Peerless Press

I bought an old Peerless Press last week made by Cropper and Charlton of Nottingham in the UK, I think about 1880. It was my first experience of trying to move one of these heavy beasts but once it was safely in it’s temporary home (my fathers garage), I lubricated it’s dusty oil holes and it came to life, turning beautifully like it was constructed just last week.

The only obviously missing parts are the rollers and I am struggling to find a company that can make these up for me.
Has anyone had any experience of getting rollers for rare old presses made up from scratch?

This model is particularly confusing because I think in the US it is called a Pearl?

Also does anyone know what the part in the last photo below is, it looks meaningful but I can’t work out what it does or is for.

There are more pics and a little video of the machine running here:

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Great press, looks like a 7 x 11” and we have one exactly like it, and we live in the UK. So happy to help.

Bits that are missing are:

-The throw off handle/lever (what’s this bit?/last photo)
-Feed/delivery table
-One gripper (not critical)
-Gripper spring
-Ink table (not critical)
-Wooden drawers (not critical)

Your biggest problem is the lack of throw off lever. I had mine fixed a short while back and I couldn’t use the press without it as it turns impression ‘on or off’ and we were ‘off’ without it.

I know someone who has a set of rollers that will fit your press (you’d need to discuss with them if they want to part with them of course), but you will need runners/trucks. I am bizarrely enough having one new runner made in the next few weeks, if you wanted to have yours made up at the same time it might make sense.

There are a few roller companies in the UK that can make up new rollers, there’s Ellie Evans and another who I can’t recommend as I’m having great difficulty with them! Your mileage as they say ‘may vary’!

Contact me and I’ll help as much as I can.

Congrats on your new press. She is a beauty. I may be able to help with your missing cores and trucks. I make them for the Golding & Co. Boston, Ma. presses which include the Pearl. I believe your press is a copy(good copy) of the Golding Pearl Old Style No. 3 which has an 7” x 11” inside chase measurement. Others with more historical knowledge may offer more enlightenment on that issue. We would need to check some key dimensions because there are some subtle and not so subtle differences, but, it shouldn’t be much of a problem. The rubber recovering part should be available locally and others from the UK should be able to direct you. Here is a link to my 1877 Pearl in action:
My website showing the cores and trucks I make is here:

Now to that mystery part. The Pearl doesn’t have this, and I don’t know for sure what it is for. My guess is that it may be part of a throw off mechanism. The rocker shaft that it is mounted on may not be concentric so that if that part is rotated it would move the rocker in or out allowing the press to be put on or off print. If so, that would mean a handle of some sort is missing. That is just my guess. Enjoy!


A belated thank you to both of you, John I’ve gone with a UK engineer to make the trucks via Nick at theprintproject. Many many thanks for your help and kind offer.

The mystery part does appear to be part of a throw off mechanism and having a handle made up will be my next challenge. Nick who commented above sent me an image of the handle attached to his Cropper which I’m sure he won’t mind me posting.

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Hi! I’m wondering if you can help me (please).

I have the opportunity to “save” a press that looks similar to yours from salvage. I am completely unfamiliar with the process of printmaking and what I should be looking for. I have tried to do some research but have not been able to find any specific information and am concerned that finding parts may prove to be too difficult but I am willing to put in the time and resources if this is a restorable piece.

I am attaching a few quick photos that I was able to take. I was not able to inspect it in any detail but it appears to be in fairly good condition and the major components do operate.

My specific questions would be concerning a rough estimate of value, parts that appear missing, the difficulty in finding and/or having parts made and if this press looks to be one that would be a good press to purchase. If there is anything else I should consider or be educated about, I’m all ears.

Thank you for your time, knowledge and advice. I would love the opportunity to keep this press out of the scrapyard and learn the printmaking process.


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This is a different model to mine but I can see from your pictures that the inking disk is missing which is a round metal disk that rotates slowly above the platen to ensure even distribution of the ink to the rollers. This is just a disk but has a failrly complicated circle of ‘teath’ underneath it which the mechanism engages with to make it rotate. I’m not metal worker but I imagine this would be hard to make from scratch.

There also appears to be no chase which is the rectangular metal piece that would hold your forme ( the type or printing plate) In place. This would be easier to make however.

These are very old presses and I have found it virtually impossible to find parts, not a single one of these presses has come up on eBay since I bought mine for example.

Having said that I am part way through restoring mine and it’s coming together. It’s a very well made press and a very nice compact size for home printing.

Interestingly, the phrase “to come a cropper” refers to getting your fingers caught in one of these machines.

