Miehle V-50

I am in the process of buying/moving a V-50 to my house! It seems to be in good working order for die cuts, scoring, perfs and numbering, but the ink tray has not been used for printing in at least 4 years.
I have limited press knowledge and would like some advice/tips/lessons, please.

1. How does one move a press like this? I was thinking of asking a tow truck company with a flat bed? They seemed ok with the idea but cannot move it into my garage.

2. How much space should I allow for it - would 1/2 of a double garage suffice?

3. There is one known issue with the press - part of a latch has broken off. This latch raises the delivery table as the press prints. Where does one go for repairs like this?

4. I want to use a Boxcar base in the chase and polymer plates. I am presuming this would work fine. Yes?

5. Is there anyone out there who offers classes on this type of press?

Many thanks for any help!!
I live in the GTA [Greater Toronto Area] and know about Don Black. I think he does repairs - would he do an overhaul as well?


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Congrads on your new press. The Miehle Vertical is a wonderful letterpress, however, it requires a somewhat skilled operator. There were many verticals around in the ‘letterpress days’, operators from that era would likely have reached retirement age by now. Perhaps if you search the retired community in your area you could find someone to provide instruction.
Good way to move them is raise it off the floor, then put a pallet jack under it… and off you go. A flat bead tow truck could be a good option.
For parts, check eBay, there is curently someone parting out a V50.
Keep us informed about your progress.
Best wishes,

Don Black has been around longer than the meihle, if anyone can help you it would be him. Dick G.

Don Black has been around longer than the meihle, if anyone can help you it would be him. Dick G.

Hi, Marlaine—

Check the classified ads on this site for movers, or check your yellow pages for riggers or equipment movers. There is often a company that specializes in moving printing equipment in large cities. The classifieds here will also give you the contact info for Jack Beall Vertical Service Co., a good source for parts.

I don’t think you’ll have any trouble with a Boxcar/photopolymer set-up. And I’ve seen printers run a vertical out of their garage—I’ve considered it myself. It may be worth mentioning that the fountain blade on the V-50 drops down by pushing in those two sort-of dog-leg levers at the ends of the fountain; makes cleaning much easier.

Good luck, Brian

Jim - that’s a great idea! Look for a retired printer, I never thought of that! I look forward to being a skilled printer one day :)
I had been checking eBay, and noticed there were many parts on there for the V-50, so I figured I was pretty safe to find things in the future when I figure out what needs fixing [ha!].
I will try the tow truck option - I was looking at another post on moving a press and have a better idea on how to do that now.
Thanks for the help!

Dick - yes, that’s true, Don has been around a while :) I have only met his son and will be phoning him tomorrow to see if I can get some help from them. I can’t wait to go back to his warehouse and look at all his treasures again now that I know a bit more about all of this!
Thanks for your input!

Brian - Thanks for the resource tips. I will look into printing equip. movers.
I wonder now if the garage will be too cold in the winter.
Thanks for the tip on the fountain blade. The current owner has given me the instruction book for the press - it’s going to be of great help!
Thanks for your help!


Forget the tow truck. The verticle has 3 legs, get up in the air by using blocks and a lifting heal bar. Once in the air (raising it a 2x4 block at a time… on alternating legs) to a height of say 4 inches… slip a pallet under the press… this pallet must be made to the proper deminsions so it will clear the blocks…. then lower the press on the pallet and with the aid of a standard pallet jack you can move it anywhere. Make the pallet out or 3/4 inch plywood top and 3 pieces or 4x6’s cut to 6”s long, nail these 4x6 blocks where the feet of the press will rest. The time you move it, it will probably take you all day… but as time goes on and youv’e done it a few times you can get it in the air and on a pallet in 20 min. The vert is one of the greatest presses ever made, it will run all day long with ease….but you will have a learning curve. Take your time learning it and you will love it. Most people don’t have much nice to say about them, but trust me…the are great. Parts are everywhere. Jack Beal Co. in Ill. Has everything you would ever need…but the part you mentioned that is broken will be pricey from a dealer. If you can’t find a part contact me… Iv’e stripped many of them. Good luck, Carl. F O R G E T T H E T O W T R U C K …!!!

