Some of the most recent news is that Lou continues to update his website (http://www.excelsior-press.com/) in response to these posts. Here’s the latest in standard body with my comments in CAPS:
Shown here are the basic large parts for the new Excelsior Pilot 7” x 11” letterpress cast in iron. This photo was taken in front of the foundry right here in R.I. This is the “Mysterious Existent Only in Plastic Press” that has been the subject of so much controversy lately. AND AS FAR AS PRODUCTION PIECES ARE CONCERNED, ISN’T AVAILABLE IN PLASTIC OR CAST IRON. THERE IS STILL NO PROTOTYPE AND STILL NO PRESSES DELIVERED TO CUSTOMERS. THAT PICTURE WAS TAKEN IN JULY OR AUGUST AND THOSE CASTINGS WERE WHAT LOU SHOWED TO POLICE WHO WERE INVESTIGATING HIM FOR THE FRAUD SURROUNDING THIS. THEY BOUGHT HIM SOME MORE TIME AS HE TOLD THE OFFICER THE SAME THING HE’S TELLING HIS CUSTOMERS AND US: IT’S ON THE WAY! I intend INTEND? to make this entire process a very transparent one, in that I will take great pleasure and pride in introducing a new letterpress to an industry, that for all practical purposes, has been dead or dormant for decades. SEE? LOU HASN’T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION…THIS INDUSTRY HAS NOT BEEN DEAD OR DORMANT…HE JUST WASN’T A PART OF IT—HOBBYISTS HAVE NEVER STOPPED BUYING. I will take the interested person for a journey through the years back to a time when America was a major supplier to the world of durable goods. In 1952 the population of the U.S. was 6 % of the world’s population, yet accounted for 50% of the worlds production. What a change from then to now. As an old time manufacturer I sometimes wonder how a country that literally doesn’t make anything can survive. THANKS, MR. COLAVECCHIO. CAN WE LEAVE AND GO TO BUSINESS LAW AND ETHICS CLASS NOW?
The first step was to design and fabricate the “model press” all by hand, which is shown at the top of thisraw castings of Excelsior Pilot page. A MODEL IS JUST THAT—A NON-WORKING PRESS AND NO INDICATION OF HOW THE FINISHED PRESS WILL WORK. SOME HOBBY PRINTER OUT THERE IS MARRIED TO AN ENGINEER WHO WILL SAY THAT THIS IS TRUE…FEEL FREE TO CHIME IN.This was accomplished by using epoxy resins, rubber molds, hand and power tools, and, mostly great skill and patience. I’M SURE IT WAS, IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER UNTIL WE HAVE FINISHED, WORKING PRESSES. A year and a half later, there existed a complete press, THERE DID? YOU SAID YOU HAD CASTINGS, NOT A FINISHED PRESS—IN FACT, THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT YOUR PICTURES SHOW US…CASTINGS, NO FINISHED PRESS. IS THIS GUY FOR REAL? EVEN THE POLICE SAW THAT. functional and looking eerily similar to a production C & P which was the inspiration for this press. The exceptions are some modifications: such as using thicker castings; other improvements like making a simpler paper gripper mechanism; making the press a larger capacity, from 6 x 10 to 7 x 11..CLASSIC. PILOTS ARE 6.5” X 10”….NOT SIX INCHES BY TEN INCHES. THIS IS THE “EXPERT” WHO WANTS YOU TO BELIEVE HE WILL HAVE A STRONG PRODUCT?( the actual dimensions are slightly higher to allow for lock down bars or quoins). HIGHLY DOUBTFUL. MORE LIKELY IS THAT HIS CASTINGS WENT THROUGH A PROCESS CALLED “SHRINKAGE”—WHICH IS PERFECTLY NORMAL WHEN YOU SAND-CAST. THE KEY IS BEING GOOD ENOUGH TO HIT AND HOLD CERTAIN TOLERANCES UNDERSTANDING THAT SHRINKAGE WILL OCCUR. THE MOST DISTURBING THING IS THAT LOU IS PRETENDING THAT HE DID THIS ON PURPOSE INSTEAD OF BEING HONEST ABOUT IT. UNCTUOUS MISREPRESENTATION. The handle has also been increased in length for added power. The result is a press that is a substantially improved, up-to-date C & P.
