Miehle Vertical V-45

I’m thinking about buying a Miehle Vertical V-45. I read hat this is rotary cylinder press… does this mean the printing surface is curved or that the paper is on a cylinder and rolls over a flat print surface?

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That’s a bit of a big step…but I hear they are very good presses.

The paper is on the cylinder. The press takes a chase like any other press, though you will have to do some things differently with respect to lockups from what I hear. The press can exert a lot more pressure per square inch than a platen press like a windmill or Kluge. I remember some old thread about the relative pressures of platens cylinder machines and engraving presses.

I’ve never run one, but verticals have always been interesting. If I remember, Arion in SF has some fairly unique european verticals.

Thanks DBurnette, I’m going to look at the press tomorrow, I found a few pictures of the same the net after I posted,Looks like a great machine but it might me too much machine for me though… I’ve had experience on vandercooks and some lever operated platen presses but nothing nearly as complex.

So that the misunderstanding is not spread, the Miehle Vertical is a flabed-cylinder press, not a rotary cylinder press.
Nor does Arion Press have any Verticals, though their (German) Victoria and (American) Laureate parallel-impression platens might be mistaken for something different.

hmm…I suspect I was looking at the Victoria…compact footprint, and I was only in that part of the shop for a brief minute before that large miller caught my eye.

I would try to find some operators to talk to before you jump on this. I passed up a free one last month from a broker I know. He told me you either love them or hate them. The chase size is appealing and so is the footprint. I hear they are tweaky but good if you are one of the few to learn to operate them well. Check out shops or other people your size and see what they run. Most start hand fed or proof, then windmill, then cylinder. I can’t seem to find a shop currently running Miehles for letterpress. I sure someone will chime in but most don’t. I have learned the hard way with old tweaky equipment and now follow the ‘herd’. Can’t wait to get a windmill to replace the kluge!

I will tell you that I firmly believe that they are superior to the windmill. A bold statement I know. I think that we get way too caught up in the wooden handles, the beautiful black paint and the shiny chrome of the windmill. Of course, next to a kluge, the windmill is a gift from god.

The Vertical is not so beautiful, I admit. But at what age do we as men stop dating the girl that is skinny and looks like a model and marry the girl that is beautiful in her own way, can cook us some dinner,has some curves, and won’t let us down?

The Meihle Vertical, I believe is the perfect press. It pains me that I see so many being given away for free, I hope that someone takes them and they are not scrapped.

They are basically automated Vandy’s. A vertical cylindar press that feeds itself at 3600 impressions an hour (the original v36) 4500 an hour (the v45) or 5000 (v50). The registration is so tight that you can do 4 color cmyk photos like newspapers. I doubt you could get a windmill to do that! The chase is huge, their footprint is tiny, they are soo cheap to buy, they purr when they print. I wish you could all fall in love with these machines and save them like you do with all the other more popular presses out there.

@century printer

yes I saw the Miehle yesterday, was a great machine, unfortunately I wouldn’t know where to start working with it so I went with a C&P w/ a kluge feeder they were also selling. The Miehle’s pressman had retired so there wasn’t anyone to give me a crash course in it’s use.

I figured the C&P’s are more common and getting help, training, parts, might be a little easier… now I have just got to get the thing out of there…. ha

Hi, as a youth I ran both C&P w/ Kluge Feeder and a Miehle V-50. For one press I think you made the right decision with the C&P/Kluge setup because of the sheer versatility.
For a 2nd Press the Miehle is great. The Miehle is easy to setup and run. The modest footprint is another advantage. Very little make-ready was ever necessary. Speed was controlled by a series and interchangeable pulleys. It ran all day long at 3500 - 4000iph and all you did was add and retrieve paper and add ink to the very accessible ink font below the feed apparatus. I didn’t like to run above that speed since the noise/rattle/shake factor seemed to increase 4 fold above those speeds It printed 3 ¼ x 5 ½ to 14 x 20. It was ideal for printing small pamphlets, programs, booklets etc. For 5 ½ x 8 ½ booklets w/ 11x17 paper we might print 4 pages at a time, work and turn.
The V-45 dates from 1931. I might holdout for a post war V-50 if you ever do decide to get a 2nd press.
Box Car Press has both a Miehle V-50 Manual and Parts List in PDF

century printer,
Thanks for the advice. I have never talked to anyone that has run one. Can you score or perf off the sheet like a kluge. Are there any limitations or drawbacks compared to a windmill? Have you run them both? You have peaked my interest now!

