Liability for Injury

I understand that briarpress is not a court of law. But I could use the advice of its members.
I bought a C&P 10x15. I was (arguably am) a novice and might not have asked enough questions of the seller.
The press runs in reverse (flywheel rotating clockwise if viewed from the flywheel side), has no footbrake, and no speed control.
This summer I crushed my hand in the press. It was pretty bad, but I’m ok now. I understand that the press is far from being OSHA-compliant. How much of the liability falls on the seller?
I’m not the sue-ing type. And I understand that I’M the one who crushed my hand, but I imagine it could have been avoided if the press was outfitted with the proper safety measures.
Any thoughts on the matter are greatly appreciated.

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Glad your hand wasn’t damaged too badly - hope the recovery was complete.

Most likely, your press did not come with any safety guards - there have been various kinds of shields developed to prevent this sort of thing - most of them (like table saw safety guards) are discarded because they “get in the way”.

You might be able to find an aftermarket “shield”, but finding someone to install it - and all of it’s the implicit liability issues - may be difficult.



Glad you recovered. I live in fear of getting whacked by my Windmill. So far, so good.

For liability, and I’m obviously no attorney, I doubt the seller has any. You bought what you bought and this seems to be operator error. If anything, it should teach you to respect the machine more and maybe get a few lessons from a pro before sticking your hand back in the thing!

When you run a C&P with the flywheel turning clockwise as you are, the platen rises much faster than when it’s turning correctly. And that is, Counter-clockwise facing the flywheel or away from you if standing in the operating position. If you know enough about your press to say that it’s running in reverse and still operate it that way then you have less than no ground to stand on for blaming someone for getting hurt.

The nearest to a successful guard for any hand fed press is to have a fixed feedboard in front of you to restrict your reach , really old hand fed treadles had boards on either side and that later developed through injuries into a reach board that only allows you enough time to pick and place at the appropriate moment and by the time the platen was three quarters closed you couldnt reach any longer . It slows you down but not as much as no hand will !!

Glad to hear your hand is ok.

I’d also guess that the seller has no liability. You purchased a machine as-is that you knew was potentially dangerous and operated it with that knowledge. My assumption is that the liability for such operation would fall squarely on you. Just be thankful that you didn’t have an employee operating the machine.

I’d second what Peter said above about a fixed feedboard (coupled with standing up straight while feeding) being the best safety device on the press. Beyond that you could possibly try to find one of the Reliance platen guards, but they’re very difficult to come by and most people find them to be more of a nuisance than a safeguard.

I’ve never noticed a difference in the C&P platens based on which way the flywheel is turning. I know other platens (Goldings for instance) are very quick to close with the flywheel turning in the opposite direction, but I can’t say that I’ve personally observed this on a C&P—and I’ve tried.

Hope that helps.


It seems a shame to pass all powered platen presses into scrap heaps just because they are not fully guarded. You have to consider the price of a used press which had been re-fitted to be totally guarded. It would be out of the range of the hobbiest, and fairly cumbersome to operate and feed.

As many others on this list, I have operated platen presses for over 50 years and have never had an accident. This is not because I’m lucky, I am very careful.

It’s sometimes useful to put yourself in the position of the person who seems to have done-ya-wrong. Would you like to be held responsible for the risky misuse of machinery you’ve sold?

Once a tool leaves my shop I have no control over its application. GHM if a Colt buyer doesn’t understand that pistols can’t be used in reverse and one of his family is a “blamer” or lawyer

I’ve done some mighty stupid stuff over the years.
It’s unpleasant to feel at fault but ultimately
I must own my own mistakes.
It’s the best way to ensure I learn something from them.


“[B]ecause the eye of vigilance perceives the risk of danger … The risk reasonably to be perceived defines the duty to be obeyed, and risk imports relation; it is to another or others within the range of apprehension.”

I would say it depends if you’re in a comparative or contributory negligence state.

Friend I am glad you’re ok, very glad, I first hesitated in buying my press when i thought of the possibility of smashed hands. If your press is treadle operated, you see a sheet improperly fed, stiffen your leg and it should stop the thing altogether. I hesitate to buy a motor for mine cuz I am no better than anyone to goof up. at least you have somewhat more control with foot power.

