Letterpress, Projects

A New Addition…

I bought another press today, and with the help of a very kindly friend and his van we managed to manhandle and manoeuvre it back to the garage printshop. It is by far the heaviest thing I’ve had to shift.

It was spotted lurking behind the bins outside a local printers and after a quick recce to see if it was worth pursuing, telephone calls were made, cash (a very small amount) was offered and accepted and we were not long in realising that getting the thing back was going to hurt.

It is covered in muck and surface rust – it had been standing outside for months, possibly years – but appears to be very solid, and solidly stuck too!

It measures approximately 85cm (33 inches) to the top of the nut, is 48cm (19 inches) wide between the feet and 43cm (17 inches) deep. The handles and shafts protrude beyond this, and there is a lever arm missing that fits onto the  bar at the bottom right. The chap who sold it to me thinks that the lever may still be around and will let me know if he finds it. I will have to get one made if not.

The lever was pulled down (like a one-armed bandit) to raise the lower platen. The height of the boxy upper platen could be adjusted by turning the wheel on the very top, and the box itself was heated by natural gas – this press was used for foil blocking.

I was told that in 1953 this press was used to foil block the Dulux logo onto 20,000 catalogues! One by one!

I have taken some photos of the undersides to see if there were any manufacturing marks. I couldn’t find any, but may discover something as I clean it up.

The feet are elegantly shaped with bolt holes. The lever should slide onto the squared off end of the central shaft. If I have to make one, this type of fitting makes the specifications easier for me.

These holes suggest that at some point there would have been a manufacturers plate riveted here. This gives me absolutely nothing to go on if I am to find out anything about it.

A closer inspection showed that there was something fixed under the top platen. A bit of shuffling around on the floor and a good sharp push on the lower bed revealed this forme – the last job this press did. This is quite exciting!

Unfortunately, everything is truly rusted tight and refused to budge. Out with the penetrating oil…

I liberally sprayed anything that looked like it could or might move. Another couple of days of this and there may be some movement. My first task is to get the nut off the top and remove the wheel. If I can get some of the oil into main thread and get the top platen moving I will be happy.

For now.

If anyone knows anything about this press please get in touch.


3 thoughts on “A New Addition…

  1. Hi Jake, no – those guys are trying to sell the entire business – a bit too much for me!

    This was from a little place on the back of an industrial estate…

    Just finished a little work on it – Will post shortly…

  2. I would like to purchase a book blocking press like the one you have. If you know where I can purchase one please contact me at supreme shoes@msn.com
    Best Regards,
    Darick DuMaurier

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