Press manuals: parts, care, and instruction

Many users have made inquiries about manuals, charts and other instructional material for printing and equipment . Some of this information is available in different places around the Internet, but finding it may not always be easy. We have started a list of links to information on some of the presses and equipment that are more frequently still in use. The list is in the help section under ‘Presses and printing,’ Press manuals - parts, care, and instruction.

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Thank you Elizabeth!

…. anyone have any idea where to find a C&P MANUAL— not just a part list or oil diagrams. I’ve been looking for weeks, and i’m about to go crazy here thinking they NO LONGER EXIST. Just purchased a C&P 8x12 new series.

any leads would be helpful (like if you have one and can photocopy it for me?!) haha

ps: thank you very much for the link.. extreamly helpful, Elizabeth!

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a manual for the 8x12 C&P presses (other than the oil chart and parts list), but they probably did exist. I do have a copy of the manual issued for the Pilot Press.

John H

Hi John— thanks for the help. Looks I’ll be looking for the rest of my life. ;)

I too am new to a C&P 8x12 (old series) and also looking for any literature to do with the press. I was wondering if anyone could tell me what the exact roller diameter is supposed to be? I have several shafts with gooey messes on them! The press came with a wooden roller mould (not sure how accurate it is after all these years), and somewhere I have a pdf that describes how to make gelatine rollers so that is a future challenge.

most companies that cast rollers would know the size, the 8x12 is a common size. good luck.

I’m looking for a manual for a Vertical Miehle V-36
Thank you Elizabeth

I am looking for a manual or even some reference on a 8x10 challenge tredle press I have in exceptional condition. Someone restored it to be a display piece and everything woorks. The problem is I cant find anything on the net as to its origin. Even Challenge is of no help.

Ok so I got at the press. The back strap says Gordon Challenge. There appeasrs to be no serial number but the size is stamped on the frame as 8x12
The chase is only 8x10
Manuaks and chases would be helpful as well as rollers it only has two and requires 3
How do these presses print? Everthing is in good order.
What is it worth?

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the press should print well with only two rollers, the third roller is not necessary to print with, sometimes it does help, i have a 10x15 and seldom use the third roller, but i only print small forms on it. hard to put a price on these presses, the prices seem to be all over the place. why would it have 8x12 on it if its not ? good luck dick g.

I have the same press, but you luckily have the name plates still intact. Your chase may be the wrong size from another press, as mine is 8x12.
You can print simple text and line art fine with 2 rollers, but ink coverage is much better with 3 when printing larger illustrations with solid areas.
I think Challenge Gordon presses are a bit hard to find. I posted an inquiry to find out what mine was a few years back, and nobody was able to identify it.

Oh, I do have a bit of documentation on the press. patent applications for certain parts and such, since I made a big effort to identify mine a while back. Drop me a line and maybe we can trade some information.

C&P Manuals -

As far as I know, C&P never published a “manual” for operation of its hand-fed presses. Manuals were published to cover the intricacies of the automatic feed systems, but the general assuption during most of Chandler & Price’s production years was that the pressman who would operate a hand-fed platen press would be trained in school, through the union or by apprenticing to an older printer.

Even the C&P Pilot literature is not really a manual of operation, but again, more of a sales too, and a setup & maintenance reference.

There are many good books on platen presswork, but these were published as high-school or trade school text books. Most of them do indeed focus on the C&P Platen, but they were not published by C&P.

Aside from Kelsey’s little “Printer’s Guide” which is indeed a manual for a table-top platen press, and Adana’s Guide to Operation - both published for hobbyists and their table-top presses, I do not believe that you will find an operator’s manual published by the manufacturer for any commercial-sized hand-fed platen presses.

Heidelberg did publish a comprehensive manual of platen press printing technique as it relates to makeready and operation of the relatively complex Heidelberg Windmill line of automatic feed platen presses. Heidelberg also published periodic pamphets on special letterpress subjects such as die-cutting and embossing and foil stamping.

But as far as Chandler & Price - that popular parts list may indeed be the extent of their technical literature for the hand-fed presses.

Thank you for the thread. I purchased what turns out to be a Baltimorean (somewhere in the 10 to 13 range, based on the photos I’ve seen). It hasn’t been shipped yet, but between buying and receiving the press, I’ve learned enough to know that I have a fair amount of work before it is useful. Has anyone seen a manual, especially with an exploded diagram? If not, is there a more common or better documented brand that I can reference?

