Chandler & Price New Style vs Old Style

I’m looking to buy a Chandler & Price letterpress soon and I’m wondering what the differences are between a New Style and Old Style?
Which is more suitable for someone who is still starting out but eventually wants to use letterpress in a small business (stationery) setting?
Any bonus tips on things to look for/pitfalls would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks very much,

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The Old Series presses are more “antique” looking, with ornate castings. The New Series are more industrial looking, utilitarian, wider and easier to clean. I don’t know that there’s much differerence in the quality of the printing, but I think the New Series was designed with die cutting in mind. The Old Series presses tend to bring more money, but often, even they sell for very little. The smaller sizes are more popular than the huge ones.

As for tips, based on my experience with a few presses: I would avoid a press with heavy rust on the ink disk; missing parts that aren’t readily available; or breaks in the frame. If possible, print something with it. Cycle the press and make sure everything moves feely. Close the press and tug on the platen; if there is movement, there is major wear somewhere. Look beyond the initial purchase price. Most presses that have been sitting will need new rollers, which can cost $150 to $300 for a set for the 8 X 12 you bought for $75. If you want to use a treadle, look for a press with the original treadle. Replacements are available but they are expensive and may require fitting. Location is key. A press sitting on a loading dock or in an open garage is worth a lot more than one sitting in a basement with stairs. Moving can be expensive, and dangerous if you don’t have the right equipment and don’t have experience. Sometimes, presses can be obtained free, if you are willing to move one. Before you buy anything, shop around, ask questions and carefully consider how you’re going to get the thing home and into a heated room where you can use it year-round. Move it as little as possible. Each time a press is lifted off the ground, there’s a possiblitity that it will drop and become scrap iron.

I would recommend getting a press with a treadle. Mine has a motor with a speed control (which is great) but no treadle. It is such a hassle to spin the wheel with my hands when i just want to test a layout or something, especially because it gets my hands dirty. I wish that I had a treadle…

Thanks Kevin and Sarah! This really helps me out a lot.

Am I understanding correctly that you can have both a motor *and* a treadle?

Grateful for the help…

Yes, you can have a motor and a treadle. If you leave the treadle connected, it will go up and down as the motor operates the press. To avoid getting your toes smashed, it would be better to simply lift the treadle hook off the shaft. The treadle will still be there, but it won’t move. It can then be rehooked whenever you want to use the treadle.
Sara — You can still get replacement treadles. See Hern Iron Works on the Web.

Thanks Kevin! That’s what I’ll look for then.

Can the Old Style Press with the curved spokes do die cutting?


One good way to tell the difference is the flywheel. The Old Style has curved spokes and the new style has straight spokes. Hope this helps

Joel Brown

how much is my papper cutter worth

Who wants to buy my 10 x 15 chandler and price letterpress (patented on june 1899). This machine is a century-old stuff and a rare one….kindly email me at [email protected]