One thing I am doing, and I am a novice, before I ran my first job I got it straight in my mind…….
“Once the platen starts moving (back to close) you let it go, no sheet of paper made of man is worth the risk”

Greater risk comes from a cutter in my opinion, I had the great guys at Bindery Tools install a safe lock that prevented the cutter from moving once the arm was raised, you have to remove the spring key before continuing.

When I ran my thumb into a running table saw years ago, I got a healthy fear for all things potentially dangerous.

Can’t blame the seller, he wasn’t trying to fake any intents of maiming you I am sure, its just the way the 19th century stuff works.
Have a great day!

Sorry about your hand

Old timers did not call hand feed platen presses
snappers for nothing.


Do you have a picture of that retro-fit key set up?
I wonder if it’s like the pawl on the older table top Advance.

Very sorry to read about your hand. Many years ago my first job in printing was operating a 12x18 C&P hand feed. One day while running the press as I was removing my hand, after I had placed the paper on the platen, the aftermarket shield came loose and grabbed my thumb pinching it between the feed board and press. Fortunately, I have a very flexible joint and there was no damage.

image: thumb 001.JPG

thumb 001.JPG

I dont know the c&p, maybe it should operate in one direction only but i do know some old platens you went in the direction that you were comfortable with ,either dwell ,or no dwell at the insertion of your sheet , as mentioned above you only ruin a sheet of paper . I do mainly die cutting and creasing you dont pull any part of your hand out again once it closes on it !!
I own a small treadle with no impression throw off facility so once you are feeding you cant miss but i have ruined a few copies that i couldnt level up in time !!!!
As for the windmill i have had a few near misses ,grazed knuckles and the occasional wack round the ear, and temple, you remember to not bend so low for a while till next time. There are standard dangers with windmills but the most dangerous is the ones that have been laid up for years , the drive engaging mechanism uses a slipping clutch , if youare doing a heavy embossing job on a machine that has been over oiled it is commonplace to tighten the clutch to stop the platen jamming on impression. if the machine then goes into the dust of time out of use the oil dries up, when you start the motor the press can start driving immediately or worse while you are playing with the packing with the motor in idle it starts to close of its own accord in little stops and starts .
If i install one of these the first two jobs i do after the sparky leaves is the saver step (the swing up guard) then set the drive on the clutch . after this i go by a checklist dependant on whether its printing or die cutting or both . I can be sued if i get it wrong but not the machine supplier as that was my duty to perform such safety checks as the manufacturer recommended the supplier is removed from the equation if he does not do the installation . Once you raise it above the floor you have effectively decommisioned the press, the person who then lowers the press to the floor is then re commisioning it and therefore responsible , the transport company are safe as they put it down on a pallet , still off the floor . you may ask them to floor it for you but they do that at your request therefore you carry the can .

How fast does the press run? A manageable speed, or breakneck, can barely keep up with it pace?

I would argue that selling a press without a brake, and with a motor that is set to a very, very fast speed setting- without the ability to slow it down or stop it- could be cause for some liability on behalf of the seller. If it is in an unsafe state when you receive it, and you (in your limited scope of judgement as a beginner) felt it was safe to operate but were injured in the process, you should seek damages.
It will be difficult to prove, but the right attorney operating on your behalf will go uncover some other jilted customers and get their testimony, will investigate into this person’s unsavory past dealings.

Fact is, you can all argue about his responsibility as the operator all you want- but I say this:

Not including a variable drive or some way to slow the press down, motor-wise- failing to include a brake- and setting the press to a very, very fast IPH- and then not familiarizing the buyer with what they were buying, or getting them to sign off on the fact that the press did NOT comply with OSHA requirements- is definitely grounds for a lawsuit. I can’t predict the outcome, and neither can any of you.

Going further, this is not like a gun and shouldn’t be compared to one, imho.
It’s not about someone doing something perceivable with an object and using it for it’s implied function in a negative context.
People choose to shoot others, shoot themselves, accidentally shoot themselves.
People don’t often choose to crush themselves in machinery because they didn’t percieve that it could happen or didn’t realize it was unsafe.

