Unusual C&P pilot press — questions!

Hi everyone,

I recently purchased a C&P Pilot press from an antique store for $250! It has old rollers and a strange size chase, but moves smoothly and seems like it will be great after a little bit of love.

I just have a few questions. First of all, I have never seen a pilot press that has a wheel on the side like mine does. I can’t find a serial number, but I’m guessing this is a very old model? (The bed measures 7.5 x 11.5”, which I think is right for a pilot press.) Does anyone have any clues, or ideas for where to look for a serial number?

In terms of maintenance, I’m still learning the names of parts, so bear with me. First of all, the rollers are old and a little gunky, and one of them has some dents and cracks (pictured). Is there any chance these are usable for printing type, or should I just go ahead and get new rollers?

Second, since this has been sitting around for a long time, some of the parts seem almost gunked together. For example, there are pins for the rollers (roller frame pins?) that are impossible to get out and will probably just break if I try. Any suggestions?

Third, the chase it came with has interior dimensions of 5.75 x 9.25”, which seems different from the normal dimensions for a pilot press. Has anyone ever heard of this?

And finally, how do I oil this thing? Any suggestions would be very helpful!!

Thanks all.

I was not able to attach photos, but here is a link to an album where they are posted (hopefully this works): https://photos.app.goo.gl/JBUntGVmBDfos63Q6

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Image attachment didn’t seem to work, anyone know how to attach images here?

I don’t know the answers to your questions but will follow along. The linked album works fine.

it is easiest to take your pics in the lowest resolution to begin with. I resize them using my old “Paint” feature. File names cannot have spaces or special symbols. ([email protected]#$% and so on.) they must end in “.jpg”

The press is a Chandler and Price original series pilot press. They started producing them around the middle 1890’s, and stopped producing them in the early 20th century. I don’t think this is the oldest of the pilots, which have some pretty distinctive features. If you search through the forums you’ll find other posts. I’ll comment them if I have time to sort through.

I have no idea what the wheel is about. I don’t think that is something that came on a pilot normally, but who knows. It’s definitely not something I’ve seen.

I have a google doc for identifying older pilot presses, feel free to look through.



Does the chase fit on the bed and lock in place held by the hook at top? It certainly is strange to have that wheel on there, and the attachment of the handlebar is somewhat different from most pilots. There is no way you can drive the press with that wheel, so it must be some part of another machine that has been adapted as the holder of the bar and the wheel just goes with it. The press looks to be essentially complete, lacking the feedboard, but they are not difficult to make. The rollers are oversize for the trucks, so they will not give very good results printing, and they look swollen at the ends. I would suggest getting the cores recovered with rubber (Ramco Roller in California does very good rollers), and if you send them the trucks they will make sure the roller diameter matches. The press should give you good service and fun printing.

As to oiling, every part that moves should be oiled, but not overly. A few drops are plenty.


Following up, and reading your questions more thoroughly.

There are no serial numbers on the presses, only part numbers. You can date how old your pilot is by looking at it’s features. The oldest presses look more like a the CTF Standard Job presses.

I agree with Bob that the rollers are shot. Ramco or Todd’s Press Time will give you great rollers.

If you break the pins it’s no big deal. You don’t need them to print, and if you really want them, you can just buy that gauge of wire from nearly any hardware and make one.

You are missing the spring that operates the gripper bar, and the grippers. Also not totally necessary to print, but it does make your life infinitely easier when you do need them.

To repeat Bob’s comment. Oil every moving part. Everywhere you see a hole that leads to another part that is moving gets oil. When you’re finished, wipe all the excess oil away. non-detergent, heavier oil is good.

Here’s a photo of my OS pilot and chase. This press is not the oldest press, I’d say the second or third iteration of the parts. It does look very similar to yours. I’d say this is 1897. The chase dimensions are:

Outside Diameter: 8” x 11 3/16”
Inside Dimensions: 6 1/2” x 10”

It’s not unusual to find chases adapted to other presses however. The Old style pilots have a part number stamped into the chases, 228. Makes it a little easier to identify.

You lucky dog, what a press for price!, I think either the handle broke and that piece fit or the person was tired of banging knuckles so used as a spacer

Is there a weld on the handle to the wheel?

I am not seeing a any reason for a belt wheel on a Pilot other then looks interesting. I have a similar wheel on my Pearl 8.
I do have rollers in stock.

image: 9C1B1916-6E05-4C04-9A09-DCC0EFDE79C7.jpeg


The chase has a very old form locked in it—pre-area code for the telephone and pre-zip code for the address. That puts the type to the early 1960s or more likely the 1940s or 50s. It’s also strange that the one high speed quoin is on its side and the type form was left hanging unsupported on one corner. That one side may be wedged in because the person (s) didn’t really how to print. The type form itself looks like someone knew what they were doing but that other people just kept printing that one form.

Hey all, thanks so much for all of the collected wisdom! I will respond more substantially later tomorrow when I finish teaching for the day!

Hey all, thanks so much for all of the collected wisdom! I will respond more substantially later tomorrow when I finish teaching for the day!