Adana 8x5 models

Hi there,

I’m just about to purchase my first press and have decided on Adana 8x5. Looking at various E-bay auctions I noticed that the machines seem to differ quite a lot in their build. The most noticeable difference being in the front of the main body.
Could someone please help me make sense of these differences and of how the different models produced over the years can be identified?

(All other Adana buying tips are also most welcome! I’m still about to choose among Caslon, Adanashop and Ebay…)


Comments to photos (all taken from finished E-bay auctions):

Some of the presses seem to have a solid body - cf Adana_1 and Adana_2 attached.

In others (Adana_3, Adana_4), I think I can see two side panels and a central piece. Are these older machines? Does the different build have a significant effect on the strength of the press?

Another difference is the element marked as (2) in the last photo (Adana_4). The body of the machine is like Adana_3 but this bit hasn’t been painted red and is of different shape.

image: adana_1.JPG


image: Adana_2.JPG


image: Adana_3.JPG


image: Adana_4.JPG


Log in to reply   13 replies so far

As a Kelsey guy, I don’t have much experience with Adanas, but I am pretty sure that the roller arm in the last picture was a make-shift solution, created to replace a broken piece.
As for the solid vs modular base construction (if that’s what it is), it shouldn’t make any difference.

[EDIT] Looks like I was wrong, there was a model with a different roller arm design, and this just might be it.


There have been a total of three variants –

A two-part frame with each roller on an indi­vidual spring-loaded arm

A two-part frame with rollers held on a single, sprung T-arm

A frame in one part with the single, sprung T-arm

Hey Dudek,

Excuse the first post + positive comments..

I’ve just been through the process of buying an Adana 8x5, and ended up going with a machine from Stuart at Adanashop - and I couldn’t be happier. The machine itself has been really well restored and put together - including the custom paint job (this is sure to annoy the purists). It was shipped from Europe to Melbourne, Australia and arrived in one piece with no problems.

I chose Adanashop over Caslon as their price including shipping worked out cheaper for me.



image: adana_02.jpg


image: adana_01.jpg


Have one just like this from Caslon. Solid base model. You will find that it prints beautifully. Just level the bed to the platen and never touch the settings. I’m in tasmania and mine arrived in perfect condition too despite flying through the Iceland volcano smoke and dust! Nothing stops an Adana it seems

For a history of the various models and the dates of their introduction, see Bob Richardson’s “The Adana Connection” published by the British printing Society about 2000. The later models (mk.2 and mk.3) were much superior to the mk.1. The mk.1 is not very likely to be encountered as it was replaced by the mk.2 quite early on after the mk.1 exhibited a propensity to its base casting cracking in half. From very imperfect memory, the mk.1 was introduced around the end of the 1950s, the mk.2 replaced it in the early 1960s, and the mk.3 in turn replaced the mk.2 in the early 1970s. I believe that by far the majority of models produced were of the mk.2 but that the mk.3 is quite commonplace also, due to it having been manufactured into the 1980s, although annual sales figures crashed after the mid 1970s or so. I have a mk.2 and a mk.3 eight-five and both work fine. As I’m in the US on holiday at present, I can’t provide more details at present, I’m afraid.

The older models of the Adana 8 x 5 were built using two cast-iron sides, bolted together and closed at the front with a bend metal plate. As you indicated with no. 1 on your photo. Later models had the whole body cast as one piece. These are superior to the older models. The arms with the rollers varied as well, some older models had a kind of aluminium cover over the springs.

Anybody else pimping their 8 x 5, how about pink?
Had you thought about a Japanese copy of the 8 x 5 which are green?

Great to see a discussion of Adana 8x5 models! In the pictures from the op photo 4 is mk 1, photo 2 mk 2 and photos 1&2 mk 3. Both mks 1 and 2 used the two-part mainframe bolted together. I have not seen these snapped, but I have seen plenty of snapped mk 3 single-piece frames. It is useful for the frames of these presses to have a tiny bit of flex to relieve stresses, and this is easier to achieve with the two-part frames. The Japanese copy is very expensive, and reputedly not as good as the original because the frame is too rigid! In the end, with excessive force any of the frames (or other bits) can snap.

I have a mk 1 and a mk 3, and whether other differences between the models are important is rather up to the user. I think my mk1 is more solidly built than my mk3, but cannot prove it. I rather like the four independent roller hooks of the mk 1, which make removing the rollers easier, but the later system works well, and might make the press operation smoother. The mk3 with fixing bolts on the outside is certainly easier to fix to a bench than the other versions, which are fixed through a plate on the inside, between the two pieces of the frame.

All the varieties work fine, and much more important than which variety is its condition and cost.


Thanks, everyone. It makes sense now.

Anything else one should look for when trying to find a decent specimen on Ebay? I’m tempted by the auctions offering loads of extra gear together with the press. Is there a high risk something might go wrong with a press that looks good?

Free Presse, you made me buy that book. ;-))

Paul, thanks. This is really useful. That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking about - a solid cast body might actually be less capable of handling stress.

That’s a question! Extra stuff can be useful, if cheap and you need it, but will add considerably to shipping costs, and most of those sellers will be ‘collection only’. Much of the type sold in these extras will be rubbish: very small, battered and incomplete founts.

It can be hard to detect the difference between the e-bay sellers who just clean and respray an old press, and those who, like Caslon, take it apart, clean it, and make sure it all works. Make sure the seller includes enough photos so that you can see what is there and what is missing. Rollers are easily replaced, but having the trucks is useful, as they are expensive to replace. Make sure the press still has the laygauge and the two gripper arms and fingers. These are also expensive to replace. A relatively clean ink disk without damage, a rust-free type bed and platen are also good signs. Otherwise, if it is all there it should work, and even if unrestored and seized it can easily be make to work again. One advantage of the 8x5 is that as so many still survive spare parts are generally available.


In addition to ebay, eight-fives are frequently offered for sale in ‘Small Printer’ (monthly magazine of the British Printing Society), both with other equipment and without. Prices vary not only in relation to condition and amount of accessories but in relation to whether the sellers are looking for best price versus swift disposal (the latter often after death of a printer spouse) or are seeking a good home for the press. These factors can result in a wide spread of prices.

Hi Dudek,
Why didn’t you think to ask us? We purchased the Adana Company in 1987 and we know all about all of the machines and would be happy to answer any questions for you. We are still re-manufacturing them on the original production line and shipping them all over the world! Incidentally,we do not have a problem with competitors charging less for their products - they know exactly what they are worth! If you want a reliable machine that will print perfectly from day one, carries a year’s guarantee with a technical back-up service second to none with all the other bits and pieces that you will need for type or polymer plates, we can offer you just that.

Hi Roy,
Of course I did. Quite a while ago. Then I got back and you’ve already received my order (23.56mm mod). ;-))

Thanks for advice, everyone.