Some areas of the original C & P gave owners problems, such as the shaft in the back swing arm. THERE IS NO SUCH PART ON A PILOT WITH THAT NAME. WHO KNOWS WHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT…DOES HE? It was prone to snapping if the user extended the handle’s length by adding a piece of 2 x 3 or 2 x 4. NOW WHAT’S HE TALKING ABOUT? PEOPLE DIDN’T DO THIS. MAYBE HIS PRESS HAD THAT ISSUE, BUT THE PILOT NEVER DID. THERE IS A REASON IT’S THE MOST DESIRABLE TABLETOP PRESS IN THE WORLD.This part has been dealt with by substantially strengthening them - by making them thicker and larger in general - and also by casting them in DUCTILE STEEL, which is far stronger than C & P’s cast iron. These are all improvements which aren’t easily seen, but nevertheless important. IMPORTANT TO COMPENSATE ON YOUR PRESS, MAYBE, BUT NOT FOR THE PILOT.
The next step from here is to grind the raw castings to a nicer finish than the sand made. UNNECESSARY AND LIKELY A PLOY TO BUY TIME. So the next steps are to complete the secondary operations on the cast iron parts and finish them according to the desired look. We will bring these photos to the website so you can all see how this is accomplished . ONCE AGAIN, ALL ISSUES THAT HE LISTS TO GIVE PEOPLE THE IMPRESSION THAT HE IS DOING SOMETHING THAT WE SHOULD CARE ABOUT. IT’S ONE THING TO SAY YOU’RE DOING A QUALITY JOB, IT’S ANOTHER TO LIST EVERY STEP ALONG THE WAY. EVER TAKE YOUR CAR TO A MECHANIC, ASK HIM TO CHANGE YOUR OIL AND INSIST ON SEEING AN ITEMIZED LIST OF HOW HE DID IT? SAME WITH THIS PRESS…JUST PRODUCE WORKING VERSIONS OF THE THING, MAKE GOOD ON YOUR PROMISES, AND OFFER A WARRANTY/GUARANTEE SATISFACTION. IF THE PRESS IS THAT GOOD, WE’D ALL WANT TO SEE IT ON THE MARKET.
Visit our website frequently. We promise you we will introduce several new innovations in the coming months. In fact, we are just finishing the engineering phase of our next “bomb-shell introduction”. “At excelsior-press.com, you will never be bored, I guarantee it!! HIDE THE CHILDREN…
Previous discussion for those who missed the genesis of all this:
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Time for an update. Before Lou’s health & financial issues stopped him from continuing, he did make one press - and sold it to a very happy woman down south. I’ll be sending her some supplies and will ask her to leave her comments on Briar Press after she uses it for a while.
- Alan Runfeldt
The Excelsior Press - a museum print shop in New Jersey
- in contact with, but NOT to be confused with -
The Excelsior Co which restores (ed) presses in Rhode Island and has manufactured *at least one* of the new 7x11 Excelsior Pilot Press.
Well, you can start producing these machines right away, no problem at all :
You will probably be selling her a lot more than just supplies. The press doesn’t even close parallel on impression…just look at the pictures. The hardware he used on the platen bolts look like the cheapest ones he could find. They don’t look like they will hold up to normal use, and will probably snap or bend when she goes to adjust her platen to level it. My tiny table top foil stamper has hardware that is heavier duty than that, and the impression area is only 2x3.
Please have her post pictures because I want to see how: “This press will make a deeper impression than any other bench top press ever made, and will compete easily with a two ton floor model.”
Stan aren’t your worried about these claims?
