There’s not a decent C&P to be had in this country

I have been receiving some information from different people who have replied to a previous request. This statement was made to me today by someone who has been in the commercial printing business for over 40 years. He says that he has not seen a good one for years, that most (c&p) are worn out and only good for refitting as cutters and something else (don’t remember) what. He also, said that they are expensive to fix up and most of them don’t leave a good impression because the cam gear wheels tend to be bad - sorry I was writing it down fast when we talked. Does anyone have an opinion on this? He did not seem to think that the effort was worth it.

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My C & P Old Series was made in 1906 and it still prints great. To test before buying, close the press and pull hard on the platen. It should be absolutely solid. If it moves, there’s wear somewhere.

Thank you. I suppose that there are good and bad experiences. I hear many of the good, and some of the frustrated , but this person was the first to tell me something that sounded so bleak. I’ll try and stay optimistic about it - and just file his comments in the “advice from old curmudgeons” folder. Maybe that’s not the right word, but something like it.

Leslie, Those are interesting comments. I also have an old style 8x12 from 1901 that is still tight and prints well. The tracks were worn but it doesn’t cost an arm and leg to remedy. If you do your home work; read about what to look for, loose fitting and welded parts are bad, you can still get a good one. I am working on another OS 7x11, circa 1909 that is barely worn.

They are out there and sometimes for not a lot of money as long as you can get someone to help move them. Certainly a lot less than the two C&P Pilots that sold for $1500 each yesterday and way less than a Vandercook. Good luck and be patient.

Leslie — If you get to the point of looking for a press to buy, let us know what part of the country you’re in. I know of two nice New Series C & P 8 X 12s here in Indiana that can be bought, cheap.

My 10x15 C&P oldstyle press was manufactured in the 1890s, is more than 100 years old and still does a beautiful job of printing. One of the keys to good printing is a good set of rollers, using adjustable trucks. I have two C&Ps and both are good printers. One must check to make sure the bed is level. and that is a simple matter. The fellow who said C&P presses are no good probably had a clunker which was used for heavy die-cutting for many years and never oiled. Like any machine, a press does need lubrication.

Thats silly. You just have to keep loking for a good one.

I agree. Good ones are still out there
I think The older they are the better their built !!!!


The condition of a C&P is directly related to the amount and type of service it has performed. Frankly, as a hand-fed press, there are far fewer impressions on any C&P than most still-in service Windmills or Kluges. Sure, I have seen worn presses - especially those that had been used for die cutting or in a high-production city print shop. But in my experience, the majority of the dozens of C&Ps I have encountered over the years are still in good shape and, with a little tlc, some good rollers and plenty of proper oiling, they will do an excllent job.

It’s true that a good test is to try and rock the platen, but my means of testing is a little bit different.

I would recommend *opening* the press, laying ones’ forearms across the platen, grasping the far edge tightly and seeing if you can make it rock by pulling upward with the hands while pressing downward with the elbows. That will test the rocker bearings - the most important ones related to impression and image quality as well as the cam follower inside the large gear on the right.

Aside from wear on those large rocker bearings, and a worn or broken cam follower, if a press has been kept clean and oiled - and not stressed from die cutting or overpacking or broken in a crash, it should print well for another hundred years.

I’ve been running my own 10x15 hand press for forty years and it performs just as well now as it did when I was 17 years old. Of course, anything over 500 copies has always been run on my Windmill, but that’s the point - in the past 70 years, very few hand preses were overused….

- Alan (an old curmudgeon on the other side of this argument…)