Treadle for Old Style C&P 8x12

I am renting studio time at a non-profit art center that has an Old Style 8x12 C&P. The serial number is B2054, which I believe indicates it was made in 1907. It’s in fair condition but is missing the treadle as well as the brake. It doesn’t appear that it has been used often or maintained in any way for several years. One of the employees at the center told me they had a foot pedal for the press, but the part that he showed me looks nothing like anything I’ve ever seen on a C&P – does anyone recognize the item in the photograph? Since this is clearly not the treadle I was expecting, does anyone happen to have one for sale that will work with this press? I know I can get one from Hern Iron Works, but I am guessing that the organization that owns this press may not be able to pay a lot of money for a brand new one. As for the brake, I’m not sure that these models had them to begin with – does anyone know?

Thanks for the help!


image: pedal.jpg


image: C&P.jpg


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Doesn’t look like the image of the press loaded properly so I’ll try again:

image: Press.jpg


What you pictured is a speed control pedal for the variable speed motor that probably was used with the press at one time.

We made a treadle for a 12x18 C&P out of angle iron welded together. A bit crude-looking but quite functional.

image: C&P Treadle.JPG

C&P Treadle.JPG

What you pictured is a speed control pedal for the variable speed motor that probably was used with the press at one time.

We made a treadle for a 12x18 C&P out of angle iron welded together. A bit crude-looking but quite functional.

Sorry — I tried twice to upload the photo which I believe is properly named, though the system has underlined the .JPG extension. That is why the comment is repeated — and I could find no way to delete it.

Hern Iron works in Idaho sells treadles,best James

khardy76 & AdLibPress - Many problems such as the one you are having with the photos, are answered in the Help section which is a blue link in the gray area at the top of each page or go to .

“Why won’t my photos upload?” is addressed at the bottom of the first category “General technical questions.”

Hope this helps. - E

Its obviously the release for the bailing mechanism. It’s a rare part on the Olde Style C&Ps. Its useful but not required for normal operation. Mostly used while running cardboard or thin untreated plywood.

I think AdLib is right…There’s a picture of this item under the discussion titled “C&P 8x12 roller outer dimensions” very neat; my friction drive has a stand w/ a brass lever that you move to roll through the speeds. A foot version would be very neat. rh

The pedal is definately a speed control for a variable speed motor; I have the identical pedal and setup on my 10x15 press (see photo). AdLib’s photo didn’t come out: could you please try again? I’d love to see an example of a home-made treadle.



Front Room Press
Milford, NJ

image: 10x15 Speed Control Pedal Mounting.jpg

10x15 Speed Control Pedal Mounting.jpg

Thank you all for your help and photos!

I am now wondering whether the treadle may have been removed from this press a while back due to safety concerns, since it is in a studio that is used and rented by the public, often by people who are brand new to letterpress. It is certainly a lot harder to lose a finger on one of these C&Ps if you don’t have the treadle to get it cranking fast, and one hand is always spinning the flywheel (and therefore not getting smashed in the platen)…
So my next question:

Is it hard to disengage the treadle on these presses? Could the treadle be made temporarily inoperable when someone who is inexperienced is learning to print? Then easily engaged for more experienced printers?

Treadles are easy to disengage and remove from the press. It’s just hooked over the flywheel shaft eccentric. Run the eccentric to the bottom position and lift the hook off the shaft. The back of the treadle is attached to the shaft that the bed pivots on and should be held on by a couple of bolts. Loosen those and the treadle comes off.

I wouldn’t operate the press with the hook disengaged and the treadle laying on the floor. Too many chances for something to get caught in a running press. Either use it or take it off entirely.

I think a treadle is a safer (if nothing else *much* slower) than most motor setups for neophytes. Spinning the flywheel by hand is just asking for frustration and trouble. You need both hands for proper feeding of the paper. A student simply can’t learn proper feeding if they have to spin the flywheel, too. And proper feeding is the key to safely operating a platen press with a flywheel. If this isn’t an acceptable risk for you then get some Pilots or other lever presses and don’t use any press with a flywheel with the public.

I teach college students how to safely run a treadle operated 10x15 C&P OS. We begin by emphasizing that catching you hand in a closing press is VERY bad. Then we show them how to pump the treadle. This is for some reason difficult for some beginners who feel they should push down as the treadle is coming up. They soon learn better. Once they can start and stop the press while using the treadle we introduce the throw-off, and then finally we set up some gauge pins and feed in some paper without any type in the bed. I don’t show them how to set type or lock up a form until after they have mastered to my satisfaction the technique of proper hand feeding and use of the throw-off to recover from a mis-feed on the next go-round of the platen. I stand there to reinforce any good practices and heavily discourage any tendency to leave hands in the press when the platen starts to close.

It takes about two hours to get each student through this process. No one runs the press with type, ink and paper until they’ve gone through it to my satisfaction. High speed treadling is discouraged and most students are sufficiently intimidated by standing on one foot, treadling with the other and feeding paper in and out with both hands that they’re actively trying to go as slow as possible.

Treadling is quite a workout and beginners get tired fairly quickly and naturally slow down after a short while. I have many more problems with students going too slow to keep the press running than going too fast.

Hello Karen,
Have you found the Treadle for your printing Press?
If not, I have one, I bought it by mistake. I have a Golding Jobbler #6.

Hern Iron Works has never discontinued making treadles for the 8x12 Old Style, the 8x12 New Style, and the 10x14 Old and New Style presses. They are typically available from stock to two weeks ARO.

Best Regards,

Joel Brown
Hern Iron Works

Hello Joel,
I have bought a couple of Hern’s treadles for the 8x12 Old Style. The treadles are fantastic, but the hooks needed a fair bit of finishing work on the hook end in order to go over the shaft. Most have not had a flat surface inside of the bend. Is there anything that could be done at the foundry to make them be a bit easier to install? Most printers don’t have grinding tools. It’s be nice if you could test fit them over a piece of steel that is the same outer diameter as the shaft on a C&P before shipping them out.

Thanks for providing such an important service. There must be quite a number of presses out there running Hern treadles by now.

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Maybe I was in the minority, but all my hook needed was some filing for it to fit over the shaft. The hinge Pin was too short to fit my 8x12 OS (I must have an odd size frame) so Hern made me a longer one and only charged me for the shipping. Thanks Joel!

when I learned we were put on the presses right away, no treadle to figure out. The press was run at super slow speed, no type, no chase and it was set for no impression, we operated that way for several days, just feeding paper and getting accustomed to the rythum. I have never used one but seems that feeding and pumping a treadle would be awkward, kinda like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time???


Treadling a press and hand feeding it is no more difficult than peddling a bicycle and steering it at the same time. Easier, actually, since you don’t have to balance on skinny tires. Try it, you’ll like it.