Pilot vs 8 x 12 strength/quality question

I understand that generally the larger the platen size, the better the quality/impression strength (in addition to other benefits, like being able to print larger!)

What I’m curious about is the difference in the abilities of a C+P press between a Pilot and an 8 x 12. Is it just a question of the size and thus printing area? Or does the general construction of the press result in better impression strength?

For instance. A pilot is 6.5 x 10. An 8 x 12 is only a bit larger, and a 10 x 15 still more. Is the difference between a pilot and an 8 x 12 going to be similar to the difference between the 8 x 12 and 10 x 15? Or are the larger flywheel operated floor presses just in a different/better class than the pilot, beyond just having a larger print area?

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i think the floor model presses are in a totally different class, table tops only have 2 rollers where floor models have 3 and sometimes 4, some have rider rollers which helps even more with inking.

Floor models will definitely be in a different class. They are far more substantial in construction and this allows for much greater and more repeatable impression strength.


It’s a question of weight = impression strength.

The Pilot is around 150lbs and the 8x12 closer to 1000lbs, a Heidelberg 10x15 1800lbs . The good engineering helps too.

It should be considered when you think of buying a machine that you are going to overstress it if you are going to do this heavy style of impression , where i would look for a machine to “print” and an 6x4 machine might do ok you will need an 8x5 solely due to the extremes of pressure you will put it under , similarly if you are mainly printing for instance letterheads or bills/reciepts you can fill the chase and be able to print that easily ,if you want to print huge solids in that area you would look for a machine that had an area of platen twice that of your print area in order to have sufficient impressional strength to print a solid job .
Using heavy impression on a job would be more stressful therefore you have to look to a bigger machine still .
As Dick g says there s not much comparison between tradles with huge flywheels and a lever handle tabletop ,
The flywheels put a lot of weight to the platen that on a tabletop just cant happen .
Table tops are good for doing table stands and business cards in runs of 250 but if you get longer runs then you look to a small treadle and progress as quantitiesincrease then machine size for multi image capability .
There is no reference to outlay ,how often are you going to run it ? lots of reasons why you have one or the other all are dictated on what you intend to do .

One of the primary differences (aside from heft and strength) bewteen the tabletop C&P and the floor models is that of basic design of the machine. The C&P floor model presses are built using concepts developed by George P. Gordon. In these machines, the bed is hinged near the floor and the platen simply tilts to near vertical while the bed moves forward. The long hinge of the bed allows it to kiss the platen almost square on, where the smaller C&P Pilot has a hinged platen which comes forward to meet the stationary bed. This makes a small change in packing cause heavier impression on the lower or upper platen area. The more straight-on action of the Gordon style press made it very popular in the late nineteenth century.

Thanks for the responses all. Peter, no reference to outlay because there are no more details involved in the general question I was asking.