Yes, you can bleed perf and score on the Miehle. Die cutting is also easy. We had a thin steel cylinder blanket for those kinds of operations. There are no pins; instead there are grippers on the cylinder that carry the paper, so left, right and bottom edges are open for bleed operations. As a feature, especially with color, we might bleed a 12-18pt rule left, right and bottom. You can do this on the Kluge setup as well.
Regarding Windmills, yes I ran a late 50s Blackball during the same period. It is a different animal than the Miehle, hard to compare.
They are a wonderful, highly engineered machine. The quietness is what struck me first. Starting on C&Ps when I was 12, by the time I was 22 the clink, clank, clunk of the presses was an expected part of a Print Shop, But in comparison these new German presses were ever so smooth and quiet. They are a great press but do have limitations, primarily the left edge feed, but that is easy to work around.
For a 1 press shop the C&P/Kluge is perfect. I worked during high school at such a tiny shop and we printed everything.
Today, for letterpress, I would maybe have a lineup of a 12x18 C&P NS, 10x15 Windmill Redball and a Miehle V-50. If I had the room adding a 24x36 Babcock flatbed cylinder press would round it out. You can print an old-time full size newspaper on it. I worked in a shop where, on such a machine, we produced a 4 day a week, 4 page “bulldog” size newspaper, 4 pages on, work and turn.

Hi Dick, Thanks for all of your knowledgeable words, good to know I’m starting in the right direction. I can’t wait to get this in my shop and get it running, it’s very exciting.

I do agree with the above comments. And a meihle would be a great second press, what you bought sounds like a great main press.

I’ve been running a V-50 for 23 years. I was trained on it by the person we bought our business from. He had 50+ years experience on the Meihle. I think it’s a great machine. We also had a V-36 which we sold for a 2 color press 20 years ago. We printed hecto-masters (Ditto carbon forms) on them.

We stopped printing on the Vertical about 15 years ago but still use it for perfing, scoring and die cutting.

Great machines! If you know of anyone with air pump diaphragms, I’m always looking.

v45 vs v50
A word of note the v45 has a sheet size of 13.5 x 20 as opposed to the v 50’s 14 x 20. Very handy to keep in mind if you are running from 28x40 parent stock. I had a v45 and ran perf runs of over 100k on a regular basis .Also locked up numbering machines and poly plates at the same time for other jobs. my oldest son watched my v45(feed is like a grasshopper-sometimes nickname of verticals) run while in his playpen. It may have helped him walk at an earlier age , he used to rock back and forth in time with the press.

Just about to get the ‘new’ V-36 online.
Picked up a set of very passable nearly new rollers, thanks to Mr Fay of Anamosa.
Tim runs a V-50, I believe.
I’ll report on how the boot-up goes.
Maybe by next week!

I’m very excited to have a jobbing cylinder in the shop (came as a toss-on with our ‘new’ black-ball Windmill, the second in the shop). I’ve always loved the impression that the Vandercook makes on high-caliper damped sheets, can’t wait to run some heavy coverage on the Miehle.

One thing I’m not confident of, and would love to get some feedback, is the ability to hit register. On the Heidelberg, I can, and do, run the sheet back through the press and get perfect registration on the prior impression.

Can the Miehle be expected to approach this accuracy?



The Miehle is capable of dead on register. I sold mine in 95 so the following may not be 100% accurate. There are a series of cylinder grippers that must be adjusted correctly in that only the ones that register the ouside edge of the sheet are set as guides the others are used to grip only.If you look at them you will see that the are round with a flat side. They can turn so that the round guides the sheet and the flat grips. If a centre gripper has the round side hit the sheet it could rock. If you can find a manual get it they are well written. Good luck.

Very informative thread. Now I’m quite intrigued about the verticals. I was told the Heidelberg, Giants and I guess any other horizontal had the advantage that a change can be made to the form without removing it from the bed.

Does the vertical have a push registration like the Heidelberg? How difficult is it to rigg them through a doorway or down stairs?

I got my V-36 through a 42” door. I believe it is much too heavy to consider a staircase. It does have push register and is very accurate. The perfect complement to my Kluge.


Miehle verticals are great presses as several have mentioned. I have run 4-color process, plus a run of nearly 200,000 on one. And we recently brought my press up from its basement home to move to a new location—it can be done, but they are heavy. My press came from George Mills’ shop in Ft. Smith. I run wood and metal type, photopolymer, and regular photoengravings—but proper lockup is critical and I hate to say it but most of the lockups I see pictured on the flickr letterpress site and a number here on Briar are atrocious, so learn the basics before tackling a production press.

I don’t mean to embarrass anyone if this is their photo, but speaking of aforementioned bad lockups, I was sent this photo some time ago. I know nothing of its origins…it could even be a joke.

Perhaps it might be good for someone to start a thread with some pictures of good lockup examples, especially given that the best practices and proper quoins for a Miehle are going to be quite a bit different than for a pilot.

image: 102272168_52d9e68dfe.jpg


That’s some zany lockup voodoo magic!


If you go with a vertical, let me know. I have several parts and instruction books as well as parts for them. 972-415-3370

I’m chiming-in months after the main discussions here, but really appreciate all the information and advice about the Miehle.

Does anyone have any comment about how the Miehle can handle varying calipers of paper? The V-50 manual lists a tolerance of .002 to .015, but I’m wondering if anyone has experience with thicker stock? I realize the obvious limitations due to the cylinder (paper needs to curve around the cylinder) and automation (limitations of the vacuum feed), but am curious about workarounds or just plain “this worked for me.”

Thanks, everyone, in advance.


it will run the thick lettra 220 no prob, and I run thick watercolour paper as well. if you get any curving of the paper, just set the stack under a little weight overnight to flatten back out.

again, my favorite press, pure beauties!

Century Printer, I’m very impressed to hear that you’re able to run Lettra 220
Very cool
At this point my V-36 is still offline with a short in the (OEM) GE motor. Need to get it rewound, or something.
When it was turning over, I’d have a heck of a time getting even bond sheets to feed properly. Seemed like the suction would be lost too early, the sheet would drop before reaching the grippers and would end up going in crooked etc etc
Maddening, since it’s really hard to actually SEE what’s going on with the cylinder turning, and everything.
What sort of symptoms will a leaking air-pump cause?
The pump SEEMS to be pushing plenty of blast (and will pick up those bond sheets no problem), but ???

MIke Conway, Thanks for the note about registration.
I’m looking forward to being able to see what it can do.
I regularly run stacks twice through the Windmill, even a halftone, and get dot-perfect double imprinting.

Thanks all!
Great to get the scoop on this amazing old press!

PS, DBurnette. That lockup is certainly a joke, but unlikely that it’s an intentional joke! Wow….

inside the cylinder is a adjustment for that problem, my 50 did that for a long time, it would drop the sheet early on the feed board, then the next sheet on top of it. finally called in a mechanic, (now retired) he said show me whats going on, when i did he turned the cylinder and made the adjustment with his fingers. the press ran good after that. good luck dick g.

Thanks to Mike for the information regarding V50 grippers. I had always wondered why they were two sided - the previous owner didn’t know or didn’t tell.

My V50 is used for die cutting, perforating and scoring. A few years ago I bought new rollers and tried to print on it, but my roller journals were so jacked up, the rollers were impossible to set. I lost hope and sold the rollers. Now I am kind of itching to try printing again.

My journals have stripped out set screws, missing teeth on the gear and worn out ends - If anyone is planning on using a Miehle Vertical for printing, check out the journals first.

As I type this I am die cutting 18up rosette backers out of 12X18 15pt Carolina - The Miehle just purrs. Just keep it oiled up…

Before you purchase new rollers again be sure of the sizes of the form rollers. I have one V-50 that uses 2 -2” rollers and one that uses 1- 2” and 1 - 1-3/4”. I am not sure when the change came about. The older press has a diaphram pump and uses the 2 rollers the same diameter. the other press has a centrifical pump, other that they seem to be the same.

The purpose of the flat side of the gripper on a Vertical is to
run heavy stock the round side is for lighter stocks. I hope this clears up some confusion.

Hi, Nathan—

Recently I ran some open file folders on a V-50. The gripper edge, having been die-cut by the converter while folded, wasn’t straight, but had a slight v-shape, which made it rock on the gripper buttons and sometimes fail to seal. I wish I’d remembered about the turnable grippers; turning some out of the way, and trying to feed to just two might have helped. I’ve heard that this trick helps with deckle-edged stock as well. Thanks for the reminder.


Vertical grippers
Did not notice in manual about thick thin stock and grippers However there are different shoes with varying air hole size and patterns that are changed depending on weight of stock( If you don’t have the ones for light stock a bit of scotch tape can be used to reduce suction ). All grippers in contact with lead edge of sheet will bite and hold. However only 2 round edges should be used as front lays the rest should be turned so flat faces the lead of the sheet. The press will still run, feed and deliver if they all face flat or round however registration will never be 100%This method of only using 2 grippers for front lay is common knowledge toHeidelberg cylinder operators..

The Meihle Vertical is a great press, much underrated and misunderstood. It is a wonderful machine that will run circles around windmills and kluges. I’m a small trade printer doing letterpress work for offset printers in the area. I run 4 V50 X’s, a 13x18 windmill and 2 kluges. Each press is better at some things than the other presses. The Miehle will run a 4000 to 5000 iph all day long on the right type of work. The kluges run all the foil stamping and embossing work, the windmill runs mostly diecutting, while the Verts run all day long on imprinting, numbering perforating scoring and die cutting, as well as printing. It is very easy to run 2 or 3 Verts at the same time. I yearly run a 40 skip 10’s numbering machines at one time on a run or 25,000 sheets. It eats numbering jobs with it’s eyes closed!!!. I can’t say enough nice things about Verts. They go for little money, take up a small footprint and are the best by for for all run of the “hook” general commercial work. A old friend of my mine (who has since passed away) would tell me the story that in the 1950’s he was working for Heidelberg driving the Heidelberg Mobile Van traveling from town to town selling Windmills. He would pull into a town find the print shop, approach the shop owner and offer to run a job for him on the Windmill which he had in the van. He sold lots of presses doing this. But he also told me the first thing he would look for upon entering a shop was what type of presses was the shop running. If they had C & P’s, Kellys’ or Kluges he knew he would sell the printer a Windmill, But if the shop had a Miehle Vert. it was almost an impossible sell. Back in the 40’s and 50’s you were at the top of the heap if you had a Vert. in your shop. Hope this helps.

great thread ;-)
Can’t wait to get my V36 cranking along!
Still skeptical about running Lettra 600gsm though.
May need better suction feet or something.