Help identify 2 presses!

Hi All. First press off the rank is a weird one. I put an advert in the paper and a guy called up to say he’s got one. He didn’t know anything about it, and i’m relatively new to the letterpress game… so here’s the press:

It looks a bit like a regular offset one colour press to me, and there’s more rollers than I’ve seen on letterpresses, but I’ve only really seen more little ones online, than big ones so I wasn’t sure at all. (The 3 massive motors just thrown on top didn’t really help!) I couldn’t get it away from the wall to see behind it to see if there was a name plate, so all I’ve really got is rough dimensions and that it’s fitted with a Mercedes name plate. It’s got a vacuum pump fitted. The big wheel on the front has an M embossed into it, and the old guy who owns it said that was probably a centrifugal clutch. The rest, is a mystery.

Is it even a letterpress? Any idea what model?

Question number 2.

I just bought the following on ebay, the owner didn’t know much about it, but looking at the manuals hosted here on Briar press it looks like a Adana 5x3 is that correct?

image: Adana_1.JPG


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The cylinder press has a lot of the look of an ATF Little Giant, which was a 12x18 flat-bed cylinder letterpress. The long arm on the upper side is not a Little Giant feature, though. I can’t see where there would be two other cylinders so I’m doubtful it’s an offset press. You’d have to peer inside through the openings on the sides to see if there is a flat bed that travels back and forth under the cylinder. I Googled “Mercedes printing press” and found nothing, but that doesn’t mean much. Not much help, I’m afraid. The little platen is pretty likely an Adana based on a comparison photo I couldn’t attach.

The little press is an Adana. Depending on the chase size it is either a 5x3; a High Speed #1 or a High Speed #2.

Thanks for your comments!

Ad Lib Press: I wish I took more shots inside it to help identify it. I couldn’t really see the paper path (mostly because of the motors on top, but also because it was covered with half an inch of dust). If it were you, would you risk it for $200 and buy it and try to figure it out after the fact? I could take another drive and try and take more of an internal shot down through the workings maybe?

Platenpress: thanks for that, that was what I suspected.

If you could get it and the three motors for the $200 I’d go for it — you could probably get that much back for the motors alone. Seriously though, if the press has been outdoors long it may not be restorable, though it doesn’t look in bad condition otherwise than some rust. However, moving it may be pretty difficult — I had a Little Giant and that thing was heavy! It’s possibly around 2000 lbs or more. If you think of getting it, try to turn the handwheel to see if things are seized up. Printers typically dowse their equipment in oil so that may have protected it. I doubt if the handwheel works through a centrifugal clutch — if I remember right the Little Giant had a variable-speed pulley driving the mechanism so you could adjust the speed, and the handwheel just turned the press over.

That is quite different from a Little Giant, but it does seem to be a small letterpress cylinder press. It appears to feed the sheet under the cylinder; might be a stop-cylinder design, definitely an import.
Here’s a Mercedes cylinder, but a different model:

Thanks again guys.

The rust appears to be fairly cosmetic. It looks like it had been doused in grease before storage in that sense it looks reasonable. The flywheel turns, although because of everything on top I didn’t want to turn it too much fear of damaging anything. Those motors on top are a worry, although nothing seemed to be dented by them.

Might have to drive back and have another look, move the motors and take some more photos of the guts of the unit. It’s very foreign to me at this size so the advice from you guys is invaluable.

parallel_imp: Press is in Australia, so it’s definitely imported!

Edit: Baby unit was confirmed as 5x3 by the owner! Arranged to pick it up early next month!

Bill Elliget (of the website) sent me this picture of the Mercedes Nova, shown in a 1937 ad from the British Printer magazine. It certainly appears to be the same press but shown from the operator side. It really is a unique design, as the ad says. The sheet is fed under the cylinder, and there is a suction delivery arm which carries the printed sheet to the delivery pile over the inking section.

image: mercedesnova.gif


Wow parallel imp I think you’ve hit the nail on the head! It does bear a striking resembalance to that! From the general look of it I would hazard a guess and say it’s a good few years younger than that model, maybe 1950’s(?), but the general layout seems very similar!

Would i be mad to try take this one on? My mechanical knowledge at the moment is of a standard suitable to keep an old motorbike on the road, but this looks like quite the project!

It’s just rotting in a shed at the moment, so at the very least I could clean it up and preserve it I guess. Otherwise it’s headed for scrap so I suppose I should! (Can you hear me convincing myself it’s a good idea! ;) )

Hi there, I can confirm that this is indeed a Mercedes stop cylinder. It was one of the machines that I served my apprenticeship on. Although it was never used much at the time it was generally a good machine and in a small company which had a Heidelberg Cylinder, it was decided that the Mercedes had to go.
To answer your basic questions, yes it is letterpress. It’s a stop cylinder. The paper was lifted off the top of the pile and gently brought down the feed table where it was registered. Just before this, the operator lowered the cylinder by means of moving the impression lever from right to left. The sheet was gripped by the (stopped) cylinder and the bed was pushed out gripping and turning the cylinder and thus printing the sheet. The sheet was picked up by the chain driven delivery grippers and was stopped at a point where the operator could inspect the sheet for a second before being carried on up to the delivery pile. Then the process started again.
It’s the only photos of the machine that I’ve been able to find that are close to the version that I printed on. The one I used was green and the chain delivery grippers were based in a frame on either side. The guides for the feed and delivery pile were large chromed magnets and at the delivery grippers end of the machine there was a plastic guard protecting the operator.
The bed on the machine slid along in the tracks - there were no bearings for it to run on. If you lifted the front guard down this allowed the forme rollers to be taken out and stored on the grooves.
It would be really good to see this machine restored and running.

Hi - I agree with Kevin. I also used two of these presses when I was a letterpress apprentice. The Nova model preceded the Mercedes Glockner version - which is the one that you have rusting away. The model that Kevin describes was the Mercedes Mercolour press that took a sheet 18” x 23” and was the version with chain delivery and ‘push-through’ delivery trays - enabling non-stop running. The Nova was sold in London by A. Edler Ltd, on City Road but the later versions, the Glocker and the Mercolour were sold in the UK by Thos. E. Knight & Co. of Penge, London. The presses were manufactured in Amsterdam.