Obviously, I am one of the new and clueless folk. Any suggestions you have would be appreciated.

I am working on a challenge Gordon. It has a lot of missing parts . So what I need help with is finding a parts list or an operators manual. I believe it is a late 1880,s or late 1890,s. Any kind of info will help. Also need to get ahold of parts and rollers. Anything at this point will help.

hi, my uncle gave me a hohner letterpress (D i guess) as a gift but it is in pieces, the whole machine is in pieces, i have been searching a manual to built it, but i have not found anything. i only found a picture but a picture isn´t enough. can anybody post pictures o a page to find it?
pd. sorry for my english, i am from peru

The only photo of the D that we have at the moment is the thumbnail at Hohner Model D. Don’t know if this will help.

Please help me. I have been asked to restore an old Miehle Cylinder press that is really bad shape. Since I haven’t ever run one of these, I have no idea where to start. I need any information (parts list, instruction manual etc…) that anybody out there has on this press. It is the PONY model and I believe that it is a very early model. I have many pictures and have included one here. Please help me as this press will be displayed in a museum and I really want to get it running. Thank

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For the Miehle you may be interested in checking out this book:

I am not sure which models it covers, but I do think the Pony is a two revolution press. My grandfather used to have one of these. I wish he was still around to offer move advice!

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Hi Eliizabeth,

I am in the process of scanning a Showcard manual. I have a parts & description manual and some loose pages. I am not sure how large to make the files. As b&w line art at 600 dpi, each page is 7.5 megs. I can resize. What size do you reccomend for files size? I am posting an example of a general instructions page.

Mike Day
Long Day Press
Sunnyvale CA

Long Day Press/images file

One page instruction for Showcard press. More to come.

Long Day Press

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Here are some pre-1960 Kluge auto feeder manuals on ebay.

I’ve bought one, I’ll see what I can do about scanning it once it arrives.

zandokan, the Hohner tabletop press is one of the best! Look around a bit- most small platen presses are a lot alike. Look at Pilot presses. Those are good ones too. Once you understand how they work, rebuilding yours will be easier.

==Marjorie or email: the3toad “symbol”

tambien entiendo espanol; ¿tal vez mejor para Vd?

I have been looking for this book:

How to Print. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Model Printing Press
by J. W. Daughaday & Co., Manufacturers.
Philadelphia, circa 1874. Paper, 8vo.

I was hoping to find a copy, even a digital scan would do for me. I have searched and searched. It does exist in some libraries, but nowhere around me unfortunately.

I even found listing in Google books but no text or scans as of yet.

I did find this online manual for the Model press. It makes no reference to Daughaday, but was produced by R.W. Tunis Mfg co which claims to produce the Model press 25 years after its invention. I am sure some will appreciate it.

We buy all of Parts Manuals from Pressworks (972)564-4229

Has anyone ever come across a manual for a Vandercook #2? Pretty basic machine, no inking system, no grippers…I’ve been told there is no manual, but can’t help but think they must have published something…? Thanks for any assistance!

Kudos to Ray Nichols at Lead Graffiti! I recently relied on his expertise to complete a set of 2” Bradley wooden type I have that was missing a number of sorts. He took scans of my existing characters to properly space the new ones on the blocks & produced beautiful wooden type to complete my font. Definitely the source for high quality replacement sorts of wooden type and new full fonts as well.

I’m told that;

The Practice of Printing , Letterpress and Offset
by Ralph W. Polk and Edwin W. Polk

is the user manual for C&P platens as it was the material most commonly used to teach with from the 1930’s onward.

So useful as I just got my first adana 5x3 press today!

If anyone is interested I have a kelsey manual in pdf file don’t hesitate to email me.

A little late for this, but in addition to “The Practice of Printing” by Polk, I also found “Elementary Platen Presswork - revised” by Ralph & Edwin Polk:

There is also a 2007 paperback reprint!

A handy little volume (5”x8”), it offers basic coverage of the entire letterpress and pressroom processes, with approx 50 of its 140 pages touching on actual platen press operation.

A nice addition to any printer’s library, it includes a considerably more detailed view of the platen operation than “Practice of Printing”. I highly recommend it.

