How do you use an ink fountain?

My OS C&P 12x18 has an ink fountain that runs across the full width of the ink disk that I have never used and would like to try. Can someone describe the proper way to use an ink fountain? Perhaps I have overlooked it but cannot find it in any of my books.


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If you are facing the fountain there should be a hinged door that runs across the top and a roller in the front. Lift the door, place ink behind the roller, and close the door. There is a gear/ratchet on the left side of the press that is connected to the press via a rod. As the press cycles this rod moves up and down and advances the ink fountain. The topmost form roller should lightly contact the metal fountain roller and distribute the new ink over the disk.

That’s the best explanation I’ve got. I know many people (myself included) are missing the rod that connects the fountain to the press. You should be able to fashion one from any metal rod.

Good luck!


Before you put ink in the fountain, make sure all the keys turn easily, clean the threads as needed, lubricate. (There should be a wire threaded through the keys to keep them from shifting.) Back them all out, then bring them in evenly. It is important at the final tightening to start in the middle and work outard. If you start at the ends and end on a hump in the middle, you can “spring” the blade. You can use feeler gauges to see how you are doing as you go along.
The fountain assembly slides in the mounting brackets; adjust the fountain roller against the top form roller, on impression, for an even stripe. This should be done after you get the desired amount of impression, because the travel of the rollers on a C&P is affected by impression. Anyway, that’s the way I remember it.
Also. maybe you can adjust how many teeth are advanced by moving the position of the bracket that the rod connects to. If not, then the keys are the only control. Normally, a longer stroke of a thinner film is preferable to a short stroke of a thick film.
A distributor roller or rider will help a lot when using a long fountain and heavy coverage.