Sigwalt Nonpareil serial numbers

Does anyone have information about how serial numbers of Sigwalt’s early presses were organized? My 6x9 Nonpareil has “1” stamped on the bed below the ink disc, where I would guess the serial number would be if he followed Golding’s pattern as he did in the press’s design. But did he start a new series each year? Or for each different chase size? Or what?

Log in to reply   15 replies so far

Perhaps you’ll have to begin a whole other registry. I’m not sure I ever truly understood the definitive difference between the Nonpareil & the Sigwalts. I assumed that the Nonpareil’s had round bases and the Sigwalts had square. I’m open for correction.
That said, here are some serial numbers and their locations on some of my table tops:
*Golding 6x9 (map press) # 2182A on upper face of bed.
*Golding 2x3 (self inking) # 1451 on upper face of bed.
*Sigwalt/Nonpareil 5x7.5 (round base) # 20 on face of platen.
*Sigwalt 4x6 (square base) # 554 on edge of platen under tympan clamp.
The problem with a serial number on the platen is that it could have been switched or replaced at some time.

It’s my understanding that when John Sigwalt began making the press that was a close copy of the Golding Official, the early models were called “Nonpareil” and had a round base; I don’t know the beginning dates, or the dates when he changed the base shape to square and the name to “Ideal”. My press’s serial number is stamped on the bed top center, where Golding put his. Both the Nonpareil and the Ideal are Sigwalts.


Hi Bob,

I just finished restoring a Sigwalt Nonpareil (6”x9”) and was reading some of the posts on this model. While restoring the press I kept seeing the number “6” stamped on several parts and on the bed where Golding puts their serial numbers. My theory on is there are no serial numbers on Sigwalts. I think they are stamped as part of the manufacturing process. Some parts are custom fit to a press as they are assembled and this ensures they stay with the proper press. My bales are stamped with the same “6” on the inside. It might be interesting for you to look on the inside surfaces of your bales and see if you also find a “1”. That would explain the rather low numbers we both found.


Just finished a Sigwalt Nonpareil (3X5ish) No. 22. Noticed nearly every part had a “5” stamped on it. I agree with John on the observation of assembly aid rather than serial numbers.

T and T Press Restoration

Perhaps it would be best for a few more owners of Nonpareils to weigh in on this before dismissing the marked numbers as serial numbers. Granted, we’ve only discussed 4 known presses so far, but I’ve not read any evidence of repetition between different Nonpareil presses, only identical numbering on the same press.

I can see where the markings are stamped under both tympan clamps and on the platen. I’d be interested to know where to look for other marked locations which you may have found on the main body of the press(es). I’ve brushed away some additional paint on mine but didn’t find any other stamped parts.

I have finished restoring a Nonpareil press # 24 and found some brands of points, all points difrentes has 8 sides, above the bed, neck arm brackets and rollers on the inside of the plate.
I think these points should be to identify the parts of the model of the press, most do not have serial number.
share pictures to see them and hear their comments.
  Alfonso Fuentes, Mexico.
flickr Alf1901

image: foto 2 (6).JPG

foto 2 (6).JPG

image: foto 1 (6).JPG

foto 1 (6).JPG

image: foto 1 (5).JPG

foto 1 (5).JPG

Interesting. The divots on the top of the body casting appear to have been punched in after casting, rather than being a part of the casting. It may be that these were identifying marks to show that these specific parts have been milled to fit with each other and may not work with another set of parts.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

Calling all Sigwalt Nonpareil and Ideal owners! Seems like a census of the numbers stamped on your presses could help solve a numbering mystery.

I think I’d have to disassemble my Nonpareil 6x9 to find any other numbers, but it has a “1” on the bottom center face of the platen, inside center of one, but not both, bales, and top center of the bed — I haven’t found any others. As Rocky pointed out earlier in this thread, no two of the presses discussed so far has the same number and the highest number of a Nonpareil is Rocky’s #20, but the Ideal # 554 implies that the numbers might actually be serial numbers after all, but applied to the several parts that required precision fitting, not just to the press bed.

So far we have #1, #5, #6, #8(?), #20, and #554.


You people are a lot smarter and have much better eyesight than I do. I own every size of Sigwalt Nonpareil and Ideal that they made (13 of them) and I cannot find any stamped numbers.


That’s odd, Paul. The ones I found on mine are at the top center of the bed, in the center inside of the top bale, and on the bottom center of the face of the platen. Others have found them in other locations as well. I used a flashlight to get light right on the areas.

My theory at the moment is that the numbers were serial numbers that also served to keep fitted parts together. I assume they fitted all the parts and assembled the press before painting, then disassembled and painted before final assembly and out the door.


Further investigation of my Nonpareil shows the number 20 not only on the lower face of the platen, but also the number 20 is stamped under the center of both bales. To add to the confusion, I see a single digit number stamped at the lower middle face of the bed, and that number may be 4. My eyes aren’t what they use to be.

Since on my Ideal, the number 554 is stamped on the center edge of the platen, and covered by the bail, it may be that the number is only stamped on “one” edge of the platen. Perhaps the serial number is not readily visible on some Ideals because is stamped on the downward side, thus making it very difficult to see without a small mirror, disassembly, or a pair of eyes that can see around corners.

The next press on the bench for restoration just happens to be a 6 X 9 square base Sigwalt. So checking for the numbers ought to be easy, following complete tear down. I will post what I find… to add to the mix of discovery.


The entire press was disassembled and media blasted. The only unique marking found were applied to the lower portion of the gripper bar actuating lever. No other unique multiple or single digit(s).


image: Ideal 5 ID marks.JPG

Ideal 5 ID marks.JPG

This is a fun topic and of course I have my theory too. If you look at Golding it is clear that the low numbers stamped on various parts are assembly numbers, not serial numbers. Golding made presses in batches and used these low assembly numbers to keep track of which parts went to which press. Written records show the batches. Serial numbers are on the top center of the bed and are always larger. I don’t know of anyone that has ever found serial numbers 1-20 for any Golding model. Obviously they did exist, but, finding one just doesn’t seem to happen. I think is makes the most sense that Sigwalt made his presses in batches as well. I think that’s the way all press builders did it because of economic and casting convenience reasons. I think he would have had the same problem of trying to keep the right parts with the right press and stamped parts with the low numbers associated with building presses in small batches. If you are building 20 presses, you use 1-20 stamps to keep track of them. We have not found what might be serial numbers on all Sigwalt’s. I have restored several and while I didn’t look for numbers consistently, I do remember finding one under the bale and it was fairly large. So, I do not think Sigwalt put serial numbers on all the presses he made. He copied Golding, but, maybe he didn’t see the need for keeping track of how many and when the presses were made from the start. With this in mind, I think when we see a low number on several parts of a press, I think they are assembly numbers only.


Two comments to add to this: when, and if, we find two Sigwalt presses with the same numbers, we’ll have better proof that they were solely assembly numbers — but until one is duplicated I think it is possible that he used the serial number also as an assembly number — wouldn’t be any harder.

Also, remember that after Sigwalt sold out the company was continued by others who continued to make presses, and probably didn’t feel obliged to continue whatever system Sigwalt was using. Sigwalt presses were still being made, albeit sporadically, in the mid-20th century. A census of all surviving Sigwalt presses that can be recorded would probably reveal interesting information about this problem.