Seeking info: platen press made in Elmira, NY

I have been offered a very good deal on an 8 x 12 platen press in need of repair. I am confident I can fix it, but the press does not come with rollers or cores. I know I can have rollers made if I can find the cores. The owner says the press is circa 1880 and made in Elmira, NY.

Does anyone know if I will be able to find cores for this press?

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Best bet is to look at and measure the saddles, then call a roller manufacturer. Most of the Gordon class platens with an 8x12 chase can use the C&P 8x12 rollers that are regularly sold through places like Advance Roller or NA Graph. NA Graph also has trucks for the rollers.

Measure the width between the saddles, and the inside diameter of the saddles, then call one of the 8x12 C&P roller manufacturers and ask for the diameter of the cores and length of the cores and see if they will work.

I bought a very old 5x8 treadle powered platen a while back and then purchased Kelsey 5x8 rollers and trucks for it. I had to have the core ends machined down to ride in the saddles which were slightly smaller than the cores, but they work very well. A competent machinist can do that for under $100 for you.



Mr. Koppa:
How’s about PALMYRA, NY???? Johnson-Peerless Works, Globe Mfg. Co., J. M. Jones, John M. Jones Co., Jones-Gordon Press Works, and Peerless Printing Press Co. all sold presses made in Palmyra, NY. Their geneological chart somewhat resembles that of my buddy Shadow…German-Shepherd, Labrador, Chow, Rott, etc, They were made concurrently with only a change of the name on the nameplate (holds the two roller arms together.) Some of these presses print on throwoff and throwoff on print…patent issues, we don’t know! Roller cores are generally longer than the comparable C&P’s. Before spending over $300. 00 for a set of three custom made, we devised a method of using washers between the trucks and roller hooks C&P rollers, or on the 8x12’s using a piece of flared copper tubing on each end of the core.

Mr. Koppa:
We use 8x12 steel chases as the cast iron ones have the feet on each end and that stops them from seating properly in the chase bed. These chases are a bit narrow for the bed. Gluing a shim in the chase bed (about two picas), will save a lot of smashed type. GOOD LUCK and HAVE FUN!!!

All the companies Stanislaus mentions were started by John M. Jones of Palmyra, NY, and made different models of presses designed by him — he sold them serially and kept inventing more presses. They have a variety of mechanisms but are all essentially clamshell presses except the Jones Gordon, I believe. I’ve never heard of a press maker in Elmira.


The Ben Franklin Gordon, the Peerless-Gordon, the Jones-Gordon, and the New Era, were the exceptions to the clamshell presses of John M. Jones, according to “A History of The Platen Jobber” by Ralph Green,1953. I can’t find mention of any of these presses or John M. Jones in Moran’s “Printing Presses.” Harold E. Sterne’s “Catalog of 19th Century Printing Presses” shows many of Jones’ presses, the most impressive was the New Era, 1894. It looks like the mother of the Colts Armory Press. Quite a history of John M. Jones and his presses is in Elizabeth Harris’ “Personal Impressions”

Helpful info from everyone, thanks. I said Elmira because that’s what I was told (via email) by the seller (whose name shall remain anonymous to protect his reputation). So it sounds like I can make it work if I want to make it work, one way or another. There is a competent machinist two blocks away from my home. Thanks again!