I finally moved my Windmill!

I finally moved my 1955 Heidelberg Windmill 10x15 this past weekend. I purchased the machine quite some time ago, however, moving it presented some unique challenges. It was stored in the sellers garage which had a low clearance door, a long soft gravel driveway leading up to it, and a carport that prevented me getting a truck with a lift gate close enough.

Task one was to get the press off the ground and on to a pallet jack. I have two solid steel bars to insert into the base. Using two pallet jacks, one on each side, and some wood blocks, I lifted the press and slid some solid hardwood boards under the press to support it. The boards were smaller than the base of the press, substanial enough to support it temporarily. This allowed me to slide one of the pallet jacks into the flywheel side of the press, straddling the boards. Once pallet jack was in place, I lifted the press, and removed the boards. This allowed me to maneuver the press to the leading edge of the garage, basically where the concrete ends.

I was able to rent a pneumatic forklift from a local rental company for a reasonable price, with delivery ($179 total). Using the forklift and my own forklift extensions, I lifted the press together with the pallet jack. As I slowly backed the press/jack out of the garage to my flatbed trailer I hit a soft spot in the gravel. The forklift sank about 2 inches on the right, but the pallet jack did not slide on the forks and the press stayed put (Lucky). Fortunately, I was able to get out of the soft spot quickly, and did not encounter any others. From there, I lowered the press/jack on to my 16x8 dual axle flat bed trailer, just ahead of the front axle. I re-inserted the solid bars in to the frame, lifted the press and removed the pallet jack. After lowering the press, I now had it sitting flat on the trailer deck.

We used lots of 3300lb straps, and two 5400lb trucker chains to secure the press to the deck. I carefully covered the press with a tarp and stretch wrap, and set out on our 15 mile journey to my shop. After a couple of miles, we made a safety stop to reinspect the load before we hit any main roads/traffic. We had several long steep hills along the way, but everything worked out great.

I have a forklift at my shop, so we used the steel bars again to lift the press off of the trailer and on to the pallet jack on the ground. Then once again lifted the press/pallet jack combination into my shop.

The bids that I had received to move the press had ranged from $1200-$1600. All in all, it ended up costing me about $400 to do it myself. Granted, this cost me less because I already had a trailer, pallet jack, and forklift at the destination. My only real expense was the forklift rental & delivery at the origin, and I had to buy some chains & load binders.

All in all it went well, but I hope not to move the press very often. I’m really looking forward to servicing it and getting it into my workflow as a die cutter.

Any other Seattle area operators, feel free to give me a shout.


image: Windmill on the pallet jack.

Windmill on the pallet jack.

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Thanks for sharing the details of this move. There’s a lot of fear around moving letterpress equipment, but with the right equipment, and attention to safety, it’s quite easy to do.

For those that have never done it themselves, it’s very helpful to see how others have handled similar situations.

I’ve moved two linotypes and a press so far, and it just gets easier every time.

Great job!
I really like the fact that you did a safety stop. Most people don’t do that even if they are moving 50 plus miles. My rule of thumb is at 5 miles, then 30 miles and then every 100 till I get to the finish line.
Over the years I have moved several Linotypes, machine tools that weigh upwards of 20,000 pounds, steam engines, etc. If you take your time and THINK about what could happen and plan for that possibility, then there should be no surprises and no one gets hurt.

If anyone needs help in Iowa or surrounding states in moving chunks o cast iron, give me a call. If I can help out I will.


That’s a darn good price to hire a rough terrain forklift!

I struggled to envisage exactly what you were describing when you mentioned a pallet jack until I saw the photo. In the UK they’re known as pallet trucks or palletisers. Any jack here is usually a static thing e.g. a car jack for changing a wheel.

Glad all went well.

A darn fine job from all appearances, and I know you must feel relieved……like a great load has been lifted. I can identify, as I moved mine in just two weeks ago with the help of some friends and acquaintances…..and a hired forklift. When we had finished I thought we had been at it all afternoon, but it had been less than an hour. Mine was born in ‘52. I had hoped the serial number would, like yours, be a ‘55 which would make it and I birthday buddies of sorts, but it is what it is. I’ve clean-up work to do and am in the process of swapping out the 3 phase motor for a single phase which is in the works. I hope all goes well with you and yours……cheers…..db