Whitlock two-revolution cylinder press: documentation?

Hello again friends,

The local history museum where I work is considering the restoration of our Whitlock two-revolution cylinder press (Pony Press, similar to a Babcock). From what I can tell, documentation on this press is as rare as hens’ teeth…but I’m hoping that one of you may have something hidden away in your files that you can share with us.

For further context, our museum is located in Ottawa, Canada. We know of one working Whitlock, located at the Mackenzie Print Museum near Niagara. While the volunteers there are prepared to assist us in the restoration, we would dearly love to do our homework first – before having them make the 7-hour drive to us. If approved and funded, we will have the assistance of a mechanical engineer and funds to replace rollers.

I have already checked the following sources for documentation: Online: archive.org, worldcat, bibliographic indexes of our national library, University of Ottawa’s periodical indexes. Print: trade journals and manuals located at the Canada Science and Tech museum. I have found several adverts and a few articles, but nothing specific to the operation of the Pony Press.

At this point, I’ll happily donate one of my eye-teeth to find any parts list or user manual.

Thanks for any leads you can provide!

Cranky Sue

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I can offer some guidance. Have been working in all spare time since early January to convert my 1900 Cottrell Country Reel single-revolution flatbed cylinder from a display press into a working press.

First, since you have a two-rev press, get yourself a copy of C.B. Cottrell’s, “Problems of Pressmanship.” I found a hard copy on eBay. It is hardcover, 115 pages and published in 1903. It addresses quality control processes on the Cottrell two-rev press of the early 1900s and has several illustrations. It also has invaluable oiling diagrams in the back pages.

Also, there are copies of the Babcock two-rev Optimus press manual floating on the Interweb. Again, aquire a copy.

The Babcock Standard / Regular / Reliance instruction book is available online. Get a pdf copy of it.

With all of these books, make yourself a photocopied version, comb bind it and leave the comb bound version in your print shop. It keeps the original from getting inky and greasy and oily.

Speaking of oil, get yourself a good one-quart oil can with a long spout you can bend in any direction. You’re going to need it for all the non-detergent motor oil you’ll be squirting into the press.

Scour the Internet every six months for Whitlock items. People often add new items. Contact me and I will have some files to share. (The system wouldn’t let me upload images today.) Whitlocks are a good press and I looked at getting one a decade ago.

Keep a list of known Whitlocks. This often leads to people who know more about your particular press.

My interest in flatbed cylinder presses started with my printing teacher, John Horn of Little Rock, Ark., and was further encouraged by the late Chuck Dunham and his son, Roy, of Deep River, Iowa, then Allan Burke of Linton, N.D.

Finally, advertise elsewhere that you’re looking for Whitlock information. Chuck Dunham and I met because there was a now-defunct publication called “The Printer.” The editor lifted an ad I had placed on this briarpress site. At the time, I was looking for a flatbed cylinder. The editor erroneously changed it to advertise that I had one for sale. I got calls from Canada, another state and Chuck Dunham. Chuck and I often had a good laugh that we met due to a misprint.

If I can be of any further help, write me in the messaging system for this site. I’ll be glad to share contact information.

O my! This is gold!! Thank you so much! I’m hunting down these manuals now!