C&P Press

I am new to letterpress and am looking to purchase a one. I have found this one nearby. Can anyone tell me more about it or if it looks to be complete? I havn’t been able to find a similar one to compare it with. The motor and belt setup on this one seemed a little unusual. Can anyone help?

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This is a C&P “New Series” (made after 1912). Any attempt at analysis would benefit from some photos of the front of the press - several things are not visible from these angles. The motor and belt are typical, but I notice the drive shaft has a crank, which means you could fit a treadle to it (available through Hern Iron Works). How many chases are included? Condition of the rollers & trucks?

Looks like a nice little press.

Yes. Probably a 10x15 (measure the inside of the chase. A real workhorse of a press. I use an 8x12 with a treadle and love it. A serial number should be located in the upper left corner of the bed as you face the press from the front. Then you can look up the date of manufacture here: http://www.greendolphinpress.com/letterpress-faq.html

Chases, rollers and trucks can be purchased relatively easily though not necessarily cheaply. I paid more for the new rollers than my press.

Thank you for your answers. Please forgive my lack of knowledge, but what exactly is a treadle? Is it to power the press by foot? And I pulled the trigger and just bought it. Hopefully $250 was a good deal. The people that I bought it from told me that is complete and original. Now I just wait! : ) Does anyone know of a good source for spare parts? I am assuming that it is going to at least need rollers as it has been in storage for 12 years. Are there things that I need to look for before we use it?

Hi Marsay,

I think you got a nice deal on your press! I would recommend taking a class on how to use your C&P along with safety lessons. These presses are dangerous to use if you haven’t used one before.


Good deal! Yes - a treadle is a lever which powers the press by foot. Tarheel Roller or NA Graphics (Google them) are the easiest sources of good rollers. It would be handy if you can send in the cores (roller shafts) and trucks (roller “wheels” - to measure for sizing the rollers accurately). I agree a class on running this press is a good idea - and you will now need more stuff like type, furniture (not what you may think), and spacing materials. You may want to make a pilgrimage to either Dave Churchman (Indiana?) or John Barrett’s operation (Massachusetts) for printing supplies.

So is it an 8x12 or a 10x15?

Well it sounds like I got a decent deal from your responses : ) I really appreciate your input. Thank you. I am enrolling in a class at our local community college. I can imagine that more than one person over the years has lost a finger or two in these presses, so I agree that safety lessons and proper training are probably necessary. Are there common areas of wear to check for on these presses that may need attention besides the rollers? Also, does anyone know of good resources in California for type, etc. I’d love to make the trip to Indiana, but that’s a bit of a drive from here ; )

For type, you could try M&H Foundry. They are located in San Francisco. Here’s a link for their catalog and price list.


Whereabouts in California are you? If in the Bay Area, you’re invited to come to a meeting of the San Jose Printers’ Guild from 10 to noon on the second Saturday of the month (that’s tomorrow, or maybe today by the time you read this!) at History Park (Senter Rd. & Phelan), in San Jose. If you’re in southern California, the Leather Apron society at the International Printing Museum in Carson also meets monthly, I think on the first Saturday.

Dave R., San Jose Printers’ Guild

I am in Irvine (Orange County). Carson is not too far away. I’ll have to look into some classes there. Are there people that do photopolymer plates near me? I can’t seem to find any in my searches - most seem to be back east. Also, what are the advantages in using a treadle vs. the electric motor on the press? Are you able to adjust the speed on the motor or are they simply on or off? And also, how can I tell if the rollers are usable?

Score! You need to join the International Printing Museum in Carson. http://www.printmuseum.org/ They can teach you everything you want to know, and point you towards supplies and ancillary equipment.

Motors come in fixed speed and variable speed varieties. The latter are more expensive. Speed can be varied with a fixed speed motor using a series of pulleys of different diameters. Changing speed with either kind of motor means stopping feeding and changing the speed. With some you may need to stop the press.

A treadle means you’re working harder and doing more things at once, but changing speed is quick as thought. You can treadle faster or slower at will. I like the control it gives. If feeding is going well I can go faster. If it isn’t I can go slower; all without stopping or even throwing off the impression.

Lots of beginners find treadling difficult for some reason. It’s actually one of the harder skills to teach to students; they seem to want to press on the treadle as it is coming up instead of when it is going down. But usually after a hour or so of practice along with feeding the press they get the hang of it.

Rollers should be round, smooth and fairly soft. Though I’ve printed successfully (if not really well) with surprisingly rough rollers with lots of pits and/or splits. Best way to tell if they’re usable is to try and print with them.

I’m just starting up my shop after a very long break. The information on this site is a wonderful help. i have two C&P one 12X18 one 14.5 X22.5
a Oswego 31” paper Cutter that was use by the BC provincial Gov. to cut file folders. Straight down action not a slice. and a kenslo 50 6 1/2 ton foil & embossing press.
I’m just in the process of finishing there new building so I’ll include the photo’s then.
I removed the Printing arms because all I did mainly was die cutting ( I have a Richards rule bender die maker as well). It’s been so long I can’t remember How the drive arm attaches to the drive. I have the pins but they look like they are going to interfer they seem too long. If I could get a picture of that side of the press instead of the fly wheel side.
My C&P’s are “S” spoked. How could I date the Cutter?
Thanks for being there.