I wonder where the patterns are for mould making………
Cheers, Girl with a kluge…you seem to be one of the few members willing to stick your neck out. If I had more years ahead of me than behind me, I might digress. Having said that, the community might note that Lou is regularly selling presses on eBay under different user names. No doubt an attempt to avoid a negative feedback trail…or the tax man, maybe? His current eBay member name *diamond08* is selling an OS Pilot which is advertised as “Better than new..” That user name has all of one (1) user feedback. Off the top of my head, I’ve seen three or four different names used recently (the last 12 months) and his work always gives itself away.
If you are a buyer smart enough to try to cross research this press on this forum, you are strongly cautioned against buying this press or dealing with this seller. See the details in this post and the links to others for more information—then decide on your own.
Seems like the only reason you’re on Briar Press is to bad-mouth Lou Colvecchio.
I just checked your profile and ALL of your posts are attacks on Lou, his work and that new press. What, do you have some sort of vendetta against him or do you just like to gossip?
Or are *you* the one who is hiding their identity?
Don’t be sucked in by JGP - or encouraged to jump on this band wagon. It could become embarrassing.
The Excelsior Pilot’s platen closes closes just as square as C&P’s. Lou made himself a set of leveling blocks just like the ones Kelsey used to level their platens. His platens are leveled before the press goes out.
And the platen bolts are not “cheap” or weak. They are just available - unlike the unique odd bolts used on C&Ps Pilots. - Which, on the Early Series - are known to break.
It’s true that Lou’s not a printer. He’s a machinist - and a damned good engineer. I’ve been watching his work for years and know of many of his customers - some of whom I trained on presses they bought from him. These folks have been quite pleased with their presses.
He restored a basket-case Golding Official for me and did an excellent job.
And whoever buys that Pilot he’s selling right now will be getting a very good press at a good price.
And, I am confident that anyone who buys an Excelsior Pilot will be getting the best bench top press ever made.
Manufacturing a printing press is not easy. It’s expensive, and without a whole lot of investment capital, progress is very, very slow.
Remember, this is one man, working alone, trying to fund production of the new press by restoring old presses. It’s not easy.
One press has been completed, sold and shipped. More will come. It may take some time, but I’m sure that we’ll be seeing some very positive reports from satisfied customers in the future.
we’ve been hearing this for several years now, and have yet to actually see a real, working press.
If “one press has been completed, sold, and shipped” then why do we still see photos of the plastic mock-up with cheap hardware-store bolts holding it together on Lou’s web-site and on e-Bay? and why do we not hear anything from the “woman down south” who is alleged to have recieved her press?
It would seem to me that if a working press were completed, Lou would have photographed it and posted the pictures to quell the speculation about it’s legitimacy…… but he didn’t, did he? Not as far as I can see. MY guess is he didn’t because such a press doesn’t exist.
Based on what I’ve read here on Briar Press, and on my own Internet searches of Lou’s history, I cannot think that this is a legitimate offer.
Alan, you may be confident that those who send Lou money “will be getting the best bench top press ever made.” I am not. To be quite frank, your constant defense and promotion of Lou’s operation makes me suspect of you, too. Why do you seem to be Lou’s spokesperson, instead of him speaking for himself?
Lou and/or Alan….. IF this is a legitimate offer, then prove it, instead of just relying on rhetoric and excuses. If one press has been completed, sold, and shipped then let’s see it, and it’s details. Tell us the name of the foundry that cast the metal so we can confirm it that castings were made. Show us pictures of the finshed and shipped press. Show us pictures of Lou’s machine shop with partially completed presses. Show us raw castings (not plastic mock-ups) being machined. Prove to us…. and the world…that this is not a scam.
When you DO show us these things, then we’ll believe you. Until then, we won’t. It’s as simple as that.
Don’t know Lou or Alan, or Winking cat press. But if I had made a new press, I would be excited to take lots of pictures and display them for everyone to see this new press. I think winking cat press is calling it the way I would see it too.
Lou, if the new press does exist, pictures would be a partial way to quell your detractors and make believers out of us on the sidelines looking in.