Carl - thanks for the information! Can I just put the press in a U-Haul truck then??
Thanks for the encouragement re the press. I do hope that it will suit my needs - what I’m really hoping is that it truly will print!! :)
I will write to Jack Beal Co. [Thanks, also to Brian for that] about that one part that is broken. I don’t know what it is called, nor do I have a picture, yet - I guess that’ll wait until the press gets here.
Thanks for the suggestions!

Marlaine, The meihle is very, very heavy, in my opinion you would be better off to have it rigged, and the garage would be my choice, you will need to heat it or your press will rust and the ink and rollers are much happier when they are warm. i mostly run platen presses, about 15 years ago i picked up a verticle, we never got along. I used it mostly for die cutting and perforating, after about 10 years and a lot of time i called it quits. Yor either love them or hate them, i’ve seen them print some beautiful things on these presses, i just didn’t have much fun with my verticle. Not to worry about the ink fountain, i only used mine once. the press has a great inking system, the biggest problem i had was the press yould leave a sheet on the feed table then print on the top sheet (very frustrating) wish you the best with it, but they are very heavy, i would seek a professional rigger to move it, Good Luck Dick G.

The press is heavy, about 3200 pounds. Once you get up on blocks a pallet jack will move it about but you will need a fork lift to get it in and out of a truck (or on and off a trailer). I would find someone with a goose neck trailer (flat bed) to haul it for you. A flat bed trailer is best as opposed to a box van. I would ask Don Black, I’m sure he knows of someone that would haul it for a reasonable price. Good luck, Carl.

A letterpress teacher said I really shouldn’t buy it - it’s going to be way more than I bargained for. I do have to have a good think about it before the week begins.
Thanks again, Dick and Carl. I never thought to ask Don that question, too!

It’s your decission, I don’t know what your end goal is. All I can say IS THAT THEY ARE great PRESSES, and VERY MUCH MISUNDERSTOOD. I have 4 v50x’s and run them everyday. I started with a v50 and sold it off to a guy who just had to have it….and he still does. As a boy in the mid 1950’s I remember going to a print shop where my dad worked as a paper cutter opperator, that is when I saw my first v50. I still remember to this day, the pressman was running a 1 gal. can paint labels, he was turning the sheet of paper lime green…a solid except where the black imprint was to later go. You would not believe the ink coverage. I remember him filling the fountain with ink to the point of almost overflowing and then mixing in what he called “nuetral oil” to loosen up the ink for the heavy coverage… I was impressed, I had to be 11 to 13 years old at the time. I remember a few years latter in another print shop watching a couple of old v36’s running Sees Candy 2 pound box labels, he was running them 1 up, blact ink on one press and gold ink on the 2nd press. He would run that job for months on end, year in and year out. In 1959 I met a friend of my dads, hie name was Arnie Cornellison, a linotype opperator during the war, when Germany took over Norway he was spared from the prison camps and was forced into forced labor… he had a skill… he could run a Lino for them. After the war he came to America, got a job with Heidelberg. He went from town to town and from print shop to print shop selling Windmills out of the “Heidelberg Mobile print shop Van”. This was a van set up with a Windmill inside. He would find a print shop and offer to run a job for them on the Windmill to demo the press. The print shop would furnish the type form and he would run job. He sold lots of Heidelbergs this way. BUT… the first thing he would do is to size up the shop he was about to make sales pitch to. If the shop was running C&P’s, Kellys, or Klugies he knew He could make a sale. If the shop had a Meihle Vert. it was almost impossible to sell the Windmill. You must remember in the 40’s and 50’s you were the top Print Shop in the area if you had a v50. Arnie also told me some time in the 50’s he was working for Meihle, when he wont to a print show in Chicage and set up a v50, they had the press sitting on 3 coil springs, one under each of the 3 feet. This press was a show special, It had its speed jacked up to 6000 iph to show how smooth and well balanced they were. In the 1970 I worked for a company that did check imprinting on them. Press sheets were aprox. 12x18, running 12 personalized checks with lino slug imprints, 12 arabic and 12 micr machines all in Micr ink with the e13b mag line at speeds of 5000 iph with green help. They had at least 30 of these machines in this plant, and ran 3 shifts. Nothing wrong with v50s…just misunderstood. Good luck. Carl

