Little Joe press

I have a line on a Little Joe Press for $125 plus a bunch of ink and misc stuff. I have a C&P 10 x 15 that I’m working on (need rollers) and I’d added a proof press to my wish list. Is it worth getting?


image: modelh.jpg


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You’ve got me on this one. It actually looks like the kind of press they use to test ink mixtures/formulations.
Looks like it would do some really slick “tall” posters. Probably well worth the $125 if it will print things that are type-high.


Excellent point about type high. I suppose you could use it with polymer plates and a thinner base but that sorta defeats the purpose of the whole proof press idea. I think for $125 it would be worth it just to play around with.

Here is more information about the press.

It is an offset proof press (yes, for proofing ink): ink transfers to blanket, which is then transferred to paper. You would need to make right-reading plates for use on it.

No, it’s not really worth your time. It’s intended to produce drawdowns. unless you want to print litho in very small amounts sloppily and by hand, I wouldn’t get it.

-They come with no registration adjustment systems.

Inefficiency of space:
-They print a relatively small form for their footprint.

They seem like a decent enough idea until you realize that basically, you’re buying a toy for testing ink. I honestly doubt you could do much real, worthwhile printing with it.

And….you wouldn’t be able to make a deep impression with it, since you are printing from the blanket. Technically, it is an offset letterpress.

To explain the terminology, printing processes and their presses are either direct or offset. Direct processes transfer the image directly from the plate to the substrate (paper). An example of a direct press would be most of our letterpresses.

Offset processes “offset,” or transfer, the image from the plate to an intermediate cylinder and then transfer the image a second time from the intermediate cylinder to the substrate.

Almost all lithographic presses are offset presses, and for this reason most people have come to refer to litho presses as offset presses. However, there are other types of offset presses which are not litho presses, and the Little Joe is an example.

And to beat the dead horse, direct-printing presses use wrong-reading type or plates, and offset presses use right-reading type or plates. This press was meant for testing panels of color with no specific image. Not that you couldn’t modify it to hold an image carrier, but as a proof press, the forms would be backward compared to how they print on your regular press.


He was closing the shop and I needed to pick it up today and I didn’t get to read most of the comments above as I was stupid busy at work. Oh well. $125 for a ink toy is pretty hefty but I did get a couple of ink hand rollers and an oil can. The plate used to hold the ink is type high as are the guide rods on each side. Hopefully I can get some use out of it. If nothing else I can work my ink on the extension.

I was certain the drum carried the paper but I was thinking platen proof press.

Good news is it retails for about $3000. Maybe I can sell it in the future.

Oh, there might be light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe. The manual references a letterpress attachment. From their website:

Letterpress Attachment: A paper clamp that affixes to the blanket cylinder to facilitate putting paper around the blanket cylinder (over the blanket). This way ink is transferred from the printing plate directly to the paper.

The ink plates are type high and having the paper on the drum will require wrong reading type correct? I might be able to use it.

Yes, but don’t expect any kind of reliable registration from it. The press was not designed for that- it’s a glorified paintswatch maker.

I did get soome ink out of the deal, metallic gold, metallic silver, reds and oranges. and a Pantone mixing guide.

We’re actually in the market for one of these, believe it or not. Not for printing customer work, but for our ink quality control process. If you still have this and want to sell it we may be interested. Let me know at harold (at) Thanks! Harold

hi Mike
do you still have the Little Joe Model H
i am interested.

Hi MIKE can you tell me whether you have it or not this Little Joe model H

Dear Mike.
If you still have the press I’m willing to buy it right now.

I have a Little Joe for proofing printing inks just like the one in the picture I can sell. Send me an offer and we can work out the cost with freight. It’s very well built little unit weighs a hundred fifty pounds or so.