also curious about the idea of a blade being out-of-square. Normally the blade is clamped to the holder, and the cut line is the back face of the blade as it meets the holder. The other dimensions of the blade need not be so precise. Blades after all are easily fabricated, but racked machines are another matter.
Cutting paper isn’t just making the back gauge parallel with the blade; there’s also the sides and if they are not square to the cut you’ll never square a sheet.

As parallel-imp pointed out, you will be out of Luck with a manual. After WWII anything which wasn’t grown solid, was removed and moved east, anything in the East, former Deutschland was absorbed. In classic DDR Fashion, it was all jumbled together and made one Company, VEB (Vereinigte Betriebe ) Polygraph.
EG, they continued to make Krause manual Blocking presses, but they are rougher, heavier and less precise, no need to discuss the ripp off of the Tiegel (Heidelberg), it;s a good Boat weight.

On Ebay de sometimes a Brochure or such pops up, but quality was so minimal, that little to none survived.

I think your Back guage is not parallel to the Knife, basic stuff - all cutters work the same, do not swap out the motor. Get a rotary conversion kit for 220/240 to true 3 Phase, otherwise it will never work right.

Yeah, I second Typenut/Ludwig’s suggestion to get a rotary phase converter. They’re starting at about 1000 dollars on the internet but maybe you can find a used one for cheaper. If you change the motor you’ll be looking at about the same anyhow.

Lock around, we hocked one up to a Friends challenge cutter, it was 450.00 from a scrapyard for industrial equipment.

Volkseigener Betrieb (VEB), company owned by the people, and not Vereinigte Betriebe.

Right, and HGR Industrial Surplus on Ebay has been a good source for such things in the past as well.

Thanks everyone. It is very interesting to learn about the effects of the war in regards companies that manufactured printing equipment.

I am still interested in the guillotine. It seems like a very rugged machine and simple enough for me to understand how it works and potentially be able to maintain it myself.

i will stay clear of the single phase motors. Thanks for the advice. Here is a photo of the machine itself. https://www.dropbox.com/s/5er0log0ju6tawu/perfecta.JPG?dl=0


Hi, I have an old user handbook for a Johne Perfecta 42 inch guillotine, looks similar to yours but no hand wheel at the top so I am thinking would not be much use to you but let me know if it is.


here are some pictures from the handbook

image: SAM_0129.JPG


image: SAM_0130.JPG


image: SAM_0131.JPG


Thanks John. It is very similar.

Is the manual very long? are you able to scan it?

Merry Christmas,

If you contact me via Briar press with your address I will post it to you it is 30 pages plus cover.


thank you John. I appreciate that very much.

Hi everybody,
Leo, do you have a manual for the perfecta.
We have also a perfecta without a manual.
Can you give me a support?
Or is there someone else who has got a manual for the perfecta?


As you are rightly saying its was usually called ‘Johne’ Perfecta. So if you try the St Brides Library for a manual, also look under ‘Victory Kidder’, because they were the UK sales agents for this (and other foreign machines) and thats why the machine has a VK logo on. There used to be folk who were called printers engineers, and within that gang
Frederick Walls & Sons, who were the London agents for Greig Guillotines of Edinburgh, employed a very, very short person, one Reg, who could and did walk about under the table to adjust the back gauge screw thread nut. He had wonderful tales about being in pantomime every Christmas!.

PS re Perfecta’s
if you don’t get the the back gauge parallel to the knife AND both side walls at a true 90 degrees ( both ways, i.e. to the knife and to the table) you will NEVER get good register in your printing.

Derek foster read this

Typenut, VeB stands for Volks eigener Betrieb (Publicly Owned Enterprise, the main legal form of industrial enterprise in East Germany.) You might try contacting the Printing Museum in Leipzig and check if they have got any manuals!