Information on HH Thorp “Old Reliable”?

I’m looking at maybe getting a press that was used for mostly die-cutting. The owner doesn’t have a lot of information about the press, as it belonged to her husband. I’m trying to figure out if anyone has any more information about this press, and whether it would be worth it to get it. It’s very inexpensive as she’s planning on scrapping it if she can’t get someone to take it.

All she knows about the press is that it has a 12x18 bed, and it says “The H H Thorp Mfg. Co, ‘Old Reliable’, Cleveland Ohio” on the press.

It doesn’t come with rollers or roller cores, so does anyone know if I would be able to get rollers for this? And, maybe a weight estimate?

I haven’t seen the press in person yet, so I really don’t know the condition, other than what the pictures show (it’s on the left)…

And yes, she also has a large C&P new style, but missing the inking disk and disk bracket/gears. And I don’t know how easy it would be to find a replacement disk.

image: Old Reliable

Old Reliable

image: Old Reliable and C&P

Old Reliable and C&P

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The Old Reliable was manufactured for only one year, 1888, by H.H. Thorpe (Cleveland Type Foundry). James Thorpe was a very fine engineer and had several platen press patents during that period. He eventually sold the patents and designs to Chandler and Price. The C&P Pilot press was based on a press design that Thorpe manufactured earlier.

Generally, the shafts and rollers are comparable to the same size C&P and can be purchased from any of several C&P roller suppliers. The college where I teach has a 10 x 15 model with many welds that still prints very fine. The 12 & 18 would probably weigh close to the same as a C&P of that size, around 1500 lbs.

Thanks for the information, longdaypress! I ended up finding a C&P new style in much better condition and with free delivery, so I didn’t end up getting the Old Reliable. Sadly, I think both presses were scrapped. I urged her to think about posting an ad on briarpress, but I think she really just wanted to get rid of them asap.