Would I be crazy to purchase this?

Hello everyone!

I am a beginner. I have been lazily keeping an eye out for the last few years for a letterpress to come about.
But now I have lost all patience and am stalking a press down! :)

I actually stumbled upon a New Series 12x18 C&P.
It is sitting in a mental institution and the people who work there just want it out of there way. They didn’t even know what is was.

It is located on the first floor but a wall has been built in around the machine. So it would have to be disassembled to fit through a 35” door.
Once out that door it is wide open to double doors and a loading dock.

The press would be traveling 64 miles to its resting location, Pittsburgh, PA

Is this machine way out of my league? Would I be crazy to even attempt such a move? How hard is it to dismantle?

Also, they didn’t want me to start it up… Is there a way to estimate the speed of a press with just knowing the type of motor?

Thanks in advance for any input or advice!

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Log in to reply   23 replies so far

It’s a special kind of crazy. I’d take it.

Moving them is not easy, but not impossible. Ask for help.

35” doorway is a lot of space, it may not need much disassembly. A C&P (closed up) is narrower from the side than from the front. The belt shield and motor and maybe the flywheel is where I’d start. With the help of a good friend I pulled one of these out of a basement…but with a much narrower door at the top of the stairs. We did have to pull it completely apart. Rather not do that again.

I’m jealous!! Keep us posted.

You are looking at about 2,200-2,500 lbs, but they are not that hard to move. I moved one seceral weeks ago using a pallet jack and a “Platform Lift Trailer” I rented from www.sunbeltrentals.com
The trailer is nice because the bed drops down to ground level and lifts back up after you have it loaded. You would be advised to have a come-a-long and 4 heavy duty straps.

What a steal. At $10, you are getting an awful lot of press.

so more likely, i’m crazy to pass it up! lol

Oh boy. Are you sure this isn’t how they get new patients? They lure you in with the cheap press, and if you agree to take it, it’s shock therapy and thorazine for you.

But seriously, you should try to nab that awesome blackboard thing on the wall.

Awesome! But yeah, try to somehow keep as much of it intact as possible. There have been some previous discussions about tricky moves, and you may be able to only partially strip the machine to save future headaches.

Delirious Debossers. Schizophrenic Stationary Supply. Panic Attack Press. Miter Madness. Type High Hysteria. Padded Proofs.

Just a few press names to get you started. I’ll take a blank check, delivered to….

James Beard
Vrooooom Press

You’re going to have to do some serious disassembly to get it through the door.

It’s very easy to get this press down to 37” wide by removing the inking apparatus and tying the bed shut, but unfortunately anything after that gets trickier.

You’re either going to have to separate the bed from the main body or remove the entire shaft running through the centre of the press (flywheel and the wheel the belt is attached to included.)

If time is no problem, do research, get it done, you can do it. If time is a problem (and money is less of one) break down the wall to get the press out in one piece and then rebuild it (the wall.) Might even be easier.


I’m with Paul, even if it costs $500 to take out the wall and put it back after the press is out your still ahead of the game, the 12x18 is a great press, your press looks like there is a speed control on it. Good Luck Dick G.

lol, my sister told me that in no way am I aloud to buy it because its HAUNTED…hahaa. she was dead serious.

I don’t think they would ever let me touch the wall. I guess it can’t hurt to ask. I have been reading all of the moving and disassembling posts, and honestly it scares the crap out of me! More so, about putting it back together.
I am going to look for some local help.

The office girls said that it needed out by November 16th, so I asked them what was going to happen if I didn’t buy the press and they said, “nothing, it’s just going to sit here for 50 more years.” So I think that I have plenty of time to figure this out.

lol Vroooom, Type High Hysteria is my favorite!

This is where the press sits. Gorgeous huh?
and the creepy hallway that I will be wheeling that little lady down.

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This is developing into a great story. If you do take it, shoot plenty of photos. It will be one of the more cinematic moves we readers have seen.


Go for it! I believe that anything like this can be accomplished with the right amount of research, education and effort.

Given the price and relatively close location, it seems like a great opportunity. The potential need to disassemble could be a great opportunity to improve your knowledge of the press and the mechanics behind it.

The fantastic folks here at briarpress will help you along your way, just as they did for me in moving and restoring a C&P 10x15.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.


What a find! What a story! That building, that hallway — I can understand your sister’s concern. And on Halloween, too! I can just see the ghostly hand of the institution’s crazed former resident printer pulling prints of his frightening story from it. Call Stephen King to document it for you!

But seriously, maybe there’s a professional press mover you can hire? You can afford it at that price.


Ask about the wall, then when they don’t want that removed, ask about just removing the doorway trim. Taking the door and trim out might get you to a 37” opening that you could squeeze the press through (maybe sort of wiggle through). I’ve had to do that sort of thing a couple of times.

I know, the timing is so appropriate.
And yes, I am definitely looking in to hiring someone.
Thank goodness I found such an awesome deal otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to afford to get it out of there.

Thanks for all of the encouragement!
I will keep you posted!


Dave, great idea!
Will definitely try that.

i’m curious, any updates? :) i am starting to reassemble a c&p 10x15 we moved last month, it’s intimidating but exciting. we’ve been given a lot of tips, and even met an awesome new friend in person thru this board who’s been helping us. :)

and i can’t be the only one wondering..just *how* did you happen to be there and see this in the first place? ;)

Bluetulip- I was thinking the same thing!

Abigail- Good luck! I would love to see pics of how you moved it. I just moved a 12x18 c&p last week.. it was ALOT heavier than anyone anticipated…

Good luck! I would buy it if I were you.
The long hallway looks so creepy, the press will finally be free of the mental institution! What a cool story. Post photos as you move it out of there.

If you try to move it yourself, you might consider renting or buying a set of four “crawler” devices (one brand is Hilman - http://www.jackxchange.com/images/pdf/73.pdf) for moving heavy machinery. One under each corner would make the move pretty easy. They are steerable, and use a track of rollers, similar to a bulldozer tread but nylon, and they are only a couple of inches high, so you wouldn’t have to raise the press very much to get them under it. They’d certainly make skidding the press down that hallway much easier!


Bob, i saw these years ago, when i was at the newspaper, when they got rid of the linotypes the riggers used these and it made the job look so easy. i never knew what they were called or where to get them. Dick G.

thanks guys but the big update, SOMEONE else snatched it up!!!! :( :( :(

But that’s ok I have already found a few more that are even closer! I put ads at two of my uncles scrap yards and I have already had 4 people contact me. Choices are good :)

Seems like a lot of people have an uncle or great uncle that has one sitting in their garage or basement.