Need help identifying this old style press

Hi everyone,
I was wondering if anyone can help me identify this old stle jobber. So far I have been unable to find any names or serial numbers. Only thing I could find so far was the number “5” stamped on the large shaft under the wooden table and on the the shaft on the right side of press. A few things I can note may help. The Chase is 11x7 inside, flywheel is old style with counterweight, treddle is fairly ornate, side castings have oval opening, has counter rotating ink disks, no throw out or brake, wooden table and riser is split off but I have it, holds three rollers which I do not have. Any help identifying this piece would be greatly appreciated as well as where I might find a name or S/N and perhaps an idea of value. Thanks all in advance.

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Sure looks like a C&P. The treadle, side arms, and rocker lock are almost identical to my 8x12 OS C&P.

It looks like a Gordon to me.

I have only seen one picture of an old style C&P but it had a throw out and had no counter weight lobe on the flywheel. The artist rendering of the Gordon old style I saw probably looked the most similar but the castings that support the moving bed looked a little more ornate than mine and the treddle looked a little different also - granted it was an artist rendering not a photo.

Can you tell me where I might find some type of identifying markings or S/N on the press for either of these types?
Thanks, Tom

The C&P OS did not have the lobe in the flywheel but Arie is right. Many of the parts match the C&P OS. We recently acquired a Reliable made in the late 1800s. It has the same open look this press does but has a throw off. I found a drawing in a 1901 type catalog. It’s possible this is an earlier model that did not have the throw off.

S/N is usually on the press bed in upper left corner and sometimes stamped on the shaft under the platen. If your feed board is off, it is easier to see.

I can’t post a picture of my Gordon because it is too big. Let me know if you want me to email you a copy.

It appears to me to be an Old Style Gordon.

foothillpress - thank you, I will look for the S/N on the bed, I assume I need to remove the chase and it will be behind that or is it on the back side of the bed?

Also here is a pix of the shaft under the broken feed board - note the 5 stamped in the shaft. That’s the only thing I saw on this shaft in this area.

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The press is a generic old style Gordon. I’ve got a couple just like it in my collection. No identification on ‘em whatsoever. Probably sold by different dealers under different names. Possibly made by John Jones & Co. Palmyra, NY or Johnson Peerless Works, in Palmyra or maybe even Thorp-Gordon Press Co., Cleveland.

It looks pretty darned close to the oldstyle Franklin Gordon in the Briar Press Museum listings. The frame structure is identical and it does even have the coiuterweight on the flywheel.

Well dang! Got so caught up in the similarities that I missed the (obvious in hindsight) differences. Not a C&P, but that treadle sure looks the same as mine; exactly the same..

winking cat press - If it is indeed a Gordon old style there should be a S/N on the bed right? When I visit the press this weekend I will look for a S/N there.

wildmh2000 - Yea, please feel free to email me a copy of the pix it would be appreciated.

John Horn - Thanks for your info, I also was wondering if it could have been one of the knock off’s, especially since I could not find any prominently placed logo’s or names.

jhenry - You are correct it is pretty close to the gordon pix on briarpress however I think that pix is an artist’s render and not an actual picture. Also there are some suttle differences like the treadle and the castings that support the moving bed up near the bed looked a little more ornate than mine do.

arie - Yea I agree that the treadle looks exactly like a C&P. One thought I had was that perhaps the treadle on my press was not the original but one from a C&P.

Thanks everyone for helping me identify the press - the search continues!

It also looks very much like my S&L Oldstyle Gordon which is an 8 x 12. But it is identified on the back plate that spans the roller springs (what is the name of that plate?). I don’t know if they made a 7 x 11 though.


Hi Connie - Unfortunately there is nothing on that plate of my press. However I just read elsewhere that some of the early Gordon’s did not have their name on them but there could be a S/N on the shaft for the roller arms. I will check both the bed and this roller arm shaft when I get to my Mom’s basement again this weekend.

Ok, might not be totally relevant but S&L did make a 7 x 11. :o)

Hi everyone,
Well I was at the press on Saturday. Could not find anything on the bed as far as a S/N. There was a “5” stamped on the roller arm shaft. This “5” is also stamped on the main shaft under the feed board and is on both the left and right round connecting rods but that is the only identification I can find so far. Shurely this is not a S/N, is it?

