Press Identification, Help Please

I have come by a tabletop letterpress in need of restoration. I would like to put it in operational condition. The first step, of course is identifying what type of press it is. There are no markings on the castings that I can find. The chase is missing, so here are some dimensions I took:

Platten Area: 5-1/2” X 8”
Ink Disk Dia: 8”
Area where chase inserts: 9” wide X 5-1/2” tall
Base is round

I think it to be a Sigwalt Nonpareil No 24, but I would like confirmation from someone knowledgeable.

See attached pics. Any help will be appreciated.

Log in to reply   12 replies so far

If it has a round base and the bed tilts forward slightly it is most likely a Sigwalt Nonpareil 5x8 and they are excellent presses. Check the name of your photo — it should be without special characters, a simple name like “handpress.jpg” should upload with no problem if it is small.


This is his press
nonparelle 24 I am thinking off top of my head.
5x7.5 chase size

image: 81362EE6-3F72-4394-8B5D-00DE161207F9_1_201_a.jpeg


image: 186C418C-9A37-4A1A-BC56-D4B597DE2192_1_201_a.jpeg


Thanks, Todd for posting my pics. The pic file name is small. My files must bee too big (they are 4MB each). When I figure out how to make my iPhone take smaller .jpgs I put more up.

It is a beautiful little press and I’m trying to restore her.

My biggest problem is the “C” link that makes the ink rollers go up and down has broken off. Only two or three inches of the top part remains. The other piece(s) are lost to time. Perhaps someone out there is selling off parts from a similar press???? Maybe someone can provide a template so I can have one fabricated out of steel plate from a local fabricator??? I am also missing the chase and grippers

I am trying to source the ink roller springs and gripper spring locally.

Any help from the community is appreciated.

Here are some re-sized pics.

image: Ink Rollers.jpg

Ink Rollers.jpg

image: IMG0836.JPG


image: IMG0835.JPG


image: IMG0834.JPG


Here is a side view of that side of my Nonpareil 6x9. It looks like the only criteria to worry about is the length between the two points of attachment and the clearance inside the hooks at both ends. I don’t see any reason why the ends of the “C” could both not be a bit longer to assure clearance. You will also, it appears, need two more roller hooks as well as the chase. I made grippers for mine from 1/16x1/2 inch aluminum bar stock bent around a rod of a slightly smaller diameter than the rod on the press, and drilled for a screw with a nut to clamp them on the rod. I have used them that way for about 50 years. :-)

Regards, Bob

image: Nonpareil.jpg


Bob, I have the other two roller hooks. They were bent and I took them off to straighten them. I am, however, missing one of the four roller hook springs. I’m trying to source them through McMaster Carr. Yup, that’s the arm I need shown in your picture. If I can’t find someone willing to sell me one from an old press, I suppose I’ll have to take it to a fabrication shop and see what they can do. Do you think you could post another picture of that arm (just like above) but with the handle in the down position? That, I think would be helpful in understanding the clearance needed for fabricating a new one. As for the missing grippers, Tom at T&T Press says he can fabricate a pair for me that will look original. One of my ink rollers is fine, the other one was bent. I’m trying to contact Ramco Roller (San Dimas, CA) about having them re-furb my rollers. I am missing the chase. Again, I was hoping someone would be willing to sell me a chase, but I may have to have one fabricated. Restoring this little press is looking to be expensive.

Here is the press closed. Note that the critical upper clearance is when the press is open, and the critical lower clearance is when the press is closed. I suspect that a blacksmith could make the part out of steel bar stock, probably 3/8” to 1/2” thick by one inch wide with the distance between the holes at the ends of the “arms” matched to the press. Probably even a farrier could do it.

The chases for my press are held in by two steel pins on the sides of the bed, working against a double-wedge-shaped protrusion on the middle of the short sides of the chase that also center the chase on the bed (see second photo). I found that chases from Sigwalt Ideal (the later model) presses of the same size would fit.


image: Chase.jpg


image: Sigwalt 2.jpg

Sigwalt 2.jpg

I outlined the link in the previous photo. If you enlarged this image until the holes at the ends are the correct distance apart when the press is open at rest, you could use that as a template for a blacksmith to make you a link. I don’t think the oval in the middle serves any particular purpose, but it did make a handy place for me to attach the actuator for my counter.

image: Sigwalt roller arm link.jpg

Sigwalt roller arm link.jpg

Bob, Thank you! I will do as you suggest.


Thanks to all who have posted for the help.

I had no luck in locating the missing arm, so I went to a metal fabricator shop and had one made. It ran me $175. The roller arms go up and down now. It’s slowly coming to life.

I need the ink rollers refurbished (pics above in this thread). One is fine and works on the press, the other one is bent. My aim was to remove the rubber and straighten it. I pressed off the end but the rubber wasn’t going anywhere.

Can anyone recommend a place to send them to to have them refurbished?