It’s very easy to prove that he didn’t realize the machine was unsafe before operating it- he’s a novice. This is an obscure machine (in comparison to a firearm).
It’s not very easy to prove people didn’t know a gun would hurt them in this day and age- we’re saturated with them.

I would also argue that while the seller is not selling some piece of recreational equipment- he’s selling a machine used to manufacture things. In this case, a printing press.

Can you sell a powered Guillotine without a pair of safety buttons? Or some kind of failsafe? Without liability for the operators error? Without some form of express consent from the owner, in writing, saying they want it to be received in that condition?

I argue that in this case the buyer did not have a full, clear understanding of the press’s problems before the accident occurred, and I don’t think they were in a position that kept them from overlooking the lack of necessary features in a case like this; you could also read how you wished, but I would also argue that while they noticed the wheel spinning opposite direction after seeing another press in action, this person didn’t think it would affect the press as much as it in fact does- as evidenced by their continued printing.

Finally- it’s very very important to note: just because a person is doing things the wrong way, they do not necessarily KNOW it. That includes both the injured party and the party the injured would seek damages against.

Maybe his mother’s delivery room doctor did something he shouldn’t have and altered his fellow’s level of common sense and the doctor is the one who’s at fault. ( He probably has a lot more money than the fellow who sold the press. Isn’t that what the suing thing is all about?)

Any Platen Press, ANY is only suppossed to be Owner operated, to meet OSHA requirements. AS an Owner you should have been keenly aware of all security features and knowledge of how to prevent Injury. SO this Injury should have haven’t occurred if you are a Owner properly set up.

Glad you are OK and good luck! I 2nd many of the other posters about going back on the seller. I’m sure the whole situation sucks trust me but if I drive my car into a tree tomorrow morning I’m not going to sue the dealer that sold it to me. Its not his job to know if I can drive or not.

When I’ve sold big presses I probably annoy the people buying it with my as is, where is, it will hurt you and not blink, once its off my driveway what happens next is not my problem, blah blah blah speech but its meant to make them think.

I’m just not buying it, either, Helimits.

If your kind of thinking were to take root among used printing equipment consumers, far fewer equipment owners will be willing to sell their gear to small & start-up shops. Prices will climb as more owners opt for scrap metal money rather than risk exposure to some predatory legal action.

Machinery should be treated with the same respect as a firearm.
You don’t use a printing press without training.
You don’t use a gun w/o training.
If you use any kind of equipment that can deliver
high levels of energy suddenly and directly,
w/o at least getting a thorough briefing
on all the risky issues,
then God help ya.

Shifting blame w/ dodgy reasoning isn’t going to heal wounds
or lead to fewer injuries.

It’s always disturbing to hear of another printer getting injured.
Glad it’s mending.
I don’t take issue with the way Hound is handling this.
We differ only on what is owed to the buyer.
A full account of what I know the press to be
(cracks, chips, braze-ups, missing parts, worn bearings,
striped threads, rust, &c.)
seems like due diligence to me.


Thank you all for your kind words. I lost a muscle in my hand, so it looks a little weird. But it works! For that, I feel lucky.
And thank you all for weighing in. At least those of you who had constructive things to say…
The doctor comment above is obviously inane, and not an analogy at all. It isn’t about collecting money really (which I made clear), but about establishing some clarity about the standards with which these dangerous machines are bought and sold.
It’s an interesting situation because I actually wasn’t told ANYTHING about the press. I have a Pilot that I’ve worked on for years, and just thought this would be the same, but bigger, louder, and more intense.
So the next question, for all of you who think the seller isn’t liable…
If I want to sell this press to someone who doesn’t know how to operate it properly, I can just bring it over, set it up, and wish them luck? With a clean conscience?
Or maybe it makes it ok if I bring it over, set it up, mention that it’s missing all the safety features, tell them that it’s potentially dangerous, and then wish them luck?
Do you all see what I’m getting at? If I want to sell this press now, I need to equip it with the proper safety features in order to sell it with a clear conscience.
Again, thanks. It’s an interesting discussion.

