1940’s print shop

We have recently purchased a building that has an abandoned newspaper and print shop in its entirety. This is not our area of expertise; we were hoping to open a retail establishment. We started throwing away old newspaper and scrapping some lead items just to get them out of the way. Some of the equipment we have is a Vandercook #2, quoins and keys, binder machine, lead saws, smelter with tons of scrap lead, brass letters by the door full that we had started mixing for scrap, Heiderburg machine with ink bottles on top, Meilhigh 1907 printer, 4 huge steel covered tables with shelves or lead print, One beautiful angled case Ludlow missing a drawer, an 4 x 4 box of assorted wooden blocks and lots of other stuff and PAPER we haven’t a clue what it is. Raccoon in ceiling, included.

This is where we need help. Since we have mixed all the brass fonts should we go ahead and scrap them? Is it worth the time and effort to piece and part all this stuff out or should we just focus on a couple things? We are in Western Ohio and know shipping costs would be astronomical if pieces were going very far. Opinions???

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Well it would help to know where in Western Ohio. Are you bent on just scrapping everything. Why not give people a chance first to look at it? You might come out better trying to unload to some of the Letterpress printers rather than scrapping. These things are not manufactured any longer. I’m sure there would be an interest if more details and pictures where involved. Make a list, and take offers! Please don’t mix any more mores or type together until you see if someone wants to buy them.
Winfred Reed
Black Diamond Press -KY

We aren’t bent on scrapping. I guess we didn’t realize what we had at first. It was quite a mess. We just knew we had to start somewhere. But, after digging through a lot of it it starting becoming pretty clear it was mostly complete. We would prefer someone to use them than melt them down. The link to Flicker pics is http://www.flickr.com/photos/90683279@N06/

I would love to have a look.
Please contact me.
[email protected]

Those “Brass Letters” are more than likely the casting matrices for either the Ludlow (cabinet shown) or the Linotype machine. They are actually very much sought after, and would be of value to many people who own these machines.

I think many operators would not be mindful of paying scrap rate for the mats, and picking the various fonts apart, while tedious, is not impossible.

Also seen in the pictures was the base for a Rouse Vertical Miterer, a couple Addressograph machines (that come with thousands of plates).

If you can contact an established letterpress printer who deals with hot metal typesetting (vs photopolymer) they can give you a good idea of what you have, at which point you can advertise and determine what the market is or isn’t—at which point scrapping could be considered.

BTW, that “lead” is typemetal alloy and is worth much more than most scrapyards will offer. In short lots (50 lbs) on Ebay, it tends to pull $1.00 lb +. A lesser price, but better than the scrapyards, would be useful to operators of Linotypes and Ludlows out there.

Best of luck in finding homes for these items, especially that big Miehle flatbed.
mebody local caaeC

I live in Eastern Ohio and have a vintage print shop museum In Burton, Ohio. I am retired and have over fifty years of letterpress. I would sure like to come to see your
equipment. I may buy or could advise. Duke Sr

You’ve got some very nice equipment there! I believe your Intertype machine (which was a clone of the famous Linotype) is of the “mix-master” style with the auxiliary short magazines off to the right of the main magazines. This would make it a bit rarer than other styles of machine. The hand-crank Vandercook is likely to be quite sell-able as those kinds of press are very popular with art printers these days. You would do well to contact Fritz Klinke at NA Graphics (www.nagraph.com) for details on it as he owns the rights to the Vandercook name and archive and has all their old sales records and files and such. Someone will quite likely be interested in the Heidelberg Original platen press. They’re quite popular with jobbing letterpress printers. The Miehle beast will be a bit harder to find a buyer for if for no other reason than it’s size, but hopefully someone will take it and restore it as they’re not very common any more. It would be a terrible waste to see it scrapped. The typecases (the drawers type is stored in) and their cabinets will be pretty easy to sell. Other people you might want to contact are Don Black Linecasting (www.donblack.ca) about the Intertype machine, Dave Seat of Hot Metal Services (www.hotmetalservices.com) about the Ludlow machine you’ve got there, and the folks at Bindery Tools (www.binderytools.com) and Boggs Graphics Equipment (www.boggsgraphics.com) and Wired Bids (www.wiredbids.com) about the rest of the equipment. I hope you find good homes for everything. Thanks for being willing to take the time and effort to do this rather than calling the scrappers and calling it a day.

Thank you! All members have been most helpful, sharing lots of ideas. Our heads are swimming learning about all this stuff! We will get more pictures made and some more general cleaning done to make sure we can get everything as complete as possible. Visitors and ideas are always welcome!

There are some of the equipment I would love to purchase.

What has happened with the print shop? Did you find someone to take it? I saw your ad right before Christmas, but have been too busy with the holidays to contact you, and now the ad is gone.