Unique Letterpress items!

Thought it would be fun to share some of the unique items out there in our letterpress world. Here is an Original Box of Megill’s “Perfect Register Gauges”, these are still attached to the original paper and never used!! Please join in and share!!

image: IMAG0210.jpg


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There are a few discussions on this board about these; I’m working with a machinist friend to try and re-create them right now, actually.
(T&T press were kind enough to provide me with one that I could use to discern the mechanism, and from there it’s simply a matter of having it duped. By the way T&T, when I get sets done, you’ll be the first to know and be receiving a couple sets.)

Anyhow; They seem to be useful to a particular point, and save a bit of time with makeready, but where I feel these can be REALLY useful is in the area of fine-tuning register…. It’s not timesaving that appeals to me, good printing done by hand needs to be done at a certain rate anyhow- it’s the accuracy which can presumably be obtained with the proper use of a tool like this.

Will you be publishing an announcement when you get them into production? I would like to know if I can afford a set. Thanks!


I will, but I will likely be charging won meeleon dahlarrz.

We’ll see if my machinist is up to the task and how they work out. It’s a curious little bent and stamped sheet metal contstruction, rivited together- we think it can be made more easily by CNC machining the 2 parts and introducing a cam which moves the slider forward and back.

I want some.

OOPS! I believe that American Printing Equipment & Supply Co. in New York


bought up the assets, equipment and PATENTS from Edw. Megill Co. est. 1870, some years back! They now sell several varieties of Megill brand and some (patterned after Megill’s) under their own brand (APECO) name!

Any other unique items?? or collections? Please post pictures!

Any patents of Megill’s are long-expired. It is a very good thing that APE continues to sell some of the Megill’s products, but it is only a few models. There are lots of pressroom products from Megill’s, Rouse, Triumph, Caspar and others that are unavailable now and could be revived (or better yet, improved for use with photopolymer plates), but the question is, could there be any profit to it? A few will pay over $2000 for a Pilot, but it seems most will balk at paying $40 or more for a set of gauge pins (that they may then smash on their Boxcar base).

We’re not copying the megill design; we’re reverse engineering the concept and re-fabricating a differing mechanism. So I doubt that a company that no longer produces the variety of register tabs we are going to make in small quantities will really want to file a lawsuit- but hey, you never know.

unique eye candy, early Baltimore 11 and Hamilton job box

image: aa11.jpg


Dennis, I’ve never seen the “Perfect Register Gauges”, but I do really like using the “Double Grips”.

This is the rarest and most unique piece of letterpress equipment I own:

More views here:

image: 5x8 Wood Tabletop Press.jpg

5x8 Wood Tabletop Press.jpg

Very cool stuff! Lets get some more!

X-L Proof Roller
Hacker Mfg. Co.
Patented June 25,1918
Chicago, USA

image: X-L Proof Roller.jpg

X-L Proof Roller.jpg

A miniature sample of a Precision galley manufactured by Hamilton in Two Rivers, WI, and a small composing stick (1 1/8” x 8”) from H. B. Rouse, put into perspective with some 6pt Garamond Type from American Type Founders.

image: GalleySample&ComposingStick.jpg


See above posting.

image: GalleySample&ComposingStick.jpg


Ok, after two attempts here’s a link to the photo I was trying to attach: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4455750819

That composing stick is incredible and what wonderful craft to it!


Your jpegs wouldn’t post because you can’t have an ampersand in the title here on BriarPress.

That seems wrong coming from a site that is about printing.

image: GalleySampleComposingStick.jpg


Not sure if these are rare or not, but they sure came in handy tonight.

image: IMG_2294.JPG


I picked up a on old style Pilot with this little counter attached to it a couple of weeks ago. Not sure if the counter is especially unique, but I’ve never seen one like it before. If you know anything about it, I’d be interested to hear it.

The press belonged to a minister who used it to print tracts and church material before he passed away in the 1950’s. It had been sitting in his daughter’s basement for the last 60 years or so until I bought it.

image: close up of counter

close up of counter

image: without ink disk

without ink disk

image: Pilot with old counter

Pilot with old counter

I’d say that was never a press impression counter before he adapted it. It counts revolutions of the small gear and he rigged it with the large gear turning just the distance of the circumference of the small gear. Pretty ingenious, though. Looks like the press probably also had a pony fountain on it as well — did you get that?


I thought that an ink fountain probably went in that spot, but I didn’t get it. It sure wasn’t for lack of effort though. I was shamelessly rummaging around in the basement during the auction because the press as displayed didn’t have a chase. I came across what was left of the once-significant letterpress holdings: two decaying cardboard boxes with furniture, spacing material, a numbering machine, 3 “National” (look like Cornerstone) quoins for which I don’t have a key, and (finally) 2 chases.

The grandson of the printer/preacher told me that he remembered shoveling out the heap of lead, dust, and rotted wood that his grandfather’s type cabinet had been reduced to years ago. Under those circumstances, there’s no telling what happened to that ink fountain.

Do you think that whole mount setup for the ink fountain and the adapted impression counter was custom work then, Bob?

I don’t recognize the base piece for all of that, though it could have been part of the accessory kit for a Pilot at one time — I am not a Pilot expert. But the brackets for the counter and fountain were definitely additions — and that bright metal hold-down and the bolts for it are not C&P Pilot parts! I guess I’d be inclined to leave it that way since the additions don’t interfere with normal press operation, and you may find a small pony fountain somewhere (like the Great Northern & Midwest Flea Market) for long runs.