How fast does the motor run the press? Keep in mind that many of these machines were never equipped with safety features (no foot brakes on earlier models, very few platen guards, and many times not a variable speed motor). I always recommend a variable speed motor—especially to printers just starting out on a floor model platen.

The truth is that there’s nothing you can do to make this press completely safe. That being said, to keep your conscience clear you should just explain any and all known factors to the next owner.


Typenut is absolutely correct. If you are the owner you are solely responsible for the operation of the press and required knowledge of its safety features. Note also that no one else can legally operate the press.


and tell them to get some lessons on use of the machine before attempting to operate it.
Emphasize the necessity for this by explaining your injury.

Never do any work of feeding when the platen commences closing. Follow this rule and you don’t need guards. If it is a power press make sure it can’t be accidentally started when you are working on it. Sometimes I look at Utube movies of people feeding and I just cringe. Jobs locked up low in the chase, presses running fast people correcting feeds as its closing with one or two seconds to spare. Every dangerous operation error, you can think of, and there is definetily not enough education of new printers. All letterpress machines need to be treated with great respect and every printer is responsible for their own safety

In real terms who would go buy a massive truck if they did not know how to drive it ??? Its a horrible subject and you cant forsee what a jury will decide in these things . as i put earlier once the machine is off the floor the seller has basically decomissioned it , the buyer put it back on the floor and at that point he has re commisioned it , before you start it up you get someone to check it over if you fail to do that it will be deemed your own choice .
As for platens being operated only by the owner we havent got that potty over here yet but I work some places on windmills that only i run and i come and go when required .
The catch word for them is that they employ a specialist to run it !

Here’s one press that won’t fall into the hands of someone looking to sue ME. And, there may be more to follow.

image: Junked.jpg


My vote is that it is 100% user-responsibility.

Any adult who chooses to buy and use a letterpress (or any heavy machinery) should know what they’re doing. And honestly, there’s no part of a platen press opening and closing that looks like something you should put your hand in.

Sorry about the hand, but don’t try to cash in on your own mistake.

In your original post you admitted to being a novice and mentioned that you may not have asked the right questions of the seller, while in your latest post you stated that you weren’t told ANYTHING about the press?

Interesting change of story. If you were given that information (runs in reverse, lack of speed control and footbrake) and ignored it, I believe you are fully at fault. If you purchased a printing press from a seller who would not tell you anything about the press that you were purchasing, I believe you are fully at fault. I would have walked away from that transaction in a second.

My 12x18 C&P did not have a speed control when I purchased it so I did the research and found one that would work. Knowing that I am a novice in the field of electric, I called an electrician and had him install it. If I hadn’t done that and had injured myself, it would be all on me.

I really was very sorry to read about your hand, and am glad that it is on the mend, but it seems that you are simply looking for someone to blame other than yourself.

when i bought my presses the seller was very hesitant about this very issue. i put and underlined kluge presses as “non operational scrap metal”. on the sales receipt. so when i bring them back up operational it all on my shoulders.
why do you have the press running backwards? it prob does not matter when hand feeding until you attach gripper bars. the cam opens and closes them differently.

When did you lift that off my drive it was there an hour ago !!!! Is that being re built or scrapped? It still has its lay mechanism on you have to get it off if scrapping as that is the most commonly smashed bits the bar through the clam . the bracket that sits on the left of the clam that it all hangs on , the drive link and then the other end the slider cam that drives it to the right and the cam that raises it all . the lay bar which must still be there and all the other gubbins associated with it . ok its four hours work but worth the hassle as the whole lolot costs nearly 500 pounds and nearly as much in labour to replace it . once you have taken it off intact you can easily put one back together . I do it ten or more times a year !!

We have to make it a point to everyone on here that many of us are trained to work on these machines , whilst we chatter about them like toys it must be understood that they bite ,hard.
It is not unfair to say that if you are not trained and properly you should not put motors on treadles ! I am pretty easy around the windmill its as safe as houses if you do as taught , i will admit that with all my years in i still dont like hand feeding a platen its so tempting to try to straighten that sheet .i have hand fed into a windmill with the grippers removed that does not come recommended but no less dangerous than hand feeding any platen press . there are people offering to give lessons all over that country of yours maybe this should have its own segment on briar a training opportunity list that serves only to highlight its own importance . the negatives of lack of training can be seen all through the listings on here .

