International Kelsey Press Owners Association

The last few years has seen a large resurgence in folks interested in letterpress prinitng in general, and Kelsey letterpresses in specific. A lot of folks are buying the old machines and putting them back into service. They are introducing a whole new generation to the world of Letterpress as a fine avocation, art form, and trade. I think this is GREAT.

Because of this influx of newbies, many of us more experienced printers are getting to share what we’ve learned and pass it on…. instead of losing our lifetimes’ worth of knowledge when we get too old to continue.

Anyway…. several of my compadre’s and I have begun to discuss the idea of an “International Kelsey Owners Association” of some sort that would serve as a “single point source” for all things Kelsey: History, Technique, Supplies, and a Registry of active Kelsey Printers.

Much of this info is out there, and certainly a lot of it is contained here in Briar Press….. so most of the organization would be the registry, and then a website with links, archives, and so forth…. and an exchange program for broadsides and other things we print. The idea is not to compete with or reorganize the world. Rather it would serve more to augment what’s already out there in a more specialized form.

IF there seems to be enough interest, we might put it together. SO…. are there any Kelsey Printers out there who might be interested?

Winking Cat Press

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I would definitely be interested and I know a few others who probably would be as well! contact me if you would like - n dot wolfersberger at gmail.

Count me in too. Kelseys seem to be the press most people are starting with in letterpress. I have a kelsey that I am learning with and just brought home a C&P 8x12 that I am going to clean up and give some tlc to before I start working with it for a future project.

It would definatly be nice to have a centeral point for all the kelsey info out there. I waste alot of time trying to remeber where I read what when I need a reference for something.

If there is anyone looking for a Kelsey 5x8 I have a extra on listed on ebay currently. I got it before I brought the C&P home and am now running out of room. Look under listings for emagine05 (my ebay member handle).

I also just found a local company that makes and recovers rollers that I am going to visit and try out. The Roller Source in North Eaton, Ohio 440-748-4033. Sorry no website. email was [email protected].

I’d also have an interest in such a group. I still use a Kelsey Union Press for quite a bit of my printing.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

Instead of starting a whole new thing how about trying to get Briar Press to include a new “category” so you could keep it here. I think one of the problems on the internet is that there become so many little kingdoms that many people who would / could contribute just get disconnected.

I have several Kelseys and I would love to find a way to see really good printing done on one or at least on tabletop presses. I had been thinking for a while about trying to get the APA members to say what press they print on so I could look at a bundle and see where the printing originated.

I would be interested as a small press owner who started on and still uses a Kelsey…

Wow… isn’t life odd sometimes? This particular topic was posted back in March, and originally given up for dead due to lack of interest. Then out of nowhere, the possibility is resurected. I guess one just never knows when a good idea will sprout into something real.

Now, it looks like we’ve got enough interest to get something going. I’ve never organized anything on-line before, but I know enough to set up a basic structure. This week, I’ll set up an e-mail address and a rudimentary web-site….. IF you all agree with the idea. Then we can all populate it with the info / links / photos / stories that we want to put onto it. I’ll post the address as soon as it’s up. Then if somebody wants to volunteer to be the Web-Master / moderator / worker-bee….. they are welcome (“encouraged” might be a better word) to take the job.

OR we could do like L. Graffitti suggested and get Briar Press to set something up for us within this site. Either way works for me. My goal is to promote Kelseys and encourage letterpress beginners….. it doesn’t matter which way we go with it.


I started in 1972 on a 5x8 Kelsey!
I would love to get involved and see where this group goes with the Kelsey Owners Concept.
Keep me in the loop…

i currently have and use a kelsey 5x8 victor press and a 7x11
kelsey star 7x11 treadle press that i bought used in 2002. both
sat in 4 feet of hurricane katrina flood waters for 5 or 6 weeks.
both were totally disassembled, cleaned repainted and reassembled and run like new. you can’t keep old technology
down. i bought the 5x8 victor in 1972, and if i remember correctly it cost me $106.00, the used star cost me $150.00.
it bugs me when i read where you cannot get really good results with kelseys. maybe the users need to learn how to use them. rather than snub them.

A 5x8 tabletop Kelsey is actually my “big press” of the shop. Ran it for ten years now. Poster work, embossing, die-cutting (within obvious limitations), gilding — it has seen it all. Perhaps not as robust or powerful as grander presses out there, a bit finnicky to work with (requiring 3x times more make-ready and careful packing) but still, quite capable and versetile. A perfect press to learn on. Makes a great ring-ding-ding sound too!

Please keep me in the loop as well. I started on, and still use, my 5” x 8”.

I’d be interested as well. Beyond the C&P 8” x 12” I’ve had for several years and the 8” x 10” Golding Jobber No. 7 my wife and I just brought home, we have 2 Kelseys. A 5x8 and an 1880s 7 1/4” x 13 1/4” Old-Style Excelsior No. 4 1/2.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN