Identify this Kelsey?

I acquired the press pictured and only know it’s a Kelsey. I can’t seem to find any other identifying marks on it. Can anyone tell me what model/year it might be? Or where on the press that info might appear? Sorry for all the extraneous background in pic—I can get a closeup and post later if this one isn’t adequate. Thanks!!

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It might be a Kelsey Victor press. I believe they where the only Kelsey presses that used the side arm.

Nope, it’s not a Victor—see the briarpress photo here:

A few more detailed shots would help…especially a side view!


daremo1971 and maydaystudio - thanks for your postings. I will get some better shots. I think daremo1971 may be right about it being a Victor, after I got your email, I searched the Web and found a photo that looks similar here:
But now here’s a complication. I’ve now discovered an identifying plate on the press with Japanese symbols! The only English part says: Makisc P.MM.M. Co. Ltd Chiyodaku Tokyo Japan. Aaaaakkkkkk!!!! Does this mean this beautiful cast iron antique press is not a Kelsey—or is a reproduction? Or did Kelsey in Connecticut ever have a Japanese company make any of their presses?!!

Nope—It’s not a Kelsey at all. Don’t be fooled by the stirrup handle.

Take a look at this post:
and this one:

The briar press archives—and museum, for that matter—are pretty easy to search. It never hurts to do a little research!


It does look a bit like this press which comes up under Kelsey on the Briar Press search, though the lever is different:

There is a mention of the Young America in the text found here:

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

This is certaninly NOT a Kelsey. Kelsey sold presses to
Japan but as far as I know never had a dealer (anywhere) nor any manufacturing done outside of Meridan, CT. This is more likely a Japanese reproduction of the early C&P Pilot. Craftsman built C&P clones in New England - even an aluminum model. Many presses were copied and made in Japan over the past hundred years or so. S.E. Asia’s full of them. I once saw a Gordon press in Saigon that was made in Japan. Adana filed a lawsuit against a Japanese group who who decided to make their own Adana-like presses locally after Adana stopped building there’s in England. Nothing wrong with it, but if you found Japanese markings on the press… you decide. But, on the other hand, if it’s a good copy of a popular press, that could be a benefit to you.

BTW - the “Victor” name was used by a number of manufacturer’s - Kelsey, Craftsman, even the “Victor Press Company” itself. At the turn of the century, there were many copyright infringements of all types. I have three Victors in my collection and I can assure you that none of them came out of Kelsey’s production facilitiy. Frankly, their design and construction is superior to anything Kelsey ever made.

Let’s see some more photos. I’m leaning towards a Japanese copy of the early C&P Pilot design. It certainly has some C&P features - and NO Kelsey features that I can make out from this photo. That stirrup-style handle was very common. What do the roller arms look like? And what is that piece in the center front?

Alan Runfeldt
part-time restorer of old presses

Thanks all, for your input on this press. I’ve got a few more photos up now, so if you’d like to offer any more guesses, I’d appreciate your thoughts! Press has a Japanese name plate (Makise), so, yes, it appears to be a Japanese copy of ??? . I am looking to sell it (along with the 24-drawer Hamilton oak cabinet), but I’d like to try to ID it first so I can represent it accurately. Thanks.

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Please see more pics added to Dec 6 posting of the press I’m trying to identify. Thanks!

Well, these photos are definitely helpful, but I must admit that I am stumped. I see a lot of C&P and Victor engineering concepts incorporated into the design, but that curved arm (Golding influence) is uncommon, and the center-post gripper drive is uncommon as well. Kelsey used a center-drive spring, but with a much different design. C&P & Victor both used side-drives for their gripper arm actuators. heck I can list a dozen presses that this is NOT, but I’ve never seen one quite like this.

Hey - How about a close-up of that name plate? Maybe we should be asking someone in Japan about this press.

I’ve got to concur with Alan….. while it is an interesting press, it’s not a Kelsey Victor. I’ve got dozens of Kesley, Victor and related catalogs and advertisements going back to the 1880’s…. and a rather complete listing of all their machines. This one doesn’t appear in anything I’ve got. The mechanism look more like an adaptation of the C&P Pilot to me, too.

However, it does appear to be a well-made machine and so should fetch a decent price in the current market.

I just realized where I’d seen those characteristics before. I’m guessing this press is derived from, or a knockoff of, a F. M. Weiler tabletop press. He made a couple of different models, one called the American, some of which had a straight handle, and another model with a similarly curved stirrup handle (both pictured in the Briar Press Museum). The American has the circle in the side frame behind the bed like this press. Erik Desmyter in Belgium has more information about the Weiler tabletop presses which he found while he and I were researching the Liberty for an article that appeared last year in the PHS Journal.