A Hound for Baskerville,

there is not really a discussion point here - I’m sorry you got hurt and even if you think it went ok, it will hound you in the long run. Letterpress as a Trade went out starting in the mid 50’s about. Usually -somebody want’s to come in sideways into the Trade, people would ask questions, seek advice and try to find someone there they can observe and learn the skill needed to run such equipment before buying and operating it.
If you argue that you are so deep in the sticks, that this type of requirement is not afforded to you, there is the internet, and you posting in this forum shows you have access to it. Youtube has a myriad of movies of presses running, has some of the best advise of buying, owning and operating, there is briarpress, the newslist: Book-Arts-L and sublist Letterpress.

Used equipment is sold all day long for the last decades, it is always sold as is, you buy it - you want to operate it, usually, common sense dictates that you research it, have it properly hooked up, make sure it runs right and there have been so many discussions on slowing a press down, it’s really hard to miss one, attach a vfd drive to your press and you can slow it down , molasses moves faster.

Because you operate it, you have to operate in a safe manner, doesn’t matter if you’re in your basement or in a commercial setting, because you operate a machine, OSHA applies and has to be observed.

If you want to sell it, sell it with the added cost of your improvements. If you’re nice, explain the press, or give them a printout with above mentioned resources,
But you still sell as is.

Otherwise, no used car, machine, utility or house should or could be sold.


A Hound for Baskerville,

there is not really a discussion point here - I’m sorry you got hurt and even if you think it went ok, it will hound you in the long run. Letterpress as a Trade went out starting in the mid 50’s about. Usually -somebody want’s to come in sideways into the Trade, people would ask questions, seek advice and try to find someone there they can observe and learn the skill needed to run such equipment before buying and operating it.
If you argue that you are so deep in the sticks, that this type of requirement is not afforded to you, there is the internet, and you posting in this forum shows you have access to it. Youtube has a myriad of movies of presses running, has some of the best advise of buying, owning and operating, there is briarpress, the newslist: Book-Arts-L and sublist Letterpress.

Used equipment is sold all day long for the last decades, it is always sold as is, you buy it - you want to operate it, usually, common sense dictates that you research it, have it properly hooked up, make sure it runs right and there have been so many discussions on slowing a press down, it’s really hard to miss one, attach a vfd drive to your press and you can slow it down , molasses moves faster.

Because you operate it, you have to operate in a safe manner, doesn’t matter if you’re in your basement or in a commercial setting, because you operate a machine, OSHA applies and has to be observed.

If you want to sell it, sell it with the added cost of your improvements. If you’re nice, explain the press, or give them a printout with above mentioned resources,
But you still sell as is.

Otherwise, no used car, machine, utility or house should or could be sold.


I still do not understand how you got your hand hurt.
If you watch a machine work, before putting your hand into it, you could see ways of getting hurt.

When I use someone car, I always try the brakes a few feet from the start point to see how they work on the car I am driving.

But, a person can get hurt so easy around all equipment. The first thing is to know that might happen first.

I had a pressmen damage one of letterpress press once because he wouldn’t stop wearing long unbutton shirts while running the press.

He didn’t get hurt, but the damage to the press to remove his shirt and arm cost more than the press.

Nothing bad happen to him, he just lost his shirt.

I think that the general consensus is logical. The person that buys the machine has thousands of opportunities to set things right before they get hurt.
I tried to straighten an envelope, to answer a few people’s question.

To straighten some other things out: I learned all of the things “wrong” with the press after I got hurt. So, there’s no change in story, just a lack of chronological exactness on my part.

For those of you who put it bluntly and claim that I am “trying to cash in on my mistake”, it’s offensive. I said from the beginning that I am not one to sue. But as a matter of course, I think it makes sense to investigate this from both sides—as a purchaser, as well as someone who is selling. So for those of you who contributed snippy and condescending remarks to an honest investigation, I feel sorry for you.
The clarity that you all contributed with regard to my responsibilities prior to selling is very helpful, so thank you.


