Wesel 300 Hand Printing Press

Hi all, I am looking for more information regarding a hand printing press that I own. “F Wesel MFG Co, 300, New York” is written at the top of the press, it is cast iron, and extremely heavy.
Any information regarding history and/or value is greatly appreciated. I have included several pictures as well. Possibly interested in selling. Thanks so much in advance! Anne W. Urbana, IL

image: press1.JPG


image: press7.JPG


image: press22.jpg


image: press33.jpg


image: press44.jpg


image: press55.jpg


image: press88.jpg


Log in to reply   6 replies so far

In Ralph Green’s ‘Iron Hand Press in America’ he gives the dates of manufacture between 1900 & 1923. I would think you could say the press was made before 1910. Old printers called the Wesel brand machinery ‘weasels’, but they made excellent stuff. Your press was probably only used for taking proofs in a platemakers shop, rather than as a production press. It sure could use some TLC.


Being that you’re really not too far away it may be worth the drive to Printers’ Hall at Old Thershers Museum in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa where a fullty-restored and fully-operational Wesel Press is not only on display but actually in use!
Check Old Threshers web-site — refer to Printers’ Hall. wta

The serial number 300 cast on the press would seem to indicate a relatively late press — the highest Wesel serial number I have recorded is 396, so I would guess that 300 was probably made in or after the mid-teens, around 1915+. This press is very different from the Wesel at the Old Threshers, which is very much later. Your press appears to be complete, rusty but restorable. (I only see the upper half of the toggle in the photos — if the other piece is missing the press can not be made to work without it.) It’s probably worth around $2500-3000 if cleaned up and checked for completeness by someone who knows these presses. It probably weighs about 2000lbs!

North American Hand Press Database

Please advise which part/piece refers to the toggle.

I appreciate all the information that has been given to date. While printing presses are not my passion, I respect those that make a business and hobby out of it. I would hate to see this “scrapped” for metal when someone could actually use it.

Here’s a photo of another press’s toggle. You apparently have the upper of the two pieces. If you have the lower one as well then you are in good shape!


image: hand press figure-4 toggle.jpg

hand press figure-4 toggle.jpg

These Wesel, Schniedewend & Lee, and other post-1890 iron hand presses were beefed-up versions of Washington presses used previously for printing. These later, heavier presses, however, were not intended for printing, but for proofing photo-engravings.

-Steve Saxe