“Favorite” tabletop press?

So today at an auction I purchased a small table top press. The only markings I have found so far, as it is still bolted down, is the word FAVORITE across the back.
As you can imagine doing an internet search & briar press search for “Favorite Letterpress” gets you a whole lot of information. Please reply if you can inform me of the maker. I will be restoring this winter and will want to find some parts and research its original finish and such.

Log in to reply   30 replies so far

I believe it was Damon & Peets that made a “Favorite” press; the ones I’ve seen were floor-model treadle presses, but the name may also have been used by them for a tabletop press. Possible a search on Damon & Peets Favorite Press would give results — don’t use “Letterpress” as that is a recent term for the equipment, the term having been used for years for the relief printing process.


Thanks Bob, that will help.

Bob, You are right I am only finding Damon & Peets floor models, but not much on the tabletop size. My FAVORITE has an upside down “35” above its name- I assumed for 3x5, but the printing area is 4.25” x 6”. Hmmm.. I will keep searching. Thanks.

If it is a table top it is either by Curtis, & Mitchel of Boston, inside chase 4.5” x 6.5”. or a rail press from World Manufacturing Co of New York.
As already mentioned there was a third press called a Favorite by Damon & Peets.

Can you post a picture?

Thanks PlatenPrinter for additional makers to research. Here are photos. I am wondering about the large handle that seems to be borrowed from a floor press as a quick fix or maybe not- maybe thats the original and simply welded back on after a break. I will be looking for parts and locating photos of this model over the next few months. I wont start working on it till December or so. If you have any info, photos, or parts location, please pass along. Thanks!

image: IMG_3823.JPG


image: IMG_3818.JPG


Elizabeth Harris mentions a Favorite (circa 1888) made by Curtis & Mitchell after an earlier model by William Gorham, with a chase size 4 1/2 x 6 1/2.

I forgot to add, Curtis and Mitchell were absorbed into Kelsey.

My exact chase size is 4.5 x 6.125. The press is stamped with a “35” above the word “FAVORITE” and the chase has a “41” stamped on it and the platen has “37” stamped on it. Are these part numbers?

I will keep searching in my library for any other Favorites or similar chase sizes.
I appreciate your help. Wish I could find an illustration referencing the 1888 Favorite. What sets it apart from the other Curtis & Mitchells of that era is its leg design. All the weight goes to one central “joint” in the middle of the press, and then a support leg comes down in the middle of the press in the back. No arched pieces either.
Thanks Again.

Photo of numbers, center legs, and side profile.

image: IMG_3905 - Copy.JPG

IMG_3905 - Copy.JPG

image: IMG_3899 - Copy.JPG

IMG_3899 - Copy.JPG

image: IMG_3902 - Copy.JPG

IMG_3902 - Copy.JPG

Finally got the scanner to work.
I presume the finish was black with a gold pattern

image: favorite.jpg


Yes! that is it! Thanks Platenprinter!
Is this made by Curtis & Mitchell?
Was this illustration from a book? If so, which book?

When cleaning on the under side I noted black with gold pin stripping. But my chase really does measure 4 1/2 by just a little over 6 (6 1/8).
I wonder how I determine roller diameter? Length is a given.
It looks like I am only missing 2 pieces. Thats good.
Do you have a guess on how common these are? I only ask so I know my chances of finding parts.
I am hoping that your illustration is from a book and it has more info in it, such as date & maker.

Thank you,

The info is from ‘A Catalogue of Nineteenth Century Printing Presses’ by Harold E. Sterne
The US ISBN is 1-58456-047-9
Pages 186, 187
There is no other information, I am guessing your press is rare as the book states that Kelsey took over Curtis & Mitchell and several other press manufacturers.

The numbers are almost certainly parts nos ,you could have an intimate feel and look over your machine and do some counting ,the number of parts will come close to the highest mould number you locate ,ant variation betwen the two figures may be the number of bolts or washers ,the numbers may tell you if they are ,it may require you count washers of similar size as one part ,and the same with anything else that is double like bolts ,if nothing else you will learn things that normally you just never notice .

