Windmill Purchase

Recently I’ve been considering adding a windmill to my studio to offer clients higher print runs as well as adding overall quality and efficiency. I only have experience with older, manual platen presses and have never used a windmill.

Before I start diving into looking for the right press to purchase, I want to do some research on the Windmill. Specifically, how to know which one to buy, what to look out for, what the differences of the years are, and anything else that would aid me in my windmill choice.

Can anybody offer me any resources that would help answer some of these questions? Any help would be much appreciated!

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The black balls are the older ones, the red balls are a little newer, my red ball was new in 1966, shortly after my press was made they came out with rollers that you could lock up so you could perf, or die cut without removing the rollers, they made 2 size windmills, i’m only familiar with the 10x15, there is also a 13x18, most everything can be run on the 10x15. hope this helps. Dick G.


Look for a serial number above 100 000. You can indeed go with one of the later roller lockout models, but they’ll be more expensive than a good 1954-1966 red ball and you may not even want the lockouts.



Make sure you have seen the press actually print. Don’t trust that just because it turns on and feeds paper that it’s not worn out. You cannot imagine (maybe you can) how expensive the replacement parts are when ordered from Heidelberg (or any reputable parts outlet).


Thanks for the advice guys!

One more suggestion, have a mechanic check out the press before you buy. As a press mechanic, I know that there can be issues that even the current owner may not be aware of. It is cheap insurance.

Regarding my original post / questions:

I am thinking about making an offer on this press:

Of course, after I go see it in person, and perhaps have a press person look over it with me.

Does anybody care to offer some advice regarding this specific press? Anything in the pictures that looks bad or wrong? Qualms on the price? Any info would be much appreciated. Thanks!

First thing I have to say is that it’s not a ‘52, don’t think. Mine is a ‘53 and its serial is 34xxx if I remember right.

$3500 is not a steal for a Windmill, but it’s not a terrible price. For that price, I would hold out for one that you could run a test with. I am assuming you can’t go, have them show you how to print with it, do a run to make sure it holds register and prints true etc.

If there is any gamble involved (which there is if you can’t run a job on the press) hold out for a real cheap one.

You might consider spending a bit more if you want something reliable and you want it quickly. A red-ball with foil stamping can be had for $2k more, which in my opinion will be worth it.

They made 100 000 of them in between the one on ebay and that one I just posted, it’s gotta be in a bit better shape.

edit: Just realized the inking apparatus has been removed from that press, maybe not such a good buy.

Thanks a lot for the info moderman - very helpful!

I would definitely look at it in person, and perhaps pay a print mechanic to look at it before I purchase.

I’ll look into red-ball as another option and continue to do some research.

For me, this is a chunk of cash, and I want to make sure I get a well working machine.