Dismantling Historic Shop

Starting tomorrow, May 10, we will be cleaning up and removing equipment from the Silverton Standard newspaper’s historic letterpress shop. This shop has been inactive since about 1990 but has type and equipment dating as far back as the newspaper’s founding in the 1870s. The key items, like the Hoe drum cylinder press dating to the 1830s, the model 8 Linotype, and several case stands of wood and metal type will make the 3 block move to our local museum.

The owners of the building, the front of which is leased as a gift store selling railroad oriented items, want to sell the structure and the print shop is acting as a huge anchor. Items we will not be able to display include a Ludlow with mats, numerous linotype magazines, a stereotype casting box, 10x15 C&P Oldstyle press, a Rosback round hole pin perforator, the elusive Elrod, galley cabinets, several case stands of type and all the miscellaneous stuff needed in a shop. I will make sure we save significant items and the tools needed to make a realistic display.

The one item that will be offered for sale is a Vandercook SP-20 in beautiful shape. It needs cleaning and I will have the rollers recovered, and make sure everything works and so far I see only one LB-7 that needs replacing. This will be offered at market rates—it has seen no use since 1990 and this is the second owner. More details on this press later.

The balance of the equipment is being offered for free. Going to recycling will be a Davidson offset press, possibly a beautiful Peerless Gem Paper cutter—the museum staff is not too keen on having a blade any where near visitors—an ancient Miller saw, and other related equipment. The shop has so much clutter that only my memory of the shop tells me where stuff is squirreled away. We start tomorrow on cleaning the shop out as that is our local dump day, with moving the linotype and possibly the Hoe later this week.

Silverton Colorado is in the middle of the San Juan Mountains, which is to say in the middle of no where. Some of this equipment came from Friday Harbor, Washington, in the San Juan Islands, so moving this stuff long distances is within the realm of reality. I should have a more detailed list and maybe photos shortly if anyone is interested.

Fritz Klinke

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Fritz, is there any chance you would ship the ludlow matrix?

I would consider making the 3000 mile round trip as well if shipping can’t be worked out. Do you have any pictures or inventory of what matts are there?


I prob would take a galley cabinet or two, that is if Rob makes the trip and I can sweet talk him.

We start shortly to wade into the newspaper and presently all the Ludlow stuff is buried under stuff. When I can access it, I will get the machine serial number and see what the type faces are—there are 2 cabinets as I recall. I think we want all the Ludlow stuff to go as one unit. Our goal is a clean floor.

There is also a 10x15 Heidelberg platen I forgot about. It has been hidden inside a box for 26 years that served as display space in the gift shop. I think a donation of at least $250 would take that press, and I’ll get the serial number on that once we get to it. It is still hooked up to power.

All proceeds and donations, after moving costs, go to the Silverton Standard and the Miner paper which is owned by our nonprofit historical society. It may well be the only newspaper owned by a historical society in the US. See http://sanjuancountyhistoricalsociety.org/silverton-standard-miner.html

And since writing the above, there were 5 of us working all day on this shop—what an undertaking. Everywhere we looked were boxes and boxes of linotype mats, standing galleys of type, linotype parts, and stuff. I saw that the last job set on the linotype was one I did—the copy was still on the machine in my handwriting. That machine is now by the back door, next in line is the Peerless Gem paper cutter, and we managed to get the big Hoe cylinder broken loose from its location and in the morning it gets rolled to the back door. That press was last used in 1959—only 58 years ago. To get to one end of it was a small mountain of 5 gallon cans full of linotype slugs.

Fritz1, I also would be in on all Windmill stuff also.

We moved equipment out of this shop starting last Wednesday. We now have the Heidelberg uncovered, and it is serial number 100608. We have far more handset type than we can save and display, like 10 cabinets, so most of that is available, but not the wood type. There’s much that heads for the landfill in the weeks ahead if no one is interested, and my shop is already overflowing. I can’t absorb the linotype magazines, mats, and boxes of stuff. Shelving cabinets made out of oak went to the dump on Wednesday, and we have a free area there and pretty soon the shelving found a new home. Same with a pedestal foot operated stapler that a retired doctor found to his liking and off it went in the back of his pickup truck.

For a look at how we moved the Hoe, there are a bunch of pictures here:


When I read of doorways being too narrow, the simple answer is called a Sawzall and/or sledge hammer, but be prepared to fix things afterwards.

Great job Fritz. Silverton will be top of the list when next in America.
Shame you don’t have some ski lifts.

This week we moved more equipment in this shop. The Heidelberg platen is now accessible, the equipment we have saved for display is safely in the museum, and we have taken trailer loads of stuff to the dump. Uncovered yesterday is a Portland Punch, the Elrod, and Ludlow and 2 mat cabinets. Several people have expressed an interest in some of this equipment and I’ll be in touch with them. This link is to moving the Linotype, a model 8, from last week. The serial number, 56138, dates the construction of the machine to January to June of 1944. See:


All of the hand set type has been spoken for. We are saving one or two cabinets of type for display, including some very nice wood type.