American Made Peerless Press 8x12 Need Info


I have an 8x12 Peerless platen press, made in Palmyra NY (not a British made Peerless Press) with a patent date on it of 1871-1873. It’s a sweet little press that was originally delivered by horse drawn wagon to the Conway Springs Star newspaper in Kansas and it has seen a lot of use.

There is little rubber stopper or brake that is supposed to contact the underside of the ink disk with friction and engage to prevent the disk from turning backward that does not current do it’s job. A retired machinist kindly came out to take a look at my press and showed me how to replace the deteriorating rubber and the approximate thickness of rubber to use. There is the possibility that this piece also employed a compression spring, and it seems that one would fit nicely on this part, but I am uncertain about a spring being original to this mechanism.

Does anyone have a made in Palmyra NY Peerless Press with this part working on their press? If so I would very much like to see a picture or video of how this mechanism operates on your press.

Also, does anyone have any oiling diagrams or other documentation for a made in Palmyra NY Peerless press? I only located a catalog page.

Here is a picture of the mechanism. Will try and add more pictures in a minute.


image: PXL_20230617_224142806_exported_15013.jpg


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Here’s a picture of my press and the ad that shows the various Peerless models.


image: Peerless Press Ad.png

Peerless Press Ad.png

image: peerless.jpg


I owned one of these (a 10x15) many years ago, but I don’t recall the part you are referencing. It is unlikely that it keeps the disk still, it seems it should rather work to move the disk forward. Can you back out your view a bit so we can see more of the press?

The press I had was just like the one pictured above.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

Hi John,

Very cool that you had a Peerless!

The mechanism lifts up when the rollers are at their lowest point and my understanding is that it is to prevent the disk from rotating backwards, which it currently does causing problems with inking. C&Ps also have a mechanism that prevents backward rotation of the disk but it does not use friction.

Here is a link to a video that shows the press in action, see how the mechanism lifts as the rollers finish cycling down?

But the piece does not make contact with the underside of the disk. The rubber piece is degraded so it may just be that but maybe also a missing spring.


If the picture shows the “plunger” standing up a bit in its socket, is it loose in the socket? If so, and there is a spring behind it inside the socket, I would suggest checking a hardware store, and ask for self-adhesive rubber bumpers such as you might put on a door to prevent it hitting the wall, or as rubber “feet” under some furniture. Clean the top of the plunger and peel and stick the rubber bumper to it. If it still doesn’t touch the back of the ink disc you can stretch the spring slightly until it is in firm contact but not lifting the ink disc. That should solve the problem.

I did a study of John M. Jones of Palmyra, who invented the Peerless, one among 10 different platen job presses he designed and manufactured, and printed a booklet of the report which was included in the “15 Prints on the Erie Canal” group project last year. I think there may be one other Peerless, in Cincinnati.


can you manually depress the plunger perhaps it needs to be lubricated as well as gluing on a thicker pad as per Bob’s suggestion.

The mechanism is certainly more advanced than the Peerless I owned back in the 1970s.

John Henry

Thanks for the replies!

The plunger has a screw to hold the rubber in place and my friend has tools to cut a piece with just the right hole size and he had neoprene of about the right thickness so that seemed to be a good thing to try, and I just got that last night. It’s maybe a slight improvement? The height of the rubber that I can use is limited by the length of the screw, so I can’t go much higher than the 5mm that Ernst measured on my press.

I marked my ink disk divided into 7 wedges, as I read that the Peerless is supposed to rotate 1/7 each time and that seems spot-on. The added neoprene seems to be stopping the disk sometimes and sometimes it is still creeping backward a bit.

Here is a video

The plunger makes contact for such a short amount of time that maybe I’m expecting too much of it. Or maybe I should try and add a washer or a little bit of other material below the neoprene as I think it could make a bit better contact.

I am no longer convinced that a spring makes sense as I tried cutting one down pretty short and then the plunger makes constant contact with the disk.

I was surprised to learn a few days ago about the Print Shop museum in Palmyra. Has anyone visited and is it worth the trip?

It seems that not many people own a Peerless press, I’d really love to know more about how many there are still around.

Bob, can you tell me more about your booklet? Does it have information specific to Peerless presses? I can’t find anything online. And is the booklet for sale?




