Looking for info on Farley tabletop galley proofing press

Yesterday I found this Farley galley proofing press in Belgium, but I don’t know anything about it. Kan anyone tell me from these pictures how old it is and if it’s complete? Does anyone have pictures of this press in working order? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Today, when taking it apart I found some numbers: N2, 11-18 Maybe someone knows what this means?

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It does appear to be complete, as these types of presses are very simple indeed, just a roller, and a pair of bearings on each side of the carriage.

Luckily, this also means they are easy to take apart and clean. With a bit of elbow grease and rust-remover, you should be able to get this going again. Because of its size, I’d have the cabinet sandblasted if you have access to that, if not it is just more of the same procedure as the press itself to get it clean. The roller appears to be in need of new rubber coating. I’ve yet to get a roller like this recovered, but perhaps someone will chime in on what specs to ask for.

Chances are the press is galley-height, so you’ll want to get a plate to bring the bed to type high.

Good luck.

Roller seems to be in quite good condition now that I’ve cleaned it, and it looks like it doesn’t need a new coating. In the compartment sticking out of the cabinet (for ink rolling) there is a loose piece of metal with two small holes in it. They seem to fit on two small iron hooks at one end of the press. What’s it for?

Well, that is good news.

Do you have a photo of the loose piece? If it extends out to the side like a small table, it might be an inking surface for those who didn’t buy the accompanying cabinet?

Etablissements Plantin was a subsidairy of the Lettergieterij Amsterdam (i.e.. their belgium outlet). Looking at the sheet metal cabinet, and the label on the press, I would say a 1950s-1960s press. The loose piece of metal is hooked onto the end of the press and allows you to lock up a forme with quoins. When you take the piece of metal off, you can slide your type onto a galley.

John, Sir as you have already observed, FARLEY proof presses were made in Croydon, U.K. the plate on the Tinwork is irrelevant , stuck on by the suppliers at point of sale!!!
Virtually every commercial firm that ran Monotype used such presses to (first) proof up galleys of type from the Monotype, galleys from which were 4” 7” 9” etc but always exactly 24” long , there fore the bed on your press will probably be, 26-28 inches long, and probably 24” across inside the bearer rails.!!
There is already a milled step at least on one end for sliding tied up pages on/off.
Standard galleys are .045 Though thick, so you will need a bed plate close to that dimension, but that is not the best option, because with sustained use, even with light impression, printing blocks plates lino cuts etc the plate will in time warp and curl up, therefore, as regular galleys are pressed steel with substantial returns on the edges, BEG, BORROW, STEAL, (or BUY if necessary) just one.
Your Mr. Patrick Goosens, in Belgium has probably got a few Metric Tonnes for sale.???
You will almost certainly find inside the bearer rails, at one end or the other, fairly substantial recesses to accomodate a steel cross bar with sprung loaded dogs, to use as positive end stop(s) to position your galley or forme against, otherwise, hand inking and/or printing and the type matter will walk of the bed.
The bearings at the underside will probably have eccentric adjusters to take the play out of the carriage, fiddly to adjust but not rocket science,!!! and as re-greasing is also fiddly, the trick used to be once removed, cleaned with spirit, and then, in a can with grease in, immerse the bearings in the grease and gently warm up the can, just enough to allow the grease into the bearings, (i.e. bowl of hot water etc) Vaseline (Petroleum Jelly) is the best!!! .Good Luck.

I have one of these Farley pressess has yours got a dial at one end of the roller which raisers it to allow you to print type on a galley and then lower it to type high if you need to, mine also has a paper feed tray which hangs on the bar and allows you to feed paper into the grippers with a side lay on the tray, I have seen a few of these for sale but I have not seen any with this tray, I did not get a table as in your pictures. I have pictures from an old print mag I could upload but it is a bit late now I will try during the week if you want to see them regards John.

Hi John and Liz,

I would love to see the pics from the old Print mag, and within the next couple of days I’ll put up a few more pictures of the dial and the loose piece of metal that came with the press.

Hi John,
I am a friend of Patrick Goossens in Antwerp. He doesn’t have a Farley press but would be an excellent contact.
Your Farley is from 1950s/60s.
The press is the wrong way round on the stand (dial should face out). Be careful when you strip down that the discs on the roller with notches out of them are put back the same way. Each one is individually hand fitted and can be slightly different, so be careful.
That tip is from experience! Over here in the UK, Farleys are still around although less easy to find nowadays.
The presses are very easy to operate and maintain. Your full strip down and rebuild will give you a great press that should give years of hassle free printing.
I have some paperwork on the Farley, I could copy for you.
Best Wishes,

PS I recently sold one of these which had grippers. Yours either had them removed or was simply a lay on paper type of proof press i.e. the most simple form.

these are the pictures of various Farleys, mine is the same as the first 2 pics regards John

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there is one similar to yours on ebay uk at the moment it is not in letterpressess but under other architectural antiques, but if you put in 221320181501 in the search box it should take you to it, it has not got grippers but if you can read the spec sheet on the pictures you can have them with or without grippers, there are various pictures on the listing so you can compare with yours.

The National Print Museum in Dublin, Ireland, has a working Farley. It is used nearly every day.

John & Liz - looking at your sheet, it seems to have a weight for a Farley 12 of 1.5 cwt, but I can’t see clearly because of the shine on the picture. Could you confirm as I need to find something hefty to put mine on. Thanks!

JohnfromBelgium - ‘11’ probably indicates it is a Farley 11, ‘18’ may be the part number. I deduce this as my Farley 12 has ‘12-1’ on the base of the bed!

it reads nett weight 1.5 cwts approx., I have mine on an old office desk with steel legs, works ok, the one on ebay made over £600 I have seen farleys with grippers make £1200.

I must have had mine now for about 40 years, I was going to use it more when I retire but the firm I work for will not let me yet, I work a Heidelberg platen and it is used every day mostly for overprinting envelopes, die cutting and creasing and sometimes numbering, I still enjoy it so I will carry on, someone I worked with said I had 20 years of getting away with it, meaning as a printer, it is now 50 years of getting away with it I am hoping to make it 60 years, so good luck with your Farley and I wish you well.


Thanks John.
It’ll be a lot easier working with it when it’s off the floor!
Amazing quality these Farleys (amazing weight too).

Hi all,
I have just bought a farley press with grippers, but no feed table. Has any one out there got any close up shots of the table on its own ?

I know it needs a clean but here are some pictures,


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Thanks John,
It will be interesting to see if I can make something up that might fit the bill.

Thankyou for your time