New Heidelberg 10” x 15”

Hello, I have just come across a very good opportunity to purchase a second hand Heidelberg at a really good price. I have always been a fan of letterpress, but have never had the time to learn more. I would really like to know if i am being over ambitious to purchase such a machine and try to learn how to use it on my own. There are no courses in my country and its sadly lost any appreciation here! so i am going to try to salvage this one, as i also found out that the same person threw away other good machines … i could cry !

I would really appreciate some expert advice on whether this would be a worthwhile adventure or if its not worth the time, energy and money to dismantle it from where it is now and transporting it to a new place (which i still have to find)


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You dont dismantle one of these really ,only remove the feed board and delivery stanchions .unless you have the lifting eye in which case you remove none of it ,oh and the feeder arm ,pile sensor ,we remove the grippers in case of mis haps but you normally move them whole , on a pallet of substance , reason being that dismantled makes no difference to the handling and 90% of its weight is in the lump anyway , i advise only remove that wich protrudes to reduce damage risk , the rest is best left intact .

Just out of curiosity, where in the world are you? And what is the price asked of the press?

Yes, I’d like to know this info too. Maybe someone on this site knows of another letterpress printer in your country.

That person’s profile says Malta, which is an island by Italy.

You’ve heard no doubt, of The Maltese Falcon…? Or perhaps the quaint little meeting that Roosevelt, Churchill & Stalin had some years ago at the outset of WWII…?

…………The Maltese Cross, a country coloured pink on an Atlas from a time when we mattered in the world, has typical Mediterranean road drivers, they like eating rabbit and pizza……..

Well you know the old saying.”how do you make a Maltese cross”??

@ girl with a kluge – thank you for the geography lesson. I’ll not make the mistake of overlooking a profile again.

@lmamo – you may want to contact the Museum del Carattare e della Tipografia (near Venice, I think).

They may know of a shop in Sicily or the south of Italy that could provide information/instruction to you. It may be worth a ferry trip for you to go.

As far as dismantling the press, I agree with Peter Luckhurst’s comments.

Good luck!

@Peter I wish I did not have to dismantle the machine at all, but the only way to get it out of the place where it is now would be to dismantle is since there is a long narrow allow out to the street. An Engineer will be doing this for me and they have done this sort of job before and the company has come highly recommended, so I will have to take the chance if I do need to get it out. I am actually hoping that the building where it is now can be rented to me, but it seems like that is a whole other story now.

Malta is a small (a group of 3 small islands) south of Sicily. Thanks for the geography and history lesson.

@c_hersom thanks for the link… i will look into it
It would be lovely to go to Venice again, but you still need to take a plane… its not that close :)

I am doing some more research on more machines here in Malta, most of which are no longer in use and many of which, to my great and deepest sadness, have been sold for parts or just melted :(

The previous owner of this press has kindly offered to show me how to use it, so that will definitely be a starting point.

if anyone has any other advice/suggestions about starting out with this kind of machine, it would be greatly appreciated.

Imamo -

Get the Heidelberg Windmill Operator’s Manual. It’s the absolutely the best book on the Windmill. I’ve been running mine for 35 years and still go back to the book now and then to refresh my memory on features I don’t use regularly.

And, even with training from the current user, having the manual available as a reference will be invaluable to you.

I do believe that the complete manual is available online as a .pdf file somewhere. But it would be a long download and would take a long time to print. I believe an original manual is available on eBay right now for about $35 or so.

I have trained perhaps a dozen operators on use of the Heidelberg. The machine is so well engineered and so well built, that learning to use it - especially with the help of the current owner - should not be too tough a goal to achieve. Just go slowly, think a lot and stand back while the press is running.

Keep it clean; keep it oiled; keep good rollers on it - and keep them properly adjusted. I’ve run mine for 35 years and it was old when I got it - but it has required almost no service in those 35 years.

The Windmill is a fine press and ties with my Vandercook for convenience and quality of work it can put out. Plus, it feeds itself!

Alan, its more like 45 years running windmills, and i bet you have to refer to features you use regularly also.

Here are the links to the manuals. You can find more here:

You guys are so helpful! thanks!

@Alan i cant wait to get it really… and i have never used one before but am so excited to learn. I really appreciate your encouragement. this machine is already about 40 years old and its still a beauty!
I will look into getting the book, cuz you are right, it would always be helpful.

@girl with a kluge - thanks for link! much appreciated

Re the issue of moving the press…. I am meeting the owner of the buidling where the press is at the moment, if the rent is suitable for our budget, we will be able to leave the press there and not have to dismantle and move it.. which i am hoping for!
The best part is that the building is a historical building so I am hoping to try to get some help in restoring it and making it a place where people might want to visit….its a pretty big project i’m getting myself into …. I just hope it works out !!