Sigwalt Chicago #9

Venerable pressmen,

I’ve recently acquired an old Sigwalt Chicago #9. After a bit of cleaning it seems to be in pretty good condition, operating smoothly, except for one problem: The platen wouldn’t open completely [4,5] , as a little finger [1,2,3] attached to the grippers bumps into the frame [5,6]. The gripper bars themselves don’t move as the gripper bar [7] is likewise blocked (and sprung) by that finger.

Is there anyone with this model, who can share what that portion of the press should look like?

image: 1.jpg


image: 2.jpg


image: 3.jpg


image: 4.jpg


image: 5.jpg


image: 6.jpg


image: 7.jpg


Log in to reply   5 replies so far

One possible reason for this strange behaviour, is a small grove half an inch to the left of the finger [1]. Maybe it needs to fall into that?

I have two of these presses and compared them to your photos. Yours is damaged.

In photo 1, that “groove” next to the finger should not be there. Instead that area should look just like it’s counterpart in photo 2 on the other side of the finger. That “guide” for the finger has been broken-off.

The shaft holding the finger is bent. You can best see this in photo 7 (the left side of the photo especially). That shaft should be exactly parallel to the platen and it is not.

The finger should also not be pointing almost straight back as in photo 2, but should be pointed more like a 45-degree angle from the base of the press. Because it is pointed almost straight back it is hitting the frame and not allowing your platen to open all the way. It is definitely the finger that is blocking the action.

Also, when the finger is positioned in a more upright angle it will not only allow the platen to open it should also nudge the finger slightly to open the grippers for you. Right now it is just jambing into the frame and not moving at all.

At some point in time the shaft and the bar that cradles the finger took a hit and broke a small piece off the bar and bent the shaft.

Hope this helps.


Thanks for such a detailed answer!
I think the shaft is bending because of the pressure between the downward turned finger and the bar. It probably jammed in that position when something dropped from the top (and knocked one of those guides)
I’ll try forcing it back up, and see if it helps.

Yay! forcing the finger up worked, the grippers started working, and the press opens up nicely.

Now, is there a trick to leveling the plate on these babies?
The impression screws don’t seem to do much more then simply hold the press bed in place. Since there’s no spring, I am guessing the only way to adjust the impression is with various gaskets.

The bed is held on the press by the middle screw with the thick gasket. The four “impression” screws do allow for some adjustment of the bed. Keep in mind that these are simply regular screws with no locking washers/nuts or anything like that. At best you can probably come close to getting everything level with a lot of patience and tinkering.

This press was never designed for fine quality work and is essentially a toy. It will do a few simple lines of type decently if coaxed along. You will have to play a lot with makeready.