Heidelberg Windmill buying.

I mentioned to a friend over a drink last night how hard it was to find a printing press to get started with in the UK. She told me about a local printing shop that closed down 9 years ago. This morning I cycled down to this run down old shop, wiped a bit of the window clean and squinted in…there in the gloom was a Heidelberg Windmill. I spent the rest of the day on the computer, went through the land registry office to locate the owners of the building and got their names then tracked them down to a street within a mile of the old shop. This evening I knocked on the door and spent an hour chatting with the owner in his 70’s. Turns out he also has a Vandercrook out the back, racks of type and guillotine among other goodies.

We got on so well that I am going to take the whole lot and he is even going to come and help me set it up and get me started on the Heidelberg which I find a bit intimidating at this stage.

After looking for several months and missing out on a number of presses I am completetly delighted that fate has smiled on me.

My question is, the Heidelberg Windmill is an early one, pre 1950, it looks in good condition but I am sure it must have some issues lurking beneath. What should I check for? Can bits be found and replaced still for a machine of this age? What are the practical implications of worn bearings etc?
Can I get it serviced in the UK or is it too old?


p.s. there are other items in the shop that I have agree to help him list and sell, so I will post them in the classifieds here first.

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This is a great story, the shop he worked and built will now continue through you. Congratulations!

He seemed very happy when I told him there was a big revival in this sort of printing and that his skills, which he thought had been replaced by a computer, were valued again.

I’m delighted that we will be getting these old machines producing again.

Nice story Nick. There are several people in the UK with Heidelberg presses. Get in touch with http://www.seniorgraphics.co.uk

for anything to do with Heidelberg machines.

Are you going to move all the stuff to France?

Hi Thomas, thanks for the link.

Yes everything will go to my French home, this all happened since we last spoke, isn’t life funny sometimes.

I feel inclined to try and get the Windmill checked over in the UK before taking it to France, I’ll speak to Senior Graphics about that this week. I haven’t actually been able to view the Vandercrook yet so I’m not sure what condition it’s in.

Be aware that everything and anything from the UK will be English type height and Pica points and everything on the Continent either to standard height (23.56 mm) and to Didot point. Nothing can be mixed!

I understand the type can’t be mixed but both type sizes will fit the Heidelberg’s Chase?

Yes, both sizes will fit the chase, but you have to take several factors into account. Firstly, the press will be set to English typeheight and changing a Heidelberg around isn’t that simple. Secondly once you’re on the Continent, you will need to get all your type and material like spaces from the UK. Nothing is interchangeable. You have to think of future needs. if you plan to stay in France, it might be an idea to get a press on the Continent. And… don’t forget transporting a heidelberg and a Vandercook, as well as the type from the UK to France will be very expensive. I paid 550 euro to transport a Vandercook from one address to another within the boundaries of Paris!