Printing on onion skin paper?

I am waiting for an ebay purchase to come through:

(Onion Skin typewriter paper cockle finish 25% cotton, 9#)

My grandmother used this paper in the letters she typed out to us and I love the feel and crinkle of it.

Wondering if anyone has tried to print on this paper? I looked in discussion and only found it talked about as packing. Will I break through the paper?

I’m obviously too excited about this topic to wait a couple of days until the shipment arrives!


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You will want to print with a real hard packing and kiss impression. Pay particular attention to your makeready as an even impression becomes more important as the sheet thickness diminishes.

Other than that, there should be no real technical limits to printing on onionskin. In the very old days there was stock called manifold, which was meant for multi-part forms with carbon interleaves—which meant the stock could be as little as 6 lb. .

Print with a stiff ink, and you might want to slipsheet the job.
Hey Mike, whadda you mean, the very old days? As recently as WWII, we used a manifold sheet 7.25 x 12 inch + a 1.25 x 6 inch flap that was cut and gummed on an envelope machine. Printed with a red/blue alternating parallelogram border that bled on four sides. This sheet would take a couple of folds after the message was written on the inside, to make an envelope, 3-5/8 x 5-7/8 eligible for a special rate: 10c AIRMAI of course.
Quite collectable by philatelists nowadays, the messages inside are interesting and quite steamy with the real stories of World War II.
Paul Harvey says: “And now you know the rest of the story!”

Hello. Emily, when I started in printing the shop I worked in printed lots of onionskin usually along with regular letterhead adding copy running vertically in red outline type along left side.
Ted Lavin

What type of press are you using to print this project?
I have only seen one person print on Onion Skin paper.

It was on a Windmill and wording copy vertically down the left hand side.

The man, who is pushing 90, and I still talk to him at times, was a letterpress printer in Germany and came to the USA after WWII.

He ran the Onion Skin as if it was 20 pound bond.

Very funny story about this man. He was a in Germany Army in WWII, after the war, the only printer that would hire him was a Jewish print shop owner in NY City.

He came to Houston, Texas, and the only printer that would hire him was a Jewish print shop owner that printed many newspapers and books for the Jewish community.

I ask him many years ago, how did this happen, he replied, in his broken English, both men asked if I could run the Heidelberg presses. I said, yes, and they go to work.

The only thing that drove me crazy, when he worked as Heidelberg press for me, was, if the job ticket say 500 copies, he stopped the press at 500 copies, never one sheet over.

I asked him, why not print a few extra copies in case one of the printed copies wasn’t good. Never say this to a true craftsman. He said, You question, my printing?”

I love all the stories and advice, thanks everyone!


Oh yes, my press is a Sigwalt Non Pareil 6x9 tabletop.

Emily, just curious — what number does your Nonpareil have stamped into the bed at the top center?


AdLib - it is No. 25, forgot to include that, sorry. You can see the thread on BP helping me to identify it years ago. Many thought it was a Golding Official, but it is, in fact, a Sigwalt. All I had to do was buy new rollers and it is rolling after 40 years being tucked away. Love it! - this is the link to the previous discussion on ID’ing the press.