Need a picture of C&P New Style Treadle - trying to install

I’m going to be hooking up a new treadle to my 10x15 C&P New Style tonight and I cannot find any close up pictures of how it connects.


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Jen -

Sorry that I don’t have a photo handy, but I’ll do my best to explain this in words. Mounting is really quite simple. It’s hard to install it incorrectly, but it is possible and there is one important warning (see #2)

1. The treadle should bolt the lower crossmember shaft in the back the press. That’s the rotation point. You may find u-bolts that will go around the shaft, or square “pillow blocks” blocks with straight bolts.

2. Be sure that the hook goes over the crankshaft from the back to the front, so that if you lift the treadle with your foot, it falls to the back, where there is plenty of clearance to alow the crankshaft to rotate without pinching the hook. Oil this bearing surface liberally.

If you try this with the hook going from front to back, when it comes off the crank, it will fall forward and be pinched. And, if it’s a cast-iron hook, it will break…

When I got my first 8x12, 43 years ago, I had a motor attached that ran at a constant speed of 30 impressions per minute. To get the press going, I would kick it with the treadle until it got up to speed, then simply slip my foot under the treadle to hold it up for one rotation, and it would fall back out of the way as I let the motor take over.

If yours is one of John Hern’s repoductions, it may have come with a cast iron hook. Be ready to replace that with one of wrought iron. The cast iron hooks are brittle and can break. Not only that, but the ones I have seen are rough on the inside of the crank area and add additional friction to the action, making them hard to pump. The inside of the hook is a bearing surface and should be smooth.

I am planning on manufacturing some wrought-iron hooks because I have a broken one that came off of a friend’s press. Fortunately, she had two, so she can use the unbroken one until I can make a good wrought iron version. When I have them ready, I’ll post them for sale on my web site and will also contact Mr. Hern’s son (who I believe is carrying on his father’s work) and make them available to him.

There may be two holes for connecting the hook. If your press is mounted on 2x4’s or 2x6’s, you can use the lower hole and the treadle will have the clearance to reach the floor. If the press is unmounted, use the upper hole so that you have the clearance for the treadle to come rest just off the floor on the down stroke.

I currently use a treadle on my 5x7 Pearl and my 9x13 Gordon. Both work quite well. For my 10x15 C&P, I use the electic motor. Also be prepared for increased load when you ink up the press. An uninked press runs easily with a treadle and should continue for at least 5-10 impressions once you stop pumping. One without rollers, easier still. But, when you add ink, and calculate the additional friction of ink on the rollers and table, you will experience additional load that will require a bit more effort on your part.

Also - be sure that your press is well lubricated. My 12x18 - with no rollers installed, will run for 5-7 impressions with one firm throw of the flywheel. If your 10x15 does not, oil it, oil it, oil it.

If it’s dry - or squeaks at all, begin with a liberal dose of WD-40 sprayed into the holes, then follow up with a few solid pumps of straight 30 weight motor oil.

I had a student in my shop today with her new old style C&P Pilot. It moved okay when she pulled the lever, but after we followed the oiling procedure outlined above, she was amazed at how much easier it pulled.

These presses are very well balanced and a well-lubricated press - especially one with a well-balanced flywheel like your 10x15, should run almost effortlessly once it’s up to speed. Remember, 100 years ago, 15 year old kids ran (‘kicked’) these presses for many hours at a time at 30-40 impressions per minute almost non stop.

Also be sure that your ink table is well lubricated and and easily spins 5 or more rotations with a short pulll on it. If it doesn’t, remove it, clean the shaft with WD-40 and a scotch-brite pad to remove old varnish, then coat it well with 30-weight. A stiff ink table will also add load to your treadle-kicked press and may not give you the 2-3 tooth advance you should expect from it on each impression.

I hope this has been some help and that you enjoy ‘kicking’ your 10x15….

BTW I have an old 1910 Scientific American advert for a steam power system for sale to print shops that uses the catch-phrase “Stop kicking your press. Let Steam Power do the work for you!”… ;)


- Alan

I can’t thank you enough for the advice!!! Luckily after reading your post I do have the hook facing correctly. But it does make sense about the cast iron and being more rough on the inside, instead of smooth. Would it make any difference to grind/file that a bit so it’s smooth? Luckily the guy that I bought the treadle from (though it is a Hern Iron Works treadle) purchased an extra hook so I do have two of them. But, please do let me know when you reproduce some of your own!

I will be printing your post to go through everything you mentioned and see if I can get it going more smoothly.

Thanks again!

Hi. I was reading through this thread and find myself in a predicament similar to Jen’s in terms of trying to install a treadle on a C&P New Style. The difference is that, apparently, my press never accommodated a treadle and doesn’t have a crank shaft. The reason I want the treadle in the first place is that I’m rather new to letterpress and I need more control; the motor simply goes too fast for me. Do you have any ideas what I can do? Thanks, Kelly

To Kelly:

If your press came with a straight shaft, the most logical first step is to find a crank shaft and replace it. Many C&P’s are lost each year to scrap dealers due to the difficulty of removing them from basements and other hard-to-get-to storage locations.

