Identifying equipment and it’s value


We recently bought an old building, which used to be a newspaper office. It’s changed hands a few times since then, but everyone has left the guillotine paper cutter. Probably because it weighs a ton!

It is a Reliance Manufactured by Paul Schniedewend & Co. The blade measures 33”, cutting area is 28.5”.

It’s a beautiful old piece but we really have no need for it. I can’t find much info on the web about this piece, how can I assess it’s value?


image: IMG_6003.jpg


image: IMG_6002.jpg


Log in to reply   7 replies so far

Old cutters aren’t worth much even if you can find a buyer. I’ve got so many old cutters, down here in Little Rock, that I can’t sell, I could start a “paper cutter museum.” You don’t mention where the cutter is located. If you’re lucky, someone on this list might remove it for you.

John Horn

The cutter looks very nice if it is complete and if it works, but as John has indicated, these are very difficult to move and/or sell. As for value, some of the same information applies in our topic on Determining the value of a press.

You may wish to place an ad in the Letterpress Classifieds for some amount, best offer, or free, and perhaps there is someone nearby who is looking for a paper cutter and has the resources to move it. Remember that if your price is too high and you have to pay to have the press removed and scrapped, you could be looking at a much higher price than giving it away or taking a low offer. Better to have it saved and used.

It works, but the blade probably needs to be sharpened. I was thinking of it more as a museum/collection type purchase rather than someone buying it to actually use it! It looks nice in my computer repair shop with the Christmas decorations on it :)

We are in Logan, Iowa, about 50 miles from Omaha, NE. I have a feeling it’s been here so long for all those reasons listed!

Thanks for the links and info.

One other factor to contend with on the old cutters is that there are no “safety” devices on them and they are therefore technically illegal in most commercial shops. Very easy to loose fingers or a hand if you are not careful. Definitely not OSHA approved.

One more thought. Since you are relatively close to Omaha, try to contact someone (Denise Brady or Bonnie O’Connell) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Fine Arts Department. They have the Nebraska Center for the Book (or somesuch similar name) there and may be interested in the cutter, or at least know of someone in your neck of the woods that would like to get it. I believe that there are several letterpress studios/presses in that area, but they can definitely tell you more about that.

Foolproof is correct about the legality of operating the old lever-style cutters in a commercial shop. I once had to defend my shop from a “willful violation” from OSHA for using a 23” Schniedewend very similar to yours. In the end it was reduced to a warning only, but they still made me take it out of service.

The problem with it is that if you do not park the lever high enough at the end of your stroke, the lever will come down onto your head and the blade will drop with it…… Potentially this could result in the loss of consciousness, or perhaps a finger or two. For that reason, I would not recommend such a machine for others to use.

BUT that being said, I still think it’s a great old machine. I myself would use it for my own work.

if it works, it should be worth about $500-$650