Will be looking forward to the pictures of your new press being posted. Thanks in advance
I assume the snap-back is from when I exposed the pseudo names Lou is using on eBay. That reaction probably comes from wanting to run away from the truth —and then having it catch up with them. Waiting for this to go away and/or running is not the right approach, here—but as the kids say…”whatever”. I have to fall in behind winking cat press and others who have made similar comments. One of the patterns that I continue to notice is subtle intimidation through the accusation of doing something wrong by being truthful on this forum. All I can say is that I hope that anyone that has feedback—any feedback positive or negative—will continue to use this forum to express it. I can only say that I’m confident this has prevented some carnage of late and has possibly even forced Lou to take a more honest approach to this whole thing. While I haven’t spoken to them directly, there is some evidence that Lou has provided people presses in good+ working order. Why can’t those people be solicited to chime in on these forums?—I’m sure everyone here would be happy to consider them. As to the new press—it doesn’t exist. A police officer apparently saw castings of SOMETHING at Lou’s and decided that the down-payment and yet-to-be-received press was a civil matter. Who knows what those were…and this is back-tracking on the subject so I’ll move on. But, I agree with the two posts above…why all this dancing around instead of just posting pictures of this press? I don’t even ‘assume’ that Lou would post pictures of the press if it existed, I KNOW he would. To have pictures and a testimonial from the known buyer would be a massive knock-out blow to all of this negative feedback—at least on this matter (and maybe as a baby step forward in reputation). The reason we don’t see pictures is because the claim of an existent press is a lie. Alan, please don’t try to reverse this on us, the reality is that Lou has not earned any benefit of the doubt and the obvious paths to that benefit are being ignored—even degraded by both you and Lou. You must have your reasons to defend him, his actions (or inactions) but like it or not, it does make you and your relationship with Lou seem suspect…especially when you then separate yourself from him in other, anecdotal blogs. It’s almost as if these two are protecting their right to “fluff” the story and are somehow insulted by the fact that the community calls them on it. This has only been said 1000 times in 1000 different ways: Send presses, not excuses. Once your product floods the market and is clearly better than the originals and competition, it will speak for itself.
It’s been suggested that Alan’s relationship with Lou is one of consultant and that he wants to be included in the process of making this new press. Keeping that dream alive in his head leads him to irrationally defend Lou, and avoid acknowledging the lemons that Lou has sent out (even though Alan may have seen some users that were happy with their press—I wonder if that was after their purchase and on their way home with the press in their trunk but BEFORE they used it). No doubt they enjoyed their time at Alan’s (hence the thank you notes he posts)—he is a talented guy knows what he is doing in the letterpress world. What the community wants is feedback from many of Lou’s happy buyers after they have used their presses. This is not intended to be an attack on Alan and I’ll even do one better—I don’t know why someone with such an esteemed letterpress background lays himself out as he does in this situation. Sigh….
Questions: What do you have to say about the presses that Lou has butchered and then run away from? Does he tell you that never happened? What POSSIBLE motivation do you think the community has by commenting on this other than to help their fellow letterpressers avoid trouble? There is no profit motivation, this is about a small community rejecting a Charleton who has had YEARS to provide objective evidence to the contrary and can’t. And here’s a question: Why should this community sit still while there is clear evidence that a defective product is being sold, and while there is a track record of avoiding responsibility for said work? Why should we not engage this open discussion to broadcast our TRUTHFUL experiences, just as you say you are in defending him? It seems possible that hat Lou has made mistakes—granting him a learning curve. It’s the willful sale of defective presses that is the issue, and then an unwillingness to make good on them. In response to that, the community is behaving appropriately in all its due diligence and through these blogs.
There is a Craftsman pilot press sitting at Cooper Union that one of my coworkers bought from Lou a couple of years ago as a restored press. It is a mess and has never printed since she picked it up. The ink disc even appears to have been sandblasted. The woman that bought it told me she made attempts to contact Lou but did not get a response.
The Arm Letterpress
Anyone who thinks that Lou is a straight -up guy should be aware of the kind of business he was previously in:
Until he proves that he has changed his way of doing business he will be judged by his past actions.
Apparently the company (and the plastic pro type) is now for sale promising a great return on your investment with guarenteed sales and even back orders and customer just waiting to purchase.