One UK supplier will produce rollers for the Curtis & Mitchell 4 x 6 http://ellievans.myshopify.com/pages/made-to-order

You then have to manufacture a pair of frisket fingers (grippers)

Thank you for the wonderful information and yes, I was excited to find the numbering. I like to take things apart and layout the pieces, so the numbering will help in my identifying and photo taking.
I am not so worried about having rollers made as I am the gripper fingers.
What do think my chances are at finding one of these presses to use for parts? I figure Briar Press is my best bet of locating one. A completely restored press would tell me roller diameter and frisket finger specifications. Wouldn’t that be wonderful!?
I would like to know exact year made and manufacturer for certain. History of the press is just as important as its function. I will want to make a small book that stays with the press, giving as many details about it as I can find.

Thanks Again! You got me off and running.

Here she is… After Lots of Debating… to repaint and/or add gold again? I wasn’t too sure. I am pleased with the outcome. Steve Alt and John Stimson were great help, along with all you on Briar Press finding me info and such. Let me know what you think- pros or cons.

image: IMG_0132 - Copy.JPG

IMG_0132 - Copy.JPG

image: Favorite_sm - Copy.jpg

Favorite_sm - Copy.jpg

Beautiful! Now get some ink and solvent on it.


Beautiful job on the restoration.

Tom & Terri
T & T Press Restoration

It turned out beautiful.

Winfred Reed
Black Diamond Press (Kentucky)

Awesome! Great job!!

If anyone comes across any info on this press… please pass along. All I have is the illustration and short paragraph that is listed above. So I am wanting to gather more. 1875 Favorite.

I got the rollers in, but the wrong diameter (even though I sent along the trucks with the cores), so it will be a little while before I am throwing ink on it. :(

I wanted to mention that Steve Alt did the majority of the work- made those little arms that hold down the paper and the trucks/cores, along with numerous other little missing pieces. This never would have happened without his craftsmanship…oh, did I mention he made the wood pieces as well! I was lucky enough to be more of a general contractor on this project.

What paint did you use for the gold pin stripping?
The details on my Sigwalt Chicago could use a bit of a touch-up.

Argh..doublepost. Sorry.
Since I can’t delete this one, will attach a picture of li’l Sigwalt :)

image: 4628408219_1a11836254_o.jpg


Sigwalt is cute! Love the case.
I used Dodge Coronet Gold Automotive paint. It seemed to be the closest match to whats on my C&P.
I just went to the closest custom paint shop and they mixed me up a small bottle for $12.

Since your Sigwalt travels- i would take to the paint shop and match up to their samples since you are doing touch ups- you want it to match well.

Hi Mel, I just today ( 7-13-2014 ) bought one of the Favorite tabletop presses. She does have a couple of problems but I think I can save it. I have pictures for anyone who would like to see them. I took pictures of what is left of the original decals ( not much to see really ). Different angles of the press including the broken parts which I will torch heat to temperature, nickle rod stick weld the parts back together then into the kiln to slowly bring down the temperature. I’m not sure at this point if I’ll fix it or part it out, I’ll have to do some more research. Just thought I would let you know you are not alone out there.

image: DSC00153.JPG


image: DSC00147.JPG


image: DSC00152.JPG


image: DSC00151.JPG


image: DSC00146.JPG


Wow I need another press to refinish after seeing these pictures!

Hey Bob,
Please forgive my delay in response. I did not even see your post till today. What did you do with your favorite?? I am so excited to see another one.

I know its been a while but I was directed to this thread and wanted to share my press I just got. It has the same legs and also has the same numbers cast onto every part but seems to have been made at a different time since it doesnt have the word Favorite cast into it only painted on and the handle seems to be different. Thats assuming its original since I cant seem to find any info except for whats here on these types of presses. If someone sees this I have a few questions on it so I can get her up and running again. I made the ink disk as a mock up on the size. I just guessed so any info on that would be helpful.

image: 2.jpg


image: 3.jpg


image: 1.jpg


image: 6.jpg


Here are a few more. I also have some questions about the rollers and trucks. The rollers are not the best and I have a suspicion they are the wrong size anyway. The trucks are basically scrap and I will need to make new ones so any info there would also be helpful.

image: 4.jpg


image: 5.jpg