Samuel Perry (1865–1930), a Shropshire-born engineer moved his Adelaide workshop to Mile End in 1912 and from 1915–27 also owned a plant at Gawler to the north of Adelaide, which produced locomotives and rolling stock. During the Second World War, the firm took a major role in manufacturing munitions components and established a reputation as a defence manufacturer.
Expansion continued after the war, both at Mile End and at a new heavy steel fabricating plant at Whyalla on Eyre Peninsula. Merging with Johns and Waygood in 1966, during the 1980s and 1990s the company had several owners, including Boral and Pope Electrical, and became a non-core company in their portfolios. Much weakened, Perry’s continued producing significant components for engineering, mining and defence interests, but was placed in receivership in May 2000.