The Price of a Windmill

I am looking at purchasing a windmill Blackball. I have been looking at a couple and they seem to range in price from $1,500, some at the $3,500 dollar range. I have seen some with hot foil setups priced around $5,000. I have read that there is not a lot of difference (other than age) between the “Blackball” and the “Redball”

My question is assuming the press is in good working order, what would be a good price to pay for a blackball?

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What comes with the press?

Partslist page 15 T0276F, t0241 F, T 243 T0242F (all guides
Partslist page 35

Always so concerned what to pay for a press, if the press is solid and the tool board underneath the Press is loaded, the drawer to the right is filled, you have a press ready to go, maybe new rollers. I’ve seen presses snapped up for 5k which were stripped of everything removeable.

Location, parts, and all the accessories are what make a good Windmill purchase. Getting an oil pan with the press is nice too. Much of what makes a good deal is being able to go see the press your buying and see what else comes with it. Let’s face it: would you spend $3000-$5000 on something sight unseen?

A good suggestion for anybody wanting to buy a Windmill is to go to the Flywheel and Cylinder portion of Boxcar Press’ website and download the Windmill manual and parts book and study both to see what extras come with (or can come with) the press. With that knowledge, you can ask sellers exactly what comes with the machine.

I would be wary of the $1500 press as much as the $5000 one. Mine came out of a scrapyard for $500, and had nearly everything—though some twit stole the guides before I removed it from the yard. However, it came out of a shop I previously worked at, so I knew its provenance. Also figure $500 to get it moved any distance, unless you’re able to do it yourself.

whittenburg inc sell the older style platen with non lock out roller arms for $6500 loaded onto transport. the machine is stripped down and cleaned,then re assembled, anything that needs to be changed is changed, the machine is fitted with new gripper arms as a matter of course, the machine is register tested on and off lays and comes with a set of new rollers and the basic tools and equipment so that it is ready to print when you receive the machine, if you need any help or advice please do not hesitate to contact whittenburg inc, 6152120015, ask for Graeme, we are Heidelberg letterpress specialists, sales service and parts.check us out at

Heidleburg parts are very expensive, new set of grippers for a windmill $600 each back in the early 1970’s, that makes that 6500 price tag look better, i bet new grippers today will cost $1800 for a pair.

Heidelberg parts are indeed not cheap , the cost is immaterial in the scheme of things a heidelberg is a precision tool built to exacting standards virtually unbreakable if used correctly . Once given a good weeks looking throughits bits and sort out the worn from the recoverable and rebuilt with care one of these machines will go full out with no real outlay for five or six years before you right another cheque with more than two zeros before the point . any accident is going to be expensive if the gripper arms get a bang or you start up with a chase laying forward on the platen, not recommended.
You could buy a fully re con machine from the whittenburg crew ,all have there benefits and its down to you to choose are you going full production or playing in the garage ! There are differing returns ,the outlay comes back eventually but it covers your back with breakdown if you have arrangements with these companies to give you a labour free cover for a while or something , Its horses for courses as some say ! It is not a toy so they not cheap !

I really do appreciate the feedback!!. I would consider purchasing a professionally re-built unit but Tennessee is literally the opposite end of the continent from me, I think the freight may be almost as much as the press.
Oh and “the only bad horse I bought was with my heart and not my head” so I will take that lesson with me.

Forget about ball color, they can be changed easily. Try to avoid a press made before 1950 (Ultra Heidelberg)

The best presses are (Original Heidelberg)
1950-1954……………….Good if in good shape.
1967 or newer………….Good but when they put on lock out rollers, they also started using aluminum and plastic for some of the parts……..not good.
If the serial # no. is over 100,000 it is a Original ‘54 (Best).

I think for the exercise just be sure that the end of the roller arms have the bearing fittings on the ends not the old fashioned no ballrace fitting!

I have a very clean Black Ball windmill for sale, I can be contacted by email: [email protected] if you are interested.

A red ball has a neat feature on it that the black ball doesn’t and it’s a knob you pull so the sheet stays close to the platen. It comes in handy a lot. The knob is directly below the suction tripper knob.(the one you push or pull to pick up a sheet)