What kind of new motor should I look for?

We have a C&P craftsman 10x15. We operate our press on a working farm, and all of the farm guys keep telling us that we need to start looking for a new motor, as this one is the oldest they had ever seen. It’s a 1/3 horsepower, and there are several good electrical shops around here where I can get some help, but I was wondering if you guys could give me any advice about what to look for.

It’s running okay right now, but we can’t seem to keep the speed consistent. In fact, when we were printing on Saturday, we oiled the press up so well that even on the lowest speed, it was going way too fast for us to print. So the guys took off the stop bolt on the arm of the motor, and now the whole press operates in reverse! Surely that can’t be good…right?

Basically, we want a motor that we can speed up and slow down reliably. If someone could just give me some advice about what to look for in a new motor, that would be really helpful!

Here’s a link to some photos:
Thanks in advance for the help!

image: motor6.jpg


Log in to reply   16 replies so far

bethyq, I would take the motor to electric motor guy.He/She
can replace brushes,turn the comuntator,clean,lube or replace bushings depending on what it needs.Thats a good start,the press should free wheel once the motor is dissconected there could be other issues with your machine.best james

You have a Kimble variable speed motor, and that is the gold standard of press motors (until the introduction of variable frequency drives). Your motor should have an operating quadrant on a stand or a foot control for you to set the speed with. Yes, your motor can go backward as fast as it can forwards. When operating a Kimble, you generally have to start out somewhat faster until the press “warms up” at which point you slow it down a tad (literally). The other problem is that your press may have had a feeder and the motor may be sized against that load, which may make it want to run faster if there is no feeder.

If you don’t want the motor, crate it up and send it to me! Tell those other folks on the farm that newer does not mean better—I mean the motor has lasted this long. This is a brush equipped motor, do check your brushes for excessive wear (I believe a company in Milwaukee still stocks replacements) and keep the motor properly lubricated. It will probably outlast you.

I have a Kimble motor very similar to yours, it was in bad shape when I got it. It took a little looking around, but I found a shop that works on electric motors.
They cleaned it up, new brushes, surface the rotors, etc…
Cost me $28.00.
They guy running the shop was tickled to see that motor when I walked in the door. Hadn’t seen one since the 1960’s, and talked about how durable they are.

Long story short, there are still motor shops around, even shops that work on alternators and generators for vehicles should be able to fix you up.

I have a similar question about the motor that came with my press. I have a C & P Old Style 10 x 15. This motor has probably been unused for about 25 years and is in need of a good cleaning. I am new to platen presses and restoring this one. Will this motor run slowly enough for a beginner?

image: IMG_4871.JPG



I also have an old Kimble. My Impressions per minute were running at about 15. I oiled my motor and it sped up a few impressions.

mikefrommontana…you mentioned an operating quadrant on a stand or a foot control, I don’t have these with Mine. Mine just runs with an on off switch.
could you go into some more detail on how to slow it down? is there something on the motor I’m not seeing?

Mine is labeled as a variable speed also.


image: download.jpg


From the specs on the plate, hooked to 110v, it will only be 800 RPM, which is relatively slow for a motor. Press speed will be determined by size of pulley on the motor, the smaller it is the slower the press will go. But it would also matter whether the press was driven from the flywheel, or whether there was a pulley on the other end of the driveshaft. The larger flywheel would give a slower speed.

Thanks parallel,

That was very helpful. I could possibly attach a smaller pulley to the motor, that makes sense.

The motor plate gives speeds based on 120 volt or 230 volt input. It is a fixed speed motor, so changing the pulleys is the most economical means of changing speed.

These are called “brush shifting motors”. They haven’t been made for many years and should not be tossed out even if they aren’t working. The brushes are mounted in a movable fixture called the “brush rigging”. Rotating the brush rigging clock-wise or counter clock-wise alters the electrical neutral plane and thus varies the speed of the motor. They will run in the opposite direction similarly when the brushes are shifted past the zero neutral position. The lower RPM on the nameplate is the minimum speed at which the motor will develop usable horsepower. The higher RPM is the maximum safe speed.

An overhaul of one of these working motors would consist of re-surfacing the commutator, replacing the brushes and replacing the sleeve bearings if necessary. Not a big deal and then it will be good for another 75 years.

Now for my opinion: I think that the erratic speed you are experiencing is due to worn brushes or a worn commutator (the copper ring with the segments) or both. You probably notice arcing between the brushes and commutator that is more severe than it used to be also. Now is a good time to stop and and have it overhauled. And running your press backwards is not good. It puts extra strain on the cam and follower and if I recall corectly, the platen either raises or lowers too quickly.


my press runs backwards also. I think I get an idea of what you’re saying about the brush. Could you go into more detail of how to get in there and turn the brush so I caould get it to spin in the proper direction.

Thank you!!

It is also very important to run a lightweight electric motor oil in these motors. A standard 30 weight automotive motor oil will heat up and expand causing the motor to act similarly or stop altogether.


Eddie: After looking at the picture of your motor, the first thing you should do is unbolt it, turn it end for end and put the pulley on the other side. This is the normal configuration for any motor and it will solve your direction of rotation problem at the same time. You’ll have to drill new mounting holes as the feet aren’t exactly in the center of the motor and you might have to purchase a new pulley if the shaft diameters aren’t the same - often times they’re not. Your motor was built with this “tail shaft” for a special application where a small auxiliary piece of equipment such as a lube oil pump or coolant pump etc. needed to be run simultaneously.

Now as for the speed changing feature; these motors originally had a lever or handle for rotating the brush rigging. Obviously, yours is missing as are a lot of them. If you look closely you’ll see where and how it was meant to attach. Some of them were simply a round rod threaded on one end. Disconnect the power and reach in with both hands and try to rotate the rigging clock-wise and counter clock-wise keeping an eye on where it was before you started so you can put it back to that approx. location. Once you’ve gotten it to move, take a piece of wood similar to a large stick of reglet and use it as a pry bar between the motor frame and the brush rigging to do the same thing - being careful not to pry against the carbon brushes themselves. Now turn on the juice and with the motor running use the stick to rotate the brushes and the speed will change accordingly. And by rotate I mean move them a little to the left and then a little to the right not round and round. You might want to get comfortable doing this with the V belt disconnected. Once you’ve gotten this under your belt you can decide if a certain constant speed suits you or if you want to do it up right and fabricate the linkage and foot pedal to have a truly variable speed press.
Good Luck,

Wow, Briarpress is great. I will get on that as soon as possible.

Thanks for your time musikwerke!


I did what you said and it all worked out easily. I set it at a slower speed of about 10 impressions per minute. and it’s running in the correct direction. switching sides with the pulley was no problem. I went from being bummed about having an old motor that I assumed was crapy, to loving it.

Thanks for your experience!



Could someone help me out concerning the correct rotation of a 12x18 c&p new style. I have just taken it out of storage and attached a motor to the flywheel. It originally had a leather belt attached to the drive pulley on the other side of the machine.
It seems to be running fine but wanted to make sure since I saw it mentioned that it could wear some parts if it is run backwards?? but which way is backwards. I had thought that it wouldn’t matter. by the way the machine will be used for die cutting.


According to Ralph Polk in his book “Elementary Platen Presswork” the flywheel on the Chandler & Price Gordon turns over and toward the rear, i.e., away from the feeder.