Testing your press knowledge….

Should this Showcard Machine Company press have a set of inking rollers?

There is an impression cylinder (on the left). The handle is used to release the pressure when it drawn back across the print to its resting position.

The disk rotates like an inking plate but there are no additional rollers.

Everything else is there for setting type - including 10 trays of metal and wood type.

Any thoughts, advice? Thanks!

image: showcard.jpg


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Yes. I recently sold one of these with the roller carriage. Mine had a manual carriage with three rollers. When you brought the carriage all the way back (to the right in this photo) there was a lever that would turn the ink table.

Thanks for the info! I am considering buying this, but since it is not complete, I’m guessing around $300-400 is an ok offer? Do you have a picture of this press with the roller carriage that you could share?

I sold mine for an amount in that range. I located a photo but ran into an unspecified error in loading it. It may be too large. I’ll try again later.

Good luck finding the rollers and hardware that they sit on! Info on Showcards is few and far between! I did a crazy amount of looking for info when I bought mine. If you do find rollers hand on to them! Also let us know how it prints. I would have loved rollers and a disk for mine! Hand inking an 18 x 24 inch plate takes a long time wheen you are trying to complete a run of 150 2 color posters.


Yes, these presses seem rare and the rollers even rarer! I guess I will dream of fabricating my own inking rollers some day. I’m used to printing lithographs/etchings/woodcuts by hand so its no big deal for me to ink by hand.

How have you liked this press in comparison to other letterpress presses? I’m guessing that the reason there aren’t as many used in the letterpress community is because they don’t usually have an inking mechanism, and they aren’t speedy like the Vandercook or Chandler and Price? Otherwise they are good?

Love to hear about anyone’s experience with these presses!

They are good for short runs. Doing a 30 to 50 quantity of a 18” x 24” linocut in a 2 color was fine. Doing a run of 100 3 color posters on a wood veneer paper for the AdClub of KC was a huge pain in the keester. Plus I had issues with not having a drying rack. Hand inking is fine and all but I would give just anout anything to have the room and $ to purchase a Vandy or Challenge flatbed press.

You can see some pics of my press here.


To Its Fancy;
Just a quick question. Does the sheet lay flat held by what appears to be grippers at the end of the bed? Then you pull the roller part across? I keep thinking of the sheet wrapping around the cylinder like a flat bed cylinder press, but it doesn’t seem the roller would be big enough for that.

Yes, I think that’s correct. The sheet lies flat on the type and the roller passes over the combination to make impression. Many of these presses have a toothed edge on the bed where a series of bars were set into the press. The type (fairly large wooden type usually) had slots cut into the back to help align the type. This kind of press was intended to make store signs in small quantities. Of course you can lock up type with quoins and furniture like other presses.

The grippers on mine were fixed on the end and limited your type placement. You might consider rigging up a handpress-like tympan and frisket for more flexible arrangement. Here’s how one was added to a Poco: http://vandercookpress.info/vanderblog/2007/10/01/poco-0-with-tympan-and...

Perhaps I am confused…
If you lay the paper onto the type then run the roller over the paper, how do you register your other colors? This seems odd to me.

I just bought one of these with the roller assembly and rollers from a dept. store that is closing down. I bring home the bed tomorrow. they must not have used it much because it appears to be in great shape. I just have to get it down a narrow set of stairs. I will probably be asking for advice once it is up and running.