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Little Adana - any information?

I have just bought a tiny Adana High Speed 1 (I think) from Ebay and am hoping to get it up and running again. It seems to move ok (but needs a good clean and some lubrication) but the platen does not fully return (nearly does) and subsequently the rollers don’t don’t return to the very bottom as the handle is raised. Is this a known issue? Does anyone have any suggestions? Also the gripper arm does not move back with the platen as the handle is raised so the rollers hit the gripper finger. I am guessing that there is a simple reason and solution to these issues, but this is my first press and I am eager to learn.

Does anyone have any information on this particular model - the 5x3 book on this website has been very useful so far - and can it be reliably dated somehow?

Many thanks.

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Give it all a good lube job and see if things don’t loosen up for you. There is always a problem with aluminum corrosion in a moist environment. You photo shows some steel parts which are rusted, so a liberal application of penetrating oil followed by running the press will loosen things up a bit. Add some standrad oil after you get it going as the penetrating lubricant is not enough to keep the parts functioning well.

Thanks for the encouragement jhenry, I’ll let you know if I get everything up and running again…

Hi Jhenry,
I have a number of these tiny machines. Yours is painted green which makes it quite old. The colour was later changed to red.
Without seeing your press it is not easy to guess what needs to be coached into action.Can you send a few more pics illustrating the problems or maybe contact me direct.
Briar Press will forward messages.
It would also help to know where you are, I am in Southern England.

Hi Mike, Thanks for your offers to help out. I will contact you directly with more images.

Thanks, Chris

Chris -

I’m in the middle of restoring a similar press right now - a 1932 Adana No 2 - 4x6. (okay, okay, they call it a “6-4”)

I found parts available in England both through Rex Weaver (sells Adana rollers on eBay) and The Caslon Company - current owner of the Adana Company.

They have some parts and a lot of information on these presses.

Taking this press apart to clean is not too difficult - but is important. As jhenry mentioned above, the “pot metal” (It’s not all aluminum) does corrode terribly - but cleans up well using a wire brush and variety of cleaners.

Here’s a page about the one I’m restoring:

I’ll be adding some photos and ‘restoration hints’ to this page as the project (slowly) progresses.

- Alan

Hey Alan, that looks great. I have taken mine apart and given it a good clean and new lubrication and it all is going reasonably well. I’ve had a few decent(?) prints that you can see here on my blog:

I did have some problems with the gripper arm but Mike Wilshire’s advice has sorted this out. I will be getting some new rollers pretty soon, and I think I will give my ink disc a polish like you have - mine is smooth and dull but appears to work, but I guess I’m just a sucker for a bit of bling! Seriously, does a shiny disc help at all?

Thanks, Chris

Chris -

The purpose of the ink table is to spread and store ink while you’re printing. It does not have to be shiny to do this, but it is important that it is flat and smooth. In my case, I polished Amanda’s as much because I could fit it into my lathe head and do it quickly as to make the restoration look better for Amanda. Plus, since the table had been damaged and was not level when I began the restoration, this final touch not only makes it look better but also assures me that it now is perfectly level - which is important.

So the short answer is no. It does not have to be shiny to work well, but at the same time, it really should be clean and level to do its job the best.

BTW - I did take a look at your blog and left a comment about the kerning issue raised by Stu as well as some pointers about setting your roller height and pressure.

Best of luck with this project. It looks as though you are certainly heading in the right direction.

- Alan

Many thanks for this information Alan. I genuinly didn’t know about about the shininess of the plate, but further prints have shown that the plate is flat and smooth and working as it should.

I have also responded to your comment on the blog.

I have done a fair bit more prining on it too and am more impressed by it every time:

Thanks again for your encouragement,


We have the same problem with our H/S1, the rollers won’t go down to the bottom. It has been stripped, cleaned and oiled but still stops with the rollers over the forme.

Hi Platenprinter

I am still getting a little stuck at the bottom, but not so often as before. I have found that plenty of lubricant and continued use seems to help!

Good luck

Smithhogg !
The point of your lecturer giving you an essay to write is so they can find your educational weaknesses, are you proficient in reading , writing, punctuation, library usage ,researching etc as well as conveying the information in a clear and concise fashion .
I looked at the bit you highlighted at the foot of your comment above, what exactly is the point of such a service ? Its actually a disservice to the student and ultimately society , it is becoming all too obvious that people are coming out of schooling unable to spell, read properly etc ,in fact I think its like cheating , when i went to school we had to add up with pen and paper , i work now with people who cant even count properly !
Just a thought ,if you get my drift !!

Hello Chris … I am interested in what you did to fix the gripper arm problem? I have the same problem with my 8x5 and no amount of oil has yet fixed it.


you just undo the bolt on its fixing and looking at it from the side just turn it a little to the right (clockwise ) making sure that when the platen is open you still have room to place the sheet on the platen easily then re tighten it . Assuming the fitting is the same as the red models .
If the mechanism is seized in which case oiling and wiggling or dismantle and clean !

Just love the crap about the essay writing services that allow people to be even dumber. The thought that always stuck with me about things like this goes something like this: The professor told the student “I found your essay to be both interesting and original. Unfortunately, the parts that were interesting were not original and the parts that were original were not interesting.”


hello all, I have one of these adanas, it came with these original letterheadings and others but I have just done 3 which may interest you, regards John.

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I have two of these H/S1 machines and both display the problems you mention; the rollers do not clear the forme and the gripper finger doesn’t stay in the correct position. I’ve seen enough H/S1 presses to make the statement that these are design faults with the machine. The follow-up H/S2 machine was designed with a powerful “platen return spring” to overcome this problem.

Adana did occasionally have mechanical issues with prototypes and early production models. The post-war “Eight-Five” press was redesigned within a few weeks of its launch when people complained (including BPS member S. M. Nunn who had a letter published in the Society magazine) about the oversized ink disk. It overlapped the chase to the extent that rollers and ink disk had to be removed to make corrections. Adana reduced the size of the disk in September 1953 and further modified the press at a later date. I’ve actually seen an early “Eight-Five” with an ink disk that the owner assumed had come from a High Speed No. 3 press, but he may have had a very early machine.

The green paintwork remains a puzzle. To my knowledge, Adana never used dark green as a colour on their presses. The earliest printed advertising material I have for the H/S1 is dated 1933 (the year of launch) and shows a RED machine. You can also see a line drawing of the press printed in red on the letterheadings shown above. However, I have seen two presses in green livery, although I recall the shades of green being rather different on each of them. Perhaps they were “restored” and painted by later owners. Some publicity material was printed in black and green ink (q.v. Letterpress Offset instruction manual) but the presses were RED.

Caslon (owners of Adana) have reverted to the pre-war scarlet livery for their ‘remanufactured’ presses, abandoning the burgundy shade adopted by the company after WW2.

The “sheet metal” version of the H/S1, produced in the late 1930s as a cost-cutting exercise, also displays similar faults to the original press.

During WWII paint companies were required to make paints for the war effort, hence the army green cabinets and type cases produced during that time here in the U.S.. Perhaps that requirement was also in effect in Britain.