Proof press ID & advice

Found this in the flea market. No identification anywhere on the press. The impression roller height can be adjusted via the screws & there’s a little ink mixing table that pulls out on the end. Given where I found it (Tel Aviv), it’s probably of European and not US origin. The bed, though, is US type-high, if I’m measuring it right. Does anyone recognize this press? Roller question: the impression roller is very dry, with lots of tiny cracks and a visible seam running across it. Will that affect printing, or is it the weight of the roller, and not it’s pristine (or not) condition, that matters? What is the roller made of (in the case that it needs to be re-covered)? Thanks very much for any help.

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It’s a Show-Card style press, though maybe not that brand. They’re useful for pulling decent proofs but difficult to use for edition printing. You could try treating the impression roller with something like baby oil, which can feed the dried-out rubber covering and perhaps rejuvenate it. If it’s very badly dried and cracked it could disintegrate under the impression pressure of printing. I don’t know how you would re-cover it.

Nice find, though — I hope at a pretty reasonable price given the condition.


The roller is probably made of hard rubber, or a synthetic rubber. You should be able to get it recovered at a roller company, like any other printing roller. I’m sure Tel Aviv has many printers, so there most likely is a printers’ roller company as well. Look it up in the classified section of your phone book or online. If that doesn’t work, you could always go to a local printer and ask them where they get their rollers recovered.

In North America and perhaps where you are as well, the hardness of printing rollers is measured in durometer, on a scale called the Shore A scale. That scale goes from 0 to 100, with 0 being the softest and 100 being the hardest. This is just a guess, but I think those proof press rollers are relatively hard, say 80 to 90 durometer. (By way of comparison, letterpress form rollers are much softer, at about 20 durometer). But as I said, that is just a guess. If you tell the roller company how the roller is used (as an impression roller in a letterpress proof press), they should be able to tell you what durometer to get, especially if they have been in business for a long time. It won’t be cheap though - I would guess that it might cost $100 to $300 in US dollars.

The Term in German is Abziehnudel, a simple press to pull a proof from Type, typesetters would have it to quickly proof their matter before handing it of to the Stone hand. If the rubber is decent. no need to exchange it. This press works like a Vandercook galley press.