I’m going with generic gordon press. May not have a sn#. Looks almost just like my Old Reliable.

Hi everyone, I saw this discussion about a possible Old Style Gordon. I am hoping to get accurate measurements of an original chase so that I can have one made for our press at the University of North Texas. (Or purchase a used chase.) Any chance you could help me?
Here’s our press, before we started repairing it:
(It looks better already!)


For a used chase, if you can positively identify the press, Dave Churchman would be a good bet. If you can’t identify the press accurately, measure carefully between the stops on the sides (usually the bed roller rails, and the vertical distance between the bottom supports and the clamp that holds the chase in. Note also what the shape of the bottom supports is — usually a wide negative wedge to accommodate the opposite shape on the chase. Send that info to Dave and I bet he can come up with something.


Thank you so much, Bob!

Indeed, Dave Churchman has helped us tracked down many parts for the 1872 Geo. P. Gordan Old Style Press ( ). He has been so helpful and generous with information.

The machinists at my university would like to try to make a chase for us, and they have easy access to the press so that we can make sure it fits. I have the outer dimensions of the chase (10 x 15) and only need to verify the exact dimensions of the interior opening before they get started.

If the distance between tracks is 15”, you wouldn’t make the whole chase exactly 15” wide. Chases like this generally are a bit narrower, but have slight bumps near upper and lower corner that fit snugly against the tracks. That way the chase will always be in the same lateral position, no shifting possible when you take out and replace it. But if the center of the chase is exactly 15”, the expansion of the quoins may widen the chase beyond 15” so that it won’t fit.

Make sure of 10x15 inches — those are the usual INSIDE dimensions of a chase — if they are in fact the outside dimensions then it is more like an 8x13 press, since it is usually the inside dimensions of the chase that determine the press size. The width of the chase sides is more critical than the inside dimensions (for stiffness in lockup), and should probably be about 1 inch — and the thickness should be near 5/8 inch but no more than 3/4. I’d suggest using steel bar stock of those dimensions, and maybe use mitered and bevel-ground corners so you can grind the welds off the back side of the chase so it can lie flat against the bed. Since you’re making a chase to use, it doesn’t need to, and can not, reproduce exactly an original chase, so I wouldn’t worry about that. Your welder can also build up bumps on the upper end of the sides as spacers, as suggested by parallel-imp, and they can then be ground off to fit easily but snugly between the rails.


Thank you so much for all the helpful information, Parallel_imp and Bob/AdLibPress!

I understand that 10 x 15 inches is unusual for the outside dimensions of a chase. It’s a Geo. P. Gordan press from 1872 (or 1873), and based on what I hear, there aren’t too many of them around! (see )

8 x 13 sounds like a safe bet for the inside dimensions.

If anyone has a photo that they can post of the bumps on the upper end of the sides, that would be so helpful. I think that I understand (have seen them on other chases), but want to be sure.

I would put them opposite the top cross bar of the chase frame, so that when the chase is inserted they nearly touch the insides of the rails — maybe 1/32” clearance all together or less — just loose enough so the chase will slide in and out easily. They just enable you to maintain register when you remove and replace the chase during a run. It doesn’t look like the press has a throw-off, so you’ll want to remove the chase during inking and re-inking to prevent over-inking the type. The bumps don’t need to be very big — maybe between 1/32 and 1/16 inch each, so allow that space when you make the chase.


Thank you, Bob/AdLib Press! That makes sense. I appreciate your advice.

And yes, I believe you are correct about the throw-off switch on our press.

The bumps as they are being describer were likely meant for fine tuning the fit to the press. Pretty much as described, the logic being less material to cut away to get everything true and in line with the inner chase wall where your type would sit .Making the chase sit relative to the platen base line.
The similarity between machine parts will also be in the case of flywheels a thing of convenience, flywheels are not rated by size but weight , a three foot dia flywheel 1” wide at the rim and a 12” flywheel maybe 4” wide will have the same power storage . That understood , you have no need to build them yourself but buy them off the shelf , you cant really licence a flywheel and there are many differing makes of press with exactly the same flywheels .
The foundries often altered casting mould carvings to incorporate a different name but the wheel itself was often an off the shelf job .