Chandler & Price: Worth Buying and Salvageable?


Went to see a Chandler & Price today that was apparently made turn of the century. The press seems to have all its parts though admittedly I’m a newbie so I don’t know for sure. However it’s in pretty rough shape and rusted all over (see pics). It’s also in a basement and has to go out up 5 steps and is too wide to do so. The press hasn’t been run in over 30+ years so there’s some risk about whether it works/ is in workable shape. The buyer is only asking $50 for it but we have to figure out how to move it.

So I have two questions, 1) is the press worth buying + labor to move it? I imagine getting labor and the right tools to move it will put us easily in the $200 range, as a guesstimate. Is taking it apart to transport it a bad idea?

2) Is the press salvageable? How hard is to get rust off? I rolled the wheels with my hands and they move fine as does the lever. It was hooked up to a motor so will have to get a new motor and a belt. I wasn’t sure how to move the other parts to make sure it works but it definitely was missing rollers.

Is this a realistic project for a newbie to undertake? I have taken letterpress classes (on a Vandercook) and also have a Kelsey 5 x 8 but haven’t started playing with the Kelsey yet either.

Sorry the pictures aren’t the best quality, took it with my cellphone and the other one is from the ad.

I’d appreciate any insight. Thanks in advance!

image: 1.jpg


image: 2.jpg


image: 3.jpg


image: 4.jpg


Log in to reply   15 replies so far

$50.00 is certainly a good price. Any rust on it is the least of your challenges at this point. Rust can be removed. Getting it out of the basement is going to be the real challenge. Five steps up is not too bad. Do they lead directly outside or will you have to roll it through the house? It looks like it may be a 10x15 and they are not light. It is an Old Style because of the curved spokes on the flywheel. Partially disassembling it is going to be necessary of course. That’s not too bad if you remember to put the bolts and screws back into the holes they came out of so there is no ambiguity as to where they go. The flywheel and the pulley on the right side will have to be removed. You can take the ink disc and its mounting off to make it a little shorter, and lighter. The bed and arms can be removed also, but may not have to if you have a come along and a sturdy place to mount it above.

There are things you can check to make sure it doesn’t have excessive wear and not worth your while.
You can grab hold of the arms on each side and shake them back and forth violently and any excessive play will be evident. If they are tight, that is a good thing (one of my presses is a little sloppy but still prints OK). Look at the rails that the roller trucks ride up and down on. Maybe take a straight rule and see if they are bowed at all along their length. I’ve seen that before.
Chances are, it may be a good tight press and in the hands of a hobbyist for a good portion of its life, but you never know what it’s been through unless you check it out.
You say it will need rollers and you have probably priced them. That’s another thing that make $50 sound like a good deal on this press.

It can be done. If you have a place to put it and you’re ambitious, this would be a learning experience to bring you one more step out of newbie-ness; as you have self described yourself.
Try and get some experienced help with the right tools and be careful.

You didn’t say where you and the press are. In some areas there are experienced printers who could advise you how to proceed after they looked at the press. It looks like there is a canvas guard on the platen to prevent hands getting smashed, which was a commercial adaptation required by OSHA at one time, so the press was used either in a school or a commercial shop. Removing the flywheel and shaft should not be a big deal either — one bearing is a removable plate that reveals an opening for the treadle crank to pass through, so you can remove flywheel and shaft together. I would suggest taking everything off that seems relatively easy, like the ink disc and its support, the feed table and brackets, if they come off, etc. Strap the press shut with a cargo tiedown ratchet strap, and use 2x8 planks as skid rails on the steps, pulling the press up the steps with a comealong and a couple of people guiding and steadying it. You can move the press to the steps on pipes if it is bolted to skid boards — if it is not, bolt it to two 4x4s somewhat longer than the span between front and back feet.

Just move slowly and get knowledgeable help and you can have a fine versatile press to learn on. If the treadle crank is there you can get a treadle and run the press that way as you learn, a much safer alternative to a motor.


Yes the canvas guard does indicate that it was in a school or a commercial shop. Could have been with a hobbyist for a few years after that. I’m assuming this is currently in a residence?
Either way the press looks salvageable and with a little TLC would be a nice press. Nobody could argue with the price.

Heck yes! at $50 it’s worth taking a chance. It looks in fairly good shape, but looks are only a part of the picture. You also have to look for unusual or severe wear, especially on the rocker shafts and inside the large gear with the follower cam and its stud. If it was a school press, then it was probably well oiled in its day, but students may have abused it. Still, my 8x12 came out of a middle school and has proved to be a nice press. You’d probably be able to salvage $50 worth of parts… that safety guard alone would bring that or more.

It’s hard to tell the size but if it was a school press then it was likely an 8x12 or a 10x15. They’re not overly difficult to take partialy apart and putting them back together is only somewhat more of a challenge. There’s plenty of instructions in the archives here and on Letpress.

If you say where you are there’s likely to be someone nearby to assist.

So many damned presses in basements.

It goes to show just how profound the desire to print can be.

If you’re willing to spend countless hours perfecting a craft in some horrible god-forsaken dank basement, you must be really into it.

Personally, I need daylight, no matter how inspired I am.

I think the seller should be paying you to move this thing. It’s probably in their way, and they’d definitely have to pay someone to scrap it. $50 in a basement is no deal at all.