And hopefully not inward ! Whatever the future brings you i know you wont do it again !

It seems to me the best advice one can give to a novice with a treadle press is to disconnect the motor until you are absolutely familiar with the press’ operation cycle. I have a couple of treadles and will never power them as it doesn’t suit my jobs or my working method. I admire those who have posted videos showing them at work on a powered treadle - gee they cut it fine some times!

Admiditly having only skimmed some of he comments this may be redundant, but to the original question of liability.

No seller is ever liable for injury caused to the buyer in the normal operation of a macine after the sale.

The only party ever liable for injury is the manufacture, and then only if it is found that there was an intentional negligence in the operational safety of a machine in opposition to occupational safety standards.

Even if a previous owner disables or removes a safety from a machine it is the current owners responsibility to replace or repair it.

That is the general rule indeed however the installer is always liable if they have not folloed the manufacturers guidelines that would make the installer liable if it was not totally to manufacturers spec regardless of the condition it arrives in ,as i said the man who puts it on the shop floor carries responsibility ,that you didnt know a part was missing is no defence either as that makes you unqualified to install it in the first place.

We’re getting into jail house lawyering now on this subject and I’d suggest anyone who has a serious interest in the subject obtain sound legal advice if it is a concern. Protective devices were made as long ago as 100 years for the C&P and other platens so this is not a new problem. There are two fellows in San Francisco who were just indicted on criminal charges last week in the death of an employee who was caught in a die cutting press—they face jail time and a fine of up to $1.5 million, so as an individual using this equipment it is critical to know one’s equipment and for an employeer, it is critical to know your obligations under the various laws, and I’d suggest that Briar Press is not a substitute for well founded information.


If I may take a different tack, I feel there might be a touch of fear interwoven in these responses, and from my perspective, it might even be the 800# (2200g?) gorilla in the room. Letterpress is a hobby for some, but some of us are blessed enough to feed our families with it. We make a living operating dangerous antiques with little or no mechanical safety considerations, only common sense, restraint and skill. Because of the combination of dangerous equipment and todays governmental safety standards, those of us with legitimate businesses live with a nagging fear of governmental compliance related issues and regulation. Even though safety is top priority, its a reality to us that at any point, the government can walk through our doors and make life difficult enough for us that locking the door is the only feasible remedy. Its only a matter of time really.

So that being said, without appointing any blame, I believe lawsuits based on the safety of antique letterpress equipment threatens to stop the letterpress renaissance in its tracks, or at least push it underground. Then the only people benefitting will be the scrap men. We’ve all gotten our bumps and bruises. Please be careful friends.

I began learning on an 8x12 c&p, never used a treadle, I cannot imagine the idea of pumping with your foot, feeding and operating the throw off all at the same time. We ran at super slow feed for weeks under the eyes of our instructor. Once the platen began to rotate we knew it was time to let go and reach for the throw off lever to correct a mis feed. This unconscious knowledge was committed to our brains before we were allowed to progress. Correct posture was a definite factor here as well. I cannot imagine the process of learning to operate a machine learning by hit (no pun intended here) or miss. Just watching a video of someone operating a press leaves a lot of learning on the table. Ultimately I have to say, it is ones responsibility to see you understand the equipment you are operating, antique or modern. Vern

If a hand-fed platen press like the C&P is properly operated, it is not possible to crush your hand.

Properly operated simply means stand upright; keep your back straight, remove and load sheets while the platen is open, and never, never, NEVER reach into the press to move a mis-aligned sheet.

That’s what the impression throw-off lever is for.

Personally, I feel as though the aftermarket “safety features” do not serve us well. A little bit of proper instruction on not where to put your hand is all that’s needed to keep the press safe.

It’s like the simple fact that the primary rules of driving a car are stay on the road stop before you drive into anything.

I’ve operated my hand-fed presses for nearly 50 years - began with a 30 impression per minute 8x12 C&P when I was 14 - and I have never, ever trimmed as much as a fingernail.