Carl, i’m a lot younger than you, in the mid 50’s i was only 7 years old, up the street from my house was a print shop that was street level in the front but in the rear was a dirt road that was higher than the front. There was a window with about 50 small panes of glass in it, we would stand there and watch the men running the shop (some of us longer then the others) From the dirt road you looked down into the shop, to this day i can still see the shop, to the right was 2 linotypes with a ludlow behind them further back was 3 or 4 large stones, in the center of the window was a 7x11 pearl, behind that was a mehile horizontal, then a small stone and a mehle vertical, to the left was a 12x18 kluge, then a huge hand fed press they would print a small newspaper on, 4 pages at a time, behind that was a couple of large c&p’s. I remember watching the foreman hand fed that pearl right in front of the window, mostly envelopes, i was amazed at how fast he printed those envelopes, the verticle was always running, printing mostly larger sheets. In 1964 when i was 16 my first job was cleaning the linotypes in this shop, by then they added on to the building and had an offset department. Every day before school at 4 o,clock clean the machines.Never thought about it before but Carl is right, they had the meihle but no windmill, most shops i remember had one or the other. What ever you decide to get, i wish you luck. Dick G.

I wanted to use the press for creating posters, wedding invites, business cards, stationery sets, greeting cards, coasters - all the ‘sweet’ stuff you see now done on a letterpress.

I thought this press would be ideal - it has a huge chase, so I could run multiple copies at one time - then cut them out [or use a die cutter??]. It’s all mechanical so it would do things quickly and painlessly [ha!]. It has other features which could come in handy - the perforation, die cutting, scoring. I figure it would be all I need to run a business.

I do hope I’m not wrong on that account.

I understand there will be learning and overhauling and learning and overhauling :) But I hope in the long run it will be exactly what is needed to start something successful and creative - doing something that I love [isn’t that the whole point? :)].

If that sounds way off - please, someone stop me!!

Carl and Dick - I can’t thank you enough for your comments. What makes them so dear are your memories of your childhood wonderment as you looked in the print shops and were amazed by what they could accomplish.
Although still somewhat younger than both of you, I feel like I am the wide-eyed youngster looking at this ‘new’ V-50 [new to me!] with the same kind of amazement. I am very new to this letterpress world but I am so enamoured by it that my enthusiasm outweighs the hard work that I know will be involved in making a business successful for me.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me about the press. I am excited about this new path that I’m on. Thanks for talking about your fond recollections of another time - I feel like I’m going to be taking a bit of the past into the future with this Miehle - I think that’s kind of nice.

I got my miehle while i still had my shop on the street, i put the press in my garage at home, bought a lot of large ludlow type and thought i would print posters when i got old and retired. if you ever fill the chase of a meihle with lead type it must weigh over 100 pounds (not something i want to lift now that i’m old). The good thing about the meihle is the feeder swings out of the way so you can walk into the middle of the press to put the chase in. Can’t remember but i think the slowest the verticle would run was 3500 impressions an hour, my kluge top speed is 3000, and the windmills i run at about 2500 an hour. for running more than 1 up you would not die cut them apart, you need a decent paper cutter. If you ever come to Massachusetts look me up, i’ll teach you to set type on the ludlow. Good Luck Dick G.

Thank you, Dick! Mass. is not that far :)
I can’t imagine putting in all lead type in that press either - that’s why I think the boxcar base would be a good idea.
I am accumulating a very small amount of wood type [it’s way too expensive on eBay] and might try that a bit as well.
At the course I just took at WNYBAC, they talked about putting ‘found’ objects to print on the press - all the time making sure the were the correct height for the press. We even used some MDF and created our own raised letters using a glue-type substance [can’t remember what it was called]. I was thinking of using my old rubber stamps that I collected for years. I have many that are actually just the rubber so if I found some wood that would raise it to the correct height, they could also work [I think!].
The V50 runs at 5000 an hour. Yikes. I don’t think I’ll be running 5000 of anything, but, you never know :)
One thing that eludes me, however…on the Vandercook presses we used at my course, we were able to put 2 or 3 colours onto the rollers and it turned into a rainbow of those three colours. With the ink well on the V50, I guess I can only choose one colour at a time? That will have to be another post when I get it working and such.
Yes, I guess I will have to get a good paper cutter at some point also. I already know that there will be a lot of money spent before any will be earned! Such is the gamble, I suppose, but I do look forward to it!
Thanks again, Dick - happy Sunday!

