I recently purchased this press (am picking it up tomorrow). I was just wondering if anybody has any information on this press. I know that this press is similar to one that R. Hoe & Company made, but this one does not have any markings on it. The base weighs about 70 pounds and the cylinder weighs about 90 pounds. Also, I know the press was just made for proofs, but will I be able to get decent prints off of it?

image: Cylinder Proof Press

Cylinder Proof Press

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It will print well, but inking and registration will be difficult, and you’ll need some way to lock your forms up in the bed of the press.

It will most likely be a galley proof press which is designed to proof type tied up in galleys prior to lockup. This means the press will be undercut more than type-high and you’ll have to put a piece of steel on the bed to simulate the thickness of a galley. I think you need 0.04” but someone who knows for sure will chime in.

Had one of these in the linotype shop i worked for after high school, they pulled decent proofs of galleys of type so they could be proofread. if i had one i would put a rubber blanket on the cylinder in place of the felt. That cylinder weighs a ton. Good Luck Dick G.

Af….. yes, such a press can make very nice prints, if you take the time to learn it’s capabilities. I use a similar machine regularly, and I love it. I routinely print 12 x 18 posters without difficulty.

To reply to the recommendation that you replace the felt with a rubber sheeting—- it will help. I have rubber on my machine, and prefer it.

Inking is done by hand, but like all hand inking it’s not difficult….. it’s just slow. For fine prints, that’s not a problem. For printing a lot of work, it can be tedious.

Registration is not difficult at all….. if you use a pin-registration system. Using pins, I can lay down 6 or 7 colors in close registration without any difficulty at all. If you try to use some sort of tympany/frisket type of set-up, you’ll never get good results…. or at least that’s been my experience.

Pressure- the pressure is limited on that machine, but not as badly as folks will tell you. Using softer and/or dampened paper you can easily print large areas and large forms. Trying to do “deep impression” work on that press is not a good idea, though.

Finally….. a proof press like that functions more like an etching press than a platen letterpress, and much of the platen press technique will simply not work well on it.

OK… i’m back. I wrote the above whilst in a big hurry, so it’s lacking in the finer writing skills that such a topic deserves. Oh well…. at least it’s readable.

Now back to the press: It’s a nice looking machine. If you decide to get rid of it, just let me know.

Modernman may be right in that some of these presses had the rails type-high, and some did not. You’ll need to check it. (just stand a piece of type up next to the rail. If it’s the same height then it’s a type high machine. If the type is lower, it’s “galley high” and will need to be shimmed)

It’s not a big deal if the bed is deeper to account for the galley tray, though. My press is actually deeper than a galley press…. but after a few shims, it prints perfectly. All you’ll need to do is shim under your form with tagboard or similar to bring the top of the type up to the same level as rails. The cylinder is slightly undercut to accomodate the felt / rubber….. so it should work out fine. Unlike a platen press, your machine is tolerent of a form that is slightly off.

OK…. finally, since pressure is limited, you may need to put some of your body weight onto the handles as you roll it across your type. Add some muscle to it….. much like you would a rolling pin. (It’s actually quite easy. ) Don’t just try to use the weight of the cylinder.

There… now you know the secret of printing with a cylinder press: Soft / Dampened Paper…. and adding some body weight to the handles as you roll them…. and using a pin-register system if you are going to do several colors.

Just a quick, self-serving post. I’m desperately in need of reclaiming some space to organize my other equipment better so am selling my fully restored Chandler and Price galley proof press. If interested please see the ad on this site:


If nothing else, there are photos and the story of its restoration.


Rich Polinski
Front Room Press
Milford, NJ

Thanks so much for the great info!

I actually just got back from picking this press up (It was an all day road trip for me, but worth it because I also picked up some nice, old wood type). The press is still in my car until I get some sleep. But I did check the rail height and it is not quite type high. However, the previous owner did have an extra galley that he gave me, so I’m hoping that will work (or just shimming it up).

Winking cat, I’m sure I’ll have a lot more questions later, but for now I’m curious as to the details of using a pin registration system.

Thanks so much for the help everybody!

Oh yeah, does anyone have suggestions on the best way to attach the rubber sheeting to the roller (in place of the felt)?

Afl…. the only good way to do it that I know of is to punch holes in the edges along the seam, and sew it. One word of caution: rubber stretches, so you’ll need to make your blanket about an inch and a half shorter, and then stretch it tight as you sew it. As you do, it’ll get narrower…. so add an inch or so to the width.

Hi… I recently acquired a press that looks a lot like this. The bottom and the roller portion appear to be cast iron. How old do y’all think it might be?? Also, I bought some rubber for it from a place called Rubber Cal. It is 1/8” thick and seems to work fine. Thanks. V.

Great timing. Visiting relatives in Oklahoma and their neighbor pulls out this press and gives it to me. What a blessing. Looks to be a very similar press to yours Andy but the bed is marked Challenge. It also has the number 555 on the bottom of the bed (see pics below).

Anyone with a knowledge-stream on this or how old it might be?

I, too, am now interested in how to replace the felt. As you can see in the photo it needs some love.

image: Challenge_555_7113.jpg


image: ChallengeProofPress_7115.jpg