- and none of us ever should.

The press isn’t dangerous; but operators can be.

However, I must admit that I would not encourage anyone to hand-feed a Windmill. It simply was not designed to be used that way. The C&P was.

taken from my copy of ‘Elementary Platen Presswork’.

image: safehand.jpg


Alan… I can’t agree with your comment.

Powered, flywheel operated platen presses are indeed dangerous….. which is why OSHA and the courts have mandated that they cannot be used in any appplication where an employee will be operating them. The truth is that they bite, and they bite HARD, as evidenced by piles of documentation. In fact, while they were in commercial use, they were responsible for more industrial accidents than any other piece of equipment.

I’ve been doing this for at least as long as you have…. and I’ve known several very experienced printers who have lost fingers to these beasts. All it takes is a moment’s inattention and wham…. off goes a digit.

I do have one myself, and I use it regularly…. BUT I am not so cavalier to say “if it’s operated properly it’s safe”. It’s not. It’s a terribly unsafe piece of equipment that will bite your fingers off. I still use mine since it is also a great machine….. but I do so knowing it’s dangers, and accepting responsibility for whatever happens.

THAT is why I never, ever recommend a C&P for newbies. Unfortunately, some folks here tell newbies…. “Sure, it’s safe!” to folks who don’t have a clue what it can do. This is irresponsible, AND anyone who makes such a recommendation is contributing to the possibility of serious accidents.

Newbies operating C&P’s are just a disaster waiting happen, as illustrated by the above incident, and several others discussed here.

I’m not as experienced as some people here, but as far as I can tell, running a C&P is far far safer than driving a car.

They both require proper training, and in both cases “all it takes is a moment’s inattention and wham”. Only with a car, the “wham” can be way more dangerous. And with all the driving training in the world you still have other drivers that can cause a problem.

In the pressroom it’s just you and the machine. And the machine is consistent. When you turn it on, the wheel will turn and the platen will open and close.

If your body is upright and you NEVER lean in to the press, how can you possibly get your hand caught in the platen?

One of the biggest causes of accidents is distraction. When operating machinery one should be focused on the machine itself, not having a chatty conversation, or blasting loud music. Don’t get me wrong, I like to listed to music in my shop, but while operating a hand-fed or sheet-fed press I want to be able to hear the press while it is operating.


thats why i took down the pinup girls and got rid of the tv.

Thanks Dick, I hate it when I blow lemonade out of my nose.

just helping to keep your airways clean. speaking of clean, i’m still off the gasoline, although i miss the smell sometimes but feel better not using it, especially since we installed the wood stove. hows things on the left coast, here on the right we have had a very mild winter, no ice fishing on the pond this year, it never froze all the way across, we had about 6 or more feet of snow last year, this year we didn’t get a foot. Have you watched any of the videos on utube about hand feeding , some of them i can’t watch, when these kids get a box car base the full size of their chase they mount the die way down the bottom of the press so they don’t crush their gauge pins, reaching way into a press is not a good idea, why don’t they get a couple of smaller bases so they don’t have to mount smaller dies at the bottom of the chase. there needs to be better education of the new kids hand feeding so more aren’t injured.

No one should start out on a revolving press. There are more than enough lever operated presses out there that do a brilliant job , who needs to maintain speed of production when they only run one small job a week ?
When you use the machine properly with its appropriately measured reach board fitted the only way to trap yourself is on the opening stroke if you have your fingers hanging over the front of the reach board.
Mega hurt has posted the literature above how hard is it to understand those three images ? The only way that set up can bite is if the man in that image fig49 doesnt move his fingers before she opens again !
I have a john haddon swift with no throw off and no feed board at all i use two stands but i would never run it in company as its a vicious machine with no dwell on feed .
As one of you said no distractions !! No beers and no funny fags if you want to keep your digits working !

Thanks for the inspiration for my next poster Peter!

Dare I say it?
That letterpress printing is an early form of digital printing.
Thankyou Fritz for your level headed approach, above.

Awful pun Singing Flywheel. It’s only digital if the fingers get caught in the impression.