My first two presses

I picked up my first and second press today and I am ecstatic. Two months ago at a garage sale I purchased a couple of vintage bikes and left my business card with the promise of more bikes. The call came and I dashed over to find only a couple of newer 70/80’s bike’s. The house was just about empty and I asked while walking by a room that has not been stepped in in years if there was anything else for sale, thus my journey begins…..this room contained approximately 25 type cases a printing press and assorted tools and related stuff. The man explained it was his press and that he has not used it in 40 years. I greedily agreed to the sale price with the thoughts of a quick flip. My first trip I picked up everything but the press. Lead is really heavy :( twice as heavy going upstairs. As I sorted through cases and touching the tools, type, and the smell was wonderful.. I was delighted that there was a Kelsey 3x5 model G to boot ( no rollers though) and quickly realized that through researching letterpress info that I pretty much have everything I need to print. I am so looking forward to getting my press up and running. I have enclosed some pic’s with the hope that someone can help identify for me. I will get some other pictures of the other stuff in a day or two

image: 8.jpg

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Looks like you have yourself a New Star Jobber made by the Kelsey Press Company, Meriden Connecticut. Page 267 of Harlold Sterne’s book, Catalogue of Nineteenth Century Printing Presses. The description says it was designed by George Prouty. Kelsey bought the rights to manufacture this press. Apparently it uses a 7 x 11 chase and it was only made in that size. Weight crated is 500lbs. It seems to have been treadle driven so that is the only piece you are missing. Looks pretty clean and has little rust, well taken care of. Of course you need rollers and trucks but take measurements and tell the roller mfg that is is a 7 x 11. Lovely find. Happy printing.


PS. Also the footnote says that Kelsey owns the Star and Star Press trade mark from 1870 and no other printing press can be so named. I don’t have a mfg date but would guess it may be pre 1900..


Beautiful find. It does look as though you have all the parts. You can probably get new or recover your old rollers at Tar Heel or NA Graphics. They both have Kelsey roller sizes I believe. I am puzzled by the L shaped metal strips with the quoins and chases. Don’t know what they are used for. Great collections of keys and composing sticks. I just checked Boxcar, go to and download the Kelsey manual. It will help in indentifying the parts and puttig it back together. It has a diagram of a floor model Star near the back of the manual. Boy, are you going to have fun. When you are up and running, you will have to post an after photo. Also, don’t forget to check Briar Press’s Museum page. They have a photo of a press like yours.

If you’re referring to the ones in picture 12, then those are roller bearers. They make inking life really easy. They lock in the chase at the edges with the overhang over the side of the chase. Type-high, they carry the rollers over the type. No worrying about the rails being worn. No adjustments of MERTS trucks. No slurring of the rollers over the type. But since they are type high they will print on the tympan if the tympan goes out that far to the edge. I just cut away the right and left edges of the tympan and packing. This is much easier than taping up your rails to get trucks/rollers to roll at the right height.

Great find! Good luck! Everyone else already gave the info I would have chimed in with.