It appears you have your solution. The disk is moving and not backsliding. Although the revolutions are unequal, the disk is turning enough to give you quite good distribution of the ink.

I have visited the museum at Palmyra, New York. It exhibits a couple of Jones’s machines and is set up as it might have been “in the day.” When we were there, there was no one doing any printing, but it appeared that the presses were occasionally used and run. It seems like they also had a Peerless cutter. We stayed overnight in Palmyra while on a narrow boat trip along the Eire Canal. If I can find a photo, I’ll post one.

John Henry

Here are a couple photos taken at the Palmyra Print Shop Museum in Palmyra, NY in the summer of 2016. Ignore that person behind the impression lever.

image: PalmyraMuseum.JPG


image: JohnHatPeerless.JPG


Sorry about the orientation of the general photo, I couldn’t see how to rotate it . It appeared unrotated when I viewed the original image.

John H.

Very cool, John, thanks for posting pictures! I love the distinctive features of Peerless/John M Jones presses.

Sorry, Sasha, I just saw your message/comment. Send me an email with your address (via Briar Press) and I will send you a copy, although it does not have much specifically about the Peerless. One writer said, though, that at one time the Peerless was very popular with printers and there were many in use. Jones left very little behind when he died, but somewhere there may be an owners brochure if such was published. Your best bet is to turn the press over slowly by hand while studying the actions of the various components to see how they work together. The innovation was apparently the toggle mechanism behind the platen which provides great impression power, and the same idea was later used in the mechanism of the Golding Art Jobber, also considered a superior press for impression strength.


Thank you, Bob, I sent my address! Let me know if you don’t see it, I’ve tried messaging on Briar Press a few times and I’m never sure if it goes through.

It is surprising how little information exists about Peerless Presses. I did the other day realize that a book I own has an excerpt about John M. Jones producing typewriters (and how the factory burned down destroying the typewriters) before he moved to Palmyra for his platen press business.

I still haven’t quite worked out what toggle action means in relation to the Peerless press. I have noticed that they feel different than a C&P but I don’t really know what the difference means.

My press is definitely skipping some rotations of the ink disk, and it seems somewhat related to wear causing play in the parts but I’m not sure if anything can be done. I do get some very funky inking, though double-inking sometimes helps. I need to get one of my kids to treadle for me so that I can get a better look at things!


I did some research and the 1918 book Platen Printing Presses has some info on the Peerless Press class of impression, so I think this is what mean by toggle action?

image: peerlessimpression.jpg


It seems something is funny about messaging thru BP. I did not receive a message. But I also learned today that sending mail from Costa Rica just got very intrusive. They require full name, Identification number, complete address, telephone number, and email address of both sender and recipient on the label. I don’t think so. Look for Ad Lib Press on Google - it should take you to my website, where you should find my email address. Email me and I will send you the text of the booklet as a Word file, with photos but not the old relief plate illustrations of the presses, or I can try to put those in too. Mail service, like most things, is out of control!


I emailed, thank you, Bob!

Yes, the “pusher” behind the platen is two links like a knee or elbow joint which is folded and straightened by the “cam”action in that curved slot. As the toggle joint is straightened the force increases exponentially until at the end it is enormous. The Peerless was popular because of the crisp and consistent pressure it could apply to the large type form.

There must be a mechanism that rotates the ink disc - the “brake” with, supposedly, a leather or rubber pad on it, is only supposed to hold the disc still while the rollers are picking up ink. I’m sure when all the intended pieces are there it works well, as John M. Jones was a good engineer. It looks like that plunger thingy is on a pivoting arm - how does that move as the press cycles? Some mechanism rotates the plate some (probably) adjustable amount each cycle and some mechanism holds it still while the rollers are on it. If you are still stumped take a few snaps of the mechanism during the cycle of the press and send them and I will see if I can puzzle it out. It’s a challenge, and because the press was very popular it must have worked well.

Hi Bob,

The toggle action is very cool, I took a closer look at my press today to see it in action. That said, the slotted mechanism for the toggle action has a lot of side-to-side play on my press so that worries me. My press has a lot of wear I guess.

When I have more free time I will see if I can video the skipping action with the ink disk.


I have now scanned the 16pp-plus-cover booklet I published about John M Jones and his platen job presses- it is a 2mb PDF, if anyone is interested contact me and I will email one to you.