Restoring paintwork on a cast iron bookbinding press

I have recently acquired a small victorian bookbinding press. When viewing it online prior to sale I thought that the paintwork had all been chipped off but now that I have it it seems most of it is in fact still there.

The design seems typical of this type of press, consisting of black paint with gold detail. I was wondering if anyone had any idea how to restore the paintwork, or at least help to bring it out a bit more. Can some of the surface rust be safely scraped away?

Any help would be appreciated…. Thanks a lot!

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Surface rust is easier taken off with a solution of table salt and white vinegar (makes a very dilute hydrochloric acid) and a fine steel wool pad. Use rubber/latex gloves to protect your skin. Rinse with plain water and dry thoroughly.

If you’re going to repaint prime the bare areas to prevent more rust from forming. Otherwise a coating of paste wax will preserve the original finish and bare areas.

If you just want to brighten it up a bit, and bring out the colors without hurting the surviving paint, coat it with a mixture of one part boiled linseed oil and three parts turpentine. It will leave a low-luster sheen, bring out the color, and protect the unpainted parts. I have used it on old iron, old tools, old license plates, and antique bicycles with dead, oxidized paint. It works well on metal or wood. The oil paint (enamel) that was used years ago was full of linseed oil anyway, so no harm is done to anything. It basically restores and replenishes what was there originally.