LOOK what my wife discovered at a junk shop!!!

You know, it never ceases to amaze me what treasures are still out there in the world. Just a few hours ago, my wife discovered this beauty tucked away under the stairs at a junk shop not more than half a mile from our house! After about 28 seconds of negotiating over price, we bought it for the whopping sum of $50.

It’s a Sigwalt Ideal Number 5. It’s a little dirty from sitting unloved for 25+ years, but other than that it’s in excellent condition. One interesting thing about it was the type that was still in the chase: It is a single line in 14pt type that reads “Oriental Flesh”. ( I’m not sure if I even want to know what the rest of the story might be.)

Soooo…. there you have it. You just never know what you might find out there. This particular press has found a new lease on life in our shop. Updates on it’s cleaning / restoration will be posted as the work progresses.

PS: there is one small part missing from it: the dog that drives the ink disk. It’s something that I can easily make myself, but if anyone has a spare in their junk box that they’d like to part with, please let me know.

image: Sigwalt 5 AAA.JPG

Sigwalt 5 AAA.JPG

image: sigwalt 5 BBB.JPG

sigwalt 5 BBB.JPG

Log in to reply   10 replies so far

Wow! Congratulations on a great find.
I’m jealous!!

Excellent find, congratulations.

Hey, you found my old press. But that’s okay, you can have it. We got out of the Oriental flesh business and have gone legit.

But seriously, maybe the press was last used to print labels for paint or ink of some kind, and the “Oriental Flesh” refers to a skin tone.

Congratulations on your terrific find,


Thanks for the congratulations!

I wonder if the type might be a make-up label. The “skin tone theory” does make sense. However, I kind of prefer the more colorful possibilities. It adds a bit of spice to the press.

Oh my God! Congratulations.

I always fantasise about just stumbling upon some unrecognised gem of a letterpress in a shed or second-hand shop somewhere, and getting it for a steal. Ah, but it’s never me that it happens to…

Congratulations on the find!


Normally Sunday is reserved as a day of rest or relaxation , but sometimes it is better to go after “restoration of one’s spirit” instead. Few things are as restorative to my spirit as bringing an old press back to life!

So instead of goofing-off like I normally do on Sundays, I spent the entire day disassembling, powerwashing, and prime-painting my Sigwalt No 5. It was a nasty job, but now that it’s done I feel GREAT. As you can see in the pics, the press scrubbed-up nicely.

Mechanically, I didn’t find anything major that requires repair. All of the bearings are nice and tight, none of the shafts are gouged, and only one small bolt broke while being disassembled. I’ll drill it out and re-tap it later.

I DID learn an important lesson today: Remove or tie down the handle before cleaning under the platen. If you don’t, it’ll fly up and clonk you in the eye unexpectedly. It looks fairly certain that I’ll have a black-eye in the morning!

image: Sigwalt 5 CCC.JPG

Sigwalt 5 CCC.JPG

Ouch! Still, I’d take a black eye for a find like that!

Me too! I have scoured shops all over the country and I have yet to find anything!

I most certainly consider myself fortunate for having found this press… and for having an eagle-eye wife!

I must say that this is the first real find I’ve run across in many years. Now all I need is to find that old Hamilton Cabinet full of type!