Manual for Magnetic Sign Press, on Flicker. Looks by the grid sheets to be 14x20, a commom size with Showcard and Morgan Sign Presses.

Anything available for Charles Brand tabletop etching press information?

I am looking for a manual for a Soldan Proofing press - I am mainly after the roller configuration and ‘set-up’ details.

Many thanks

I photographed the pages of this

The Miehle Vertical
Presswork Lessons for Students of Printing

and host it here as a PDF.

The Miehle Vertical (97MB PDF)
Presswork Lessons for Students of Printing
Carnegie Institute of Technology Pittsburgh, PA
Undated, but probably 1920s
OCR included in the PDF, searchable text.

Thanks to Tim “shrdlu” Fay, Esq. for the lend of this invaluable book.

if any one needs a parts book or an operators manual for any of the Heidelberg letterpress machines contact whittenburg inc, we have them on disc. 10x15, 13x18, K line letterpress and S line letterpress. 615 212 0015

can anyone please help. I have a Ludlow, think it is a model M (flat top) I have a big problem with it splashing all over when casting, and this causes the ejector plate to stick and the slug cools off before being ejected, and then the safety pin brakes. I can not reverse the crank, as all is FROZEN up.

I also have a problem with hollow slugs.

Can anyone tell me where on the internet to find a user manual for the Ludlow

Any Info on the C&P Model N ??
the serial # is 1027.

I can’t seem to find any manual OR serial number listing anywhere.

Update! David emailed me with an online copy of C&P Model N press. It was recently put online. yay!

I can’t seem to find a copy of a manual for a Challenge Proof Press model 1425C. Nothing on the Vanderblog or on Boxcar Press … I even received a response from the Challenge website letting me know that they didn’t have it. Does anywhere have any ideas of where else to look or have one to share?

I’m not sure that the Challenge 1425C is complicated enough to warrant a manual. The best comparable instructions I think you will find are those for the Poco Proof Press.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Thanks, Daniel! :)

Hi all, I am looking for a part to my antique Paragon cutter. I dont know the name of it and can’t seem to find it anywhere on the internet with my current searches.

Does anyone know what this part is called? If other cutters or presses use this type of piece? The threads are stripped after 150 years of use!

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If you take the part and the lead screw which goes through it to a mechanic, they may be able to find a suitable Nut to fit the screw which could be attached to the fitting that is worn out. It would take some measurement and someone who knew what they were doing to specify the correct thread, size and angle which would work for you. Such fittings are available as per:

I had a similar problem with a similar part on another machine years ago. I found a good nut that fit the thread, then cleaned the old mount well, sanded it smooth and mounted the nut in place using 2-part automotive epoxy.

Yes, it seemed hokey at the time, and I had planned to weld it in place “some day”, but that was well over ten years ago; I use the mount regularly, and it is still holding up. Don’t be afraid of using epoxy; it can work well - just be sure to use plenty of it - and not as a “glue”, but as a putty - fully encasing the nut and the bracket. Once it dries in place, it holds up well.

Besides, if it does eventually fail, you can always take it to a welder.

Would there be any intrest in a old Kelsey catalog from about 1960. Cover is roach eaten but the rest is readable. I have put it in computer memory and can transfer it as photoes.

Oh well I can’t send the files to large sorry.

Old grey printer…
I have found and i dont know from whence it came a copy of “The care and adjustment of the higth speed MIEHLE.
Priced at three shillings ,published by linotype 1954 .
I have a feeling it does not belong to me and there fore consider it a permanent loan .
As i dont have a horizontal flatbed miehle there is no reason why you couldnt borrow this for the purpose of copying for use in your endeavours ,i think this is the same machine as you posted here some time ago , get in touch and it can be mailed .

Was there a manual for a Vandercook Universal 1? Thanks, Neil

Butch Baranowski was kind enough to send a scan of Chandler & Price promotional literature, which includes some descriptions, dimensions and specifications for 8x12, 10x15 and 12x18.

The file can be viewed or downloaded from google docs:

Please PM if you have any problems accessing the file.

Edit: the online document may look low-rez in a browser, unless zoomed. Downloading the document can provide full rez page-views.

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Please I donot need to learn the theme of automization at the moment. Only want to know is the machine automatic or manual ?