Info on Kelsey Junior Excelsior Model R

I just purchased a Kelsey Junior Excelsior Model R from eBay and was wondering if anyone can give me information on it. It needs some parts and cleanup but I think it’ll be a fun project.
First question: Is this a self inking press? I don’t see rollers on any of them but they all have the roller hooks.
The press is also missing the inking table. Any ideas on where to find a replacement or which other Kelsey tables will work with it? thanks everyone!

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These aren’t very common, so I am including the picture/info from the aforementioned auction:

Length: Base 7 1/2 inches, length, including handle 13 inches.
Width: 5 1/4 inches.
Chase Size: 2 x 3 1/4 inches

The museum at Letterpress Commons has this bit:
Model R Known also as the Kelsey Junior press, this is another in the line of Kelsey Excelsior presses. It was still being made in 1925 as it is shown in a catalog of that date.

Definitely a self-inker.

image: kelsey_junior.jpg


There was a earlier model of it, they are different. it is going to be hard to find a ink disk, you will need to find someone with a lathe to make one. see what you can rig up for the notches or just turn by hand, your not going to do big runs on it. I do have rollers for them look me up when ready or if you need some measurements of disk.

image: kelsey 014.jpg

kelsey 014.jpg

image: kelsey 012.jpg

kelsey 012.jpg

Thanks for the info. I ended up taking the hit on eBay and backing out of the sale. I just think the guy had the press way overpriced for the amount of work it needed - and it seems nearly impossible to find an ink table for it.

There was one sold at the Great Norther Printer’s Fair in September. Prior to that, I don’t recall ever seeing one in 36 years of acquiring presses and printing materials. I used to think that the 3”x5” was Kelsey’s smallest press. So I would definitely say it is extremely uncommon.


Rick, I’ve been at it since 1961 and only saw one when I first was getting started, haven’t seen one since.

As best as I can tell from my records, the Kelsey Jr. was made for about 30 years or so from the late 1920s to around 1960. The price was $5.90 in 1930 and 13.95 in 1960. Dickg’s early press is a Kelsey #1 from around 1880 and had a chase a little larger then the Jr. The smallest Kelsey was the $1.00 press from the early 1880s which had a chase of 1 X 2 1/4.

As an occasional seller on eBay, I feel you should have done your due diligence on the press before making a bid. Your bid, that you backed out on, left the seller in the lurch. I feel that the pictures and description of the press were accurate. Shame on you!

I started working at Kelsey in 1972, and while I cannot tell you exactly when the last run of Juniors was made, it was definitely before my time. However I do remember occasionally working up some replacement parts from leftover castings.


When I was going to make my first Kelsey press purchase when I was a kid, it was going to be the Jr. Model, strictly due to cost. I was making $1 an hour in the mid 1970’s, but my boss at the print shop talked me into the 3 x 5 instead. Glad he did, but in some way it it might have been more collectible, since I found and added an Adana five three in 1981, so would have had a variety of press sizes by now.