But the flywheel/crankshaft assembly is generally quite easy to remove, so you may be able to salvage that part alone. It’s held in place by 3 screws on the left and a small drive gear on the right. Typically, all it takes is a strong blow with a 3# hammer (use a 2x4 to cushion the blow - don’t strike the gear directly) to dislodge the gear and remove the key that holds it in place. Removing the three screws on the left takes a minute.

In other words, recovering a crankshaft is quite practical even on a press otherwise unmoveable. The trick is to find the press. But that’s not all that difficult either. they are out there and I do come across them in my letterpress rescue efforts.


Let me know where you are, and which model C&P you have - new series/old series, 8x12, 10x15 or what ever.

We can put out a request for a crank shaft and quite possibly find one for you. I’d suggest posting a request here in the world-renowned Briar Press classifieds.

Just be sure to list where you are and what press you have.

- Alan

Replacing the crankshaft is fine - but it bastardizes your press originality. Here are four options you might consider:
1) install an electronic speed controller on your present motor.
2) locate, then install a Horton clutch.
3) simply jury-rig a pedal to the existing flywheel ala Singer sewing machine.
4) Use an on/off technique to control the speed, ie: switch the motor on, print until you feel the speed is gaining on your feed ability, then switch off the motor allowing the press to coast until you feel confident in switching it back on again. Kinda Mickey Mouse, I agree - but it does save the hassle of the mechanical changes. Plus, I feel that soon enough you’ll have mastered feeding skills to the point where you’ll wish for increased speeds at times.

I’ve no understanding of your mechanical aptitude/skills, however, the above suggestions are straight-forward in implementation. In my opinion.

Oh, yes. You do have a brake on the press?

Alan and Laurence,

Thank you, thank you for your input! I think all these ideas sound feasible; I do have a reluctance to muck with the originality of the press but I will focus on that option as one of last resort. I have a C&P New Style 8x12, which does indeed have a brake, and I live in Menlo Park, CA, 40 minutes south of San Fransisco. My skills are adequate in regard to the feed issue but I do need more practice to feel confident. I have two questions: where would I find a variable speed motor and what is a Horton clutch? Thanks,

Kelly - I would not be terribly concerned about ‘mucking with the originality of the press’ by changing the shaft. C&P continued to offer the crankshaft as an option long after the days of the treadle. On later models, it was used to drive the air pump used with an automatic feeder - also an option (at least on the 10x15 models)

But in any case, if speed control is the issue, I’d forget about using a treadle at all and simply get a variable speed motor. Buying a new variable speed motor can be very, very expensive. I still use the original 1914 variable speed motor on my 10x15 and it is easy to maintain. I”ve changed brushes on it once in 40 years and recommend using an original C&P motor if one can be found.

I’ll begin looking.

Another option would be to get a fixed-speed motor that runs the press at 15-20 impressions per minute. That should be fast enough to combat boredom while slow enough to feed small or large sheets.

A third (an somewhat off-the-wall) option would be to have an assistant (your printer’s devil) pump the press from behind. We did that one time when we lost electricity for a day. It really is not that difficult. Try it and see. Just get behind the press and spin the flywheel to get it started, then see how easily it keeps going by simply pumping up and down from the back.

Any properly-equipped electric component shop will have motor speed controls. However, such device will not be inexpensive.
A Horton clutch is/was a mechanical centrifugal device that was often used on machinery needing speed control. Very much in use on the hand-fed presses, it was a common addition to the C&P models. Almost fool-proof (there are fools out there), it provided the press operator with a wide range of controllable speeds simply with the placement of its control stick. Inquiry to this list, or to a dealer such as Don Black, will very likely produce result. Easy to install on your press, I believe it would suit your requirement. However, such device will not be inexpensive.
Then there is the existing brake. Purists will shudder, electric motor re-winders will salivate, but you can control press speed by weighting the brake such that it provides a light drag upon the flywheel. Experimentation will give you the needed weights to achieve desired speed. Inexpensive solution - unless you over-tax the motor. In my opinion.

You guys are good! Thank you so much for your input. This is absolutely invaluable!
And Laurence, thanks so much for starting a search for a variable speed motor. What can I do to make this search productive but without taking a lot of your time? In other words, what exactly, am I to be looking for? Thanks again,

You guys are good! Thank you so much for your input. This is absolutely invaluable!
And Laurence, thanks so much for starting a search for a variable speed motor. What can I do to make this search productive but without taking a lot of your time? In other words, what exactly, am I to be looking for? Thanks again,

I cannot take credit for someone else’s idea - Alan Runfeldt initiated a search for a variable speed motor; I simply suggested approaches to speed control.
However, any reputable dealer in either the modern electronic control or the more traditional control mechanisms will understand your request for such devices, and there are illustrations of such in many publications pertaining to letterpress. The Big Red Linotype book has such pictures, as has the 1923 ATF Specimen and Type Catalogue. As has been recommended so often on this site, a thorough reading of any and all letterpress-related books is an invaluable source to anyone entering the field. And they are a wealth of layout and design creation. In my opinion.