What you were doing on the Vandercook was split fountain work. If the oscillators are turned down (or off—which I can’t remember if you can do that) that will keep the ink from migrating too quickly. Many times there will be physical dividers between colors in the fountain to keep them apart there, but the oscillators (metal rollers on the roller frames) have much bigger impact.

The maximum spped of a V-50 is 5000 sheets per hour, the mininum is 3000. If you are doing “art” work, you can run with the feeder open and run 1 sheet at a time. I would advise finding somebody who has run one and get a good grounding on the press. Nothing wrong with this being your first press, you just have more to learn (relative to a hand fed platen) to run this safely.

Have fun and ASK QUESTIONS. That’s why folks are here.

Printing with rubber plates has been done for years, your rubber stamps should print just fine if they are different thicknesses then you will have to play around with them. I still have my stamp making shop. if i had a job to print that would smash my type i would make a rubber stamp and print from that. As long as your stamp and mounting material equals .918 your in business. If you are looking for wood type you should check out the Museum of Printing in North Andover, Massachusetts, i was there on father’s day and saw the store they have set up, they had a lot of nice looking wood type, also Letterpress Things in Chicopee, Massachusetts has wood type from time to time, both contact info is in the yellow pages on this site. One way i mounted my rubber stamps was to use regular furniture then tape a 6 point slug flat on top of the furniture then mount the rubber stamp on that, its fun because you can angle the stamps and with a little practice you can use them with regular type. Good Luck Dick G.

Thanks some more, Dick!
I guess I should make a trip out to Mass!
I can’t wait to actually start using my rubber stamps - they have acrylic blocks that hold clear repositionable stamps now - i’m going to use those for sure :)
Thanks again!

Mike - thanks for the help! I am looking for a pressman right now :)

Marlaine… I just had a working V-50 moved to my buddy’s garage yesterday, and a Ludlow machine, and a bunch of type. It’s my first press as well… only having ever used a proof press before. I have to convert this machine to use ink, since it’s set up for die cutting. It does have the ink fountain and roller rack, so I suppose I’ll just need to get the rollers recovered (hopefully) I’m super excited about learning. I suppose we’re much in the same boat… maybe we can help each other. hows it going so far? -Mike

Everyone else… I do need some advice. I noticed that the Ludlow runs on 250 volts, and the Miehle v50 runs on 3 phaze 220. At the moment I only have a regular 220 volt outlet. what would be the best way to convert to the power needs of both of these machines using the 220?

Don’t know about the Ludlow, 250 seems a strange voltage to me.

It’s a tad expensive but just about all you can do for the V50 is buy a phase converter.

I’m about to purchase one of these beautifully efficient machines—anyone know how much it can handle in the way of paper weight?


I’ve owned a V-50 for the last 25 years. It’s a workhorse in my commercial printing shop. I’ve run everything from extremely light tissue paper to very heavy board. Once you get accustomed to the feeder I’ve been amazed at what I’ve been able to feed.

For many years we ran hecto (Ditto) masters. They are a multi part hinged form to be used on Ditto machines. Old school mimeograph system.

When you buy the machine, make sure you get all the feeder shoes.

I was fascinated watching a Meihle Vertical on youtube but it’s hard to really understand what’s happening. Correct me if I’m wrong but it appears the cylinder is at the top when it releases the sheet to the delivery side, at the same time the bed is at the bottom being inked. A sheet is moved from a feed table to second table which is attached to cylinder. The bed moves up as the cylinder comes down. At the bottom grippers on the cylinder take the sheet around to be printed on the way up as the cylinder moves down. Whew! I hope I got it right.

RREEBB… you got it nailed. The action as you described is exactly what is going on… At 5000 iph (and yes…they will do it) it is really something to see. Look around in your area and you will fine one, ask to see it run, most printers will be only too happy to demo…. but you had better hurry up because most of the old guys who really know how to run ‘em are fast dissappearing. Carl

Carl…the man who taught me on windmills was close to retiring and that was about twenty years ago…he always talked about running an MV . It was associated with bank checks some way. There are some jobs we have that would probably be easier on an MV. Years ago they had two Kelly C’s which they got rid of, and it seems the MV could have done the same type of jobs and not take up near as much space.