M. Gally/Colts Armory

I have just completed a year and a half long restoration of a Merritt Gally Universal and I have a question. Which direction is the flywheel intended to run? Toward you, or away from you. My research shows people running them in both directions. I am confident the manufacturer designed them for one direction over the other. I know in the past, this press was mostly run with the flywheel running toward you because of the gear wear visible before I replaced the gear, but, I am not confident it was being run correctly.

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The answer is…

“toward the feeder”.

See photo: https://photos.app.goo.gl/rPey81L9LdRJiAnA6

5th paragraph

I’ve collected this and several others from somewhere on the internet - can send an entire PDF if you’d like.

Love the Colts - such a fun press to run. We’re super lucky to have one.




Thank you Mike! OK, so my press was being run in the correct direction as the gear wear indicated after all. I will need to adjust to that as it’s the opposite for Golding which I have been running for years. I wonder what the exact reasons are for the toward you direction being mandated. Golding has a dwell engineered in that works against you if you run the press backwards. The platen opens quickly and shuts slowly run correctly, and the opposite if run in reverse. I haven’t noticed any dwell with the Universal presses. The most noticeable change is that the form rollers have to reverse rotation direction either on the upward motion or the downward motion as they first hit the ink cylinder or first leave the ink cylinder.

I love them too. They are amazingly capable presses. I was printing for the first time and dialing mine in this week. Hard not to notice all the good features. Having restored, operated and sold many brands, this is what is known as a “keeper”.

Would love any literature you might have. [email protected]

Thanks again,


Mike can you send me a copy of that PDF as well?
[email protected]

Hey please toss me a copy if you can, I’m into learning as much as I can on Colts Armory presses now too since we have one now too. THANKS!!! S.Alt email (salt at Lcom.net)

image: Colts.jpg


Here’s an image of the first Gally Universal from a 1872 brochure. It does not say anything about flywheel rotation, but my pre-WWI Victoria turns toward the feeder and has an arrow to show it.

image: UPM.jpg


I have been doing more reading of all the literature we have available. There is no literature specifically on the Gally that indicates flywheel direction. The source mentioning the flywheel should always move “toward the feeder” is for a Colts Armory or a Laureate of a much later design. The later design added another gear in between the flywheel and the main ink drum. This means the Gally would have to have the flywheel running in the opposite direction of the Colts Armory for the ink drum to be running in the same direction. It also means the form rollers would only behave in the same way if the flywheel was run “away from the feeder”. I suspect your Victoria has that extra gear as well, Eric. I’m back to where I started not really knowing which way is correct for this early Gally Universal.

I’ll have to go look to be sure, but my memory is that this Victoria has a large internal gear, and the main ink drum is driven directly from that. The main drum turns up and away from the feeder, and the form rollers turn in the same rotation as the flywheel. An intermediate gear drives the upper drum so it turns as the main drum does.

I’ll add that I am leaning toward running the flywheel away from the feeder. This makes the ink drum rotate away from the feeder like the newer presses do when their flywheels rotate toward the feeder(because of that extra gear). In other words, I think the rotation direction of the ink drum is more important than the flywheel. The ink drum has a direct effect on the form rollers rotation. Run the way I describe, the form rollers continue to roll in the same direction on the down stroke rather than having to reverse direction as they stop contact with the ink drum and the trucks hit the rails, just “before” they are to start inking the form. I’d rather have them changing direction on the up stroke right “after” they get off the form I think.