As a guide I paid £400 for mine in the UK which I think was a little over the odds…I have had to get runners and rollers made as well as having a new impression lever made, a piece which your appears to have.

I think the missing inking disk would be my biggest worry with buying this, ask them if they have it somewhere.


Thank you, Nick. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the quick response and information.

From what you wrote, I am concluding that this may not be a wise endeavor for me (a complete novice) to undertake. Would you agree?

I doubt he will have the inking disk but will ask. He has lost the lease on a storage building (with decades of stuff in it) and has been trying to sell it as a decorative piece with no success. He is now planning to send it to the scrapyard.

I have a machinist friend who can help me make most anything but am worried that, since I will not have anything for him to see, it will not be possible to fabricate the missing parts. I am in the States so I doubt it will be possible to find anyone here who can help. Have you been able to find any literature or references I could refer to that would show me all of the mechanisms and parts?

Thank you, again, for your assistance. I love the photos of your press and will check it periodically to see the progress.


Any hand fed platen in the uk is expensive , they sell very quickly it took me ages to find one of mine . on the other hand you can pick up heidelberg platens for as little as £100 here yet i see you over there paying £1000 or more .

Any hand fed platen in the uk is expensive , they sell very quickly it took me ages to find one of mine . on the other hand you can pick up heidelberg platens for as little as £100 here yet i see you over there paying £1000 or more .

Thanks for the additional information. If I could purchase it and send it back to the UK to it’s “proper home” knowing 1.) it would be financially feasible and 2.) arrive intact, I would in a minute. I am still waiting to hear from a few other sources before making the final decision. Thanks, again, for all the time and sharing your knowledge with me.

You might be able to find an ink disc from a similar press and adapt it — this is a British version of the Golding Pearl if I’m not mistaken, but I would bet Pearl parts would not fit stock, though it might be possible. If you can find the original disc it should otherwise be a decent press — it appears that Cropper added a throw-off to the Pearl Old Style design as well as changing the frame design.


Yes that is my understanding too that the Golding Pearl and the Peerless are the same press, one made under license from the other manufacturer, can’t remember which way around it was. They all have that lovely heart shape in the foot treadle.

As I said the one you’ve seen is quite different to mine, the frame looks like a single cast piece where as mine is in two pieces bolted together.

I don’t think my sending pictures or measurements of the ink disk would help as it would likely not be the same specs as yours.

I hate the idea of this going to scrap though.

My word! An ‘improved’ Peerless. This is impressive. I wander what is improved about it?

That throw off lever looks really good. Not keen on the all in one design though, that would make it harder to move, but that doesn’t affect the way it works does it?

Looks like it’s missing the feed table and the delivery table is in rough shape. Can’t figure out what size the press is - either an 8 x 5 or 7 x 11. If it’s an 8 x 5 it’s OK to use, but you will be limited to what you can produce, wheras the 7 x 11 opens things up much more.

Not sure if this press had/has the option to have two drawers above the treadle or not. Ours only ever collects crap so we never keep our sarnies (sandwiches) in there.

As for prices - (I can only speak for the UK), you can still pick up decent treadle platens dirt cheap, sometimes on ebay (that can of worms) or elsewhere. As has been said many times elsewhere on this forum - all the desktop platens go for silly money, even though I’ve seen them go for for far less. We want to buy one for demonstrations but are massively reluctant to do so because of this.

Chases - never done it but you can make one out of wood (search Briar Press for info) or you can even get them cast if you can get a pattern made up. Runners (trucks) and rollers shouldn’t be too hard to get sorted, you just need to know the diameters. If you need help with those, just ask.

I was impressed by the images of the first press- like a Golding Pearl Oldstyle, but with three sets of form roller hooks!

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Thank you ALL for the great information. I have spoken with a few people stateside (none that are familiar with or have ever seen this model) and they have told me that the Golding Pearl parts are extremely scarce. No one seems to know if the parts could be modified or interchanged. Would it help if I can get the exact size of this press? How and what do I measure? I was also advised that unless I can get the price drastically reduced, it definitely isn’t worth the trouble.

The Golding experts are Mike Anton and John Falstrom.

You should be able to find their contact info through a search on this site.


Hi everyone,

Nturpin and theprintproject I was wondering if you might be able to share where you got your trucks/roller runners made in the U.K? I have just bought a press which has no manufacturers mark on it but I have been informed it is most likely a Peerless (chase 7x11) and it is missing the roller runners. I dont really know where to start regarding getting these made so would appreciate any guidance you can give!

Thank you!