With the press tied closed you can remove the arms then the back will lay down and a pin near the legs can be driven out, this will lighten the press considerably. They are still very heavy. Good luck and find a few strong backs to help. Dick G.

Not having been run for 50 years is also a real advantage as it saw no wear during that time, nor was it sujected to undue stress. It will be coming out of retirement for more production.


I agree with Jhenry, picked up a Large OS, took a long time to clean it and bring it back to life, but for being 100 + years old, not one bit of wear and a beautiful impression.
So, what ever it takes 0get the press and put it back into production.

Thanks everyone! Incredibly helpful comments. I too, was a little sad to see this press down in the basement unused for over 30 years. Apparently the son owns the house now and the father used to work on the press to make business cards etc. as a hobby. It’s quite exciting to be able to get our hands on a Chandler and Price—our wedding invitations were actually printed on a C & P and I just love the quality. I’ve heard the Kelseys require quite a bit of muscle to use so a C & P would be at least more manageable on the sweat equity front (though moving it is another story).

Madmaude, I don’t think he’d be willing to pay us to move it since he’s actually in the process of moving himself. The good news is that he’s not vacating for another month or so so we have time to remove it.

We are located in Eastern Long Island, New York. It would be nice to have someone to help out but not sure what we can pay that person—maybe a free dinner :)

So I think we’re going to do it!!! This should be an interesting experience. My husband is an engineer but no muscles from Brussels haha so we will definitely have to get some people to help.

Anyone know where in the archive I can go to get disassembly instructions?


You have had almost a full day to respond where you and the press are.
Have you noted the several and mostly encouraging responses?
I suggest you start in the future and work back to help you in making your decision. What would you do with the press? Where will you put it? Do you have lots of space? The press is just a starter. You need lots more stuff and space for that stuff.
You know the geometry of the basement and the exit. None of the rest of us do so we can only speak in generalities about extracting the iron.
Moving the press, and removing parts if that is required, is more about technique and smarts than about muscle. Big gorillas that are well intentioned, but not experienced or trained can be a liability to the press, to others and to themselves.
If you hire riggers, not moving men, you will pay quite a bit more than $200.
If you get lucky, you may find one or more printers in your area who know how to move presses and would be up for the challange. Many of us could probably be bought for pizza and beverage when the job is over.
If you can answer the questions above, and can purchase an extraction and move to a new home, then buy it and plan to get dirty cleaning it up. Then you can get some ink on your shirt and get printing.
I hasten to add that you really should get some good instruction in operating the press.

Your post responding with your location hit the forum while I was finishing mine.
With the press closed and with the delivery board and brackets off, and the ink disk off, the press is a bit narrower sideways than it is across the front. You want to avoid taking off the main shaft and flywheel if you can. The flywheel is a bear to take off alone. It is easier to remove the right side flat pully and the pinion gear and then draw out the flywheel and shaft as a unit. Not real easy and simple, but doable. You have to have someone who knows how to remove the pinion gear, or very detailed instructions.

Make your measurements and avoid removing the flywheel if you can. Removing the back and arms to reduce the weight is pretty easy. Take lots of pictures. Make lots of notes. Tag pieces. Even make voice recordings. All to make sure you can put together anything you disassemble.

I had hoped to come to the moving party. I will miss out on the pizza and beverage. I am in California.


I’ll miss out on the pizza too. I’m in Michigan.

Just search for C&P and disassemble on this site. There are lots of results…this is just one: Read most of them.

Good luck.

Thanks again for the very helpful suggestions. I agree that smarts and technique will be more useful than brawn, it’ll be disassembly that will be tricky. Luckily we live in a ranch with a good space that we can use for a studio, so no hauling up or down more stairs. We’ve already cleared a space for the Kelsey and it came with a lot of metal type. Though that’s a really good idea to tag everything and record with a vidcam.

Sorry for my somewhat slow response, I have a newborn daughter and she literally is keeping my hands full :)

Too bad, I was going to take everyone to a steakhouse! Just kidding. Pizza would be more than a fair trade.

I will definitely study up on the C & P disassembly pieces on the site, thank you Arie.

Anyone know any good independent presses out on Long Island? I know there are a ton in the city and Brooklyn…

Have a lovely Wednesday night everyone!

I’ve moved my 8x12 C&P twice. I have the tools the rollers, the come along to pull it boards and straps. Not as strong as I used to be, but it might be fun to take a trip out to LI to help out. Are there two guys that could help. Have you got a truck or a van that you could use?
Finally, where on LI are you? I live in Westchester but lived in Melvile and graduated from Half Hallow Hills HS.
If you want to give me a call to talk about it the number is 917-509-4844. Email is [email protected]
Either way good luck
Steve Varvaro, Southpaw Printers

I’ve moved my 8x12 C&P twice. I have the tools the rollers, the come along to pull it boards and straps. Not as strong as I used to be, but it might be fun to take a trip out to LI to help out. Are there two guys that could help. Have you got a truck or a van that you could use?
Finally, where on LI are you? I live in Westchester but lived in Melvile and graduated from Half Hallow Hills HS.
If you want to give me a call to talk about it the number is 917-509-4844. Email is [email protected]
Either way good luck
Steve Varvaro, Southpaw Printers