What are these?

So, I bought a Golding & Co. Pearl No. 3. It came with a drawer full of these. What are they?

image: Screen shot 2011-09-20.png

Screen shot 2011-09-20.png

Log in to reply   11 replies so far

Old-fashioned Quoins, with several keys. They are quite useable, but generally avoided as archaic.

Quoins and quoin keys

put 2 of the toothy pieces opposite each other, key fits inbetween the teeth, turn key and teeth tighten form.

Might be wrong as never seen these before.

That what these are:
Quoins and quoin keys

Printing Penguin is right you put 2 of the toothy pieces opposite each other, key fits inbetween the teeth, turn key and teeth tighten form.

Do not know why the person has so many so a small press. You should only need two or four for a type form.

Not good to use on letterpress equipment that runs fast, as they will become loose.

Great for hand feed press at a slow speed of about up to 1,000 impressions per hour.

That was fast! Thanks everybody. There are about 80 pieces in the drawer and just 4 keys.

Here is a photo of the variety of quoins and keys. Only one of them has writing running in the other direction; ninth from the top.

image: QuionsAndKeys.png


Congratulations on the Pearl #3 and the very nice quoin collection — you have about 3 times as many different brands as I do after 40 years! You were also lucky to get the drawers for the Pearl — I assume that is where the quoins were. Quick, join the PearlRestor Yahoo group!


What a nice collection, Randi! If they were mine I’d derust them, oil them to a nice sheen, and mount them in a shadow box to display in my studio. You certainly don’t need 80 for printing!


Ditto Barb’s comment. You only need two or three sets to work with. Aaron was correct also that they do have a tendency to loosen on longer runs. That’s why they were replaced with High speed quoins. Some of the ones you have are scarce and the keys are too. Hold on to them and display them as a collection.

Thanks! I’m very excited to clean it up and get it running.

Bob, the Pearl does have it’s drawers, and that is where the quoins were stored. The top drawer doesn’t have a back piece, though. But that should be an easy fix.

I’ll be going through the quoins and picking out what I’d like to keep, the rest I suppose I will post in the Briar Press classifieds. Let me know if there are any you’re interested in.


Best kept to the composing and proofing department very pretty to see them these days . i have a couple but only because i not scrapped them . I know them as hemple keys and in my career never seen them in use too dangerous . they were used after wooden wedges went .

I worked for a small weekly newspaper, they would lock 2 newspaper pages in a chase using hemple quoins, then the chase was slid across the floor and lifted into the press, which was a flat bed press. Dick G.

Hempel and Challenge quoins are not dangerous, and if they loosen it’s because they were not placed and tightened correctly. I have used them for wood-type lock-up for 35 years because they have better point of contact lock-up, with a wider compression range. They do tend to wear out, and when the teeth become worn or damaged they should not be used. This also goes for the keys used to tighten them. In principle they are the same as High-Speed quoins, just not encased in a metal jacket. If you intend to use them, you might want to keep enough for several lock-ups. I’ve seen much more damage to type and chases from High-Speed quoins because it is harder to judge how much total pressure one is applying.