Brower ball-bearing proof press-help please!

This is a very lovely & in pretty good condition press. I’ve cleaned and oiled everything I can find and removed the old cut-to-shreds tympan- but I’m still finding it very difficult to turn the arm. Difficult in that when i try to turn the arm the press jumps a little off it’s feet. I can’t see that anything is out of alignment- should I remove the arm and try to get in there? Has anyone used this press? I can’t find a manual anywhere. Thank you!

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That press seems to be pretty rare these days. An internet search only seems to bring up copies of old ads for the press and no references to currently used ones. It’s also not a model I’m personally experienced with, but I may be able to offer a few possible options.

Does the cylinder turn at all or is the press completely seized? If it can turn, is there any noise like grinding or sliding coming from the press anywhere? It kind-of sounds like those lauded ball-bearings may have either lost their grease or become worn out and seized. They may need to be removed and either repacked or replaced (assuming the size is still available).

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press

Thank you for your input Michael- but it’s not the ball bearings. They are in great shape, cleaned and lubed. I wish that was the issue- i removed the entire set- cleaned and greased the trench for the bearings and then replaced them- it was very simple. The cylinder does turn- and don’t hear and grinding and or sliding- its just very, very difficult. I searched for a manual on letterpress commons, the library, everywhere I could think! I don’t want to take the machine apart any more than I have to at the risk of wrecking something- i know these things can be temperamental. Is it possible that the cylinder requires a more intense cleanup? I don’t want to replace the tympan until I know it will turn. Thank you again! I know it’s difficult without being in the same space and time with a object.

Is there any kind of mechanism for adjusting the bed height? It could be that it’s been pushed up tight against the bearings and things are binding. Can you post pictures of the press? I might be able to spot something.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

I hope these are useful- the site has flipped a few of them- not sure why. i tried reloading them right side up but no good.

image: press2.jpg


image: press5.jpg


image: press4.jpg


image: press6.jpg


pictures part 2-

image: press8.jpg


image: press7.jpg


I took a video- you can hear the bearings clearly-
It’s very difficult to turn the cylinder past this point.


It looks like it’s bogging down when the top of the bed enters the space under the cylinder; in your last photo, there appears to be some buildup on the flat ‘rail’ on the top edges of the bed; does that stuff scrape off? (a razor scraper works the best for that kind of thing)

Also, could you post a photo looking at the mechanism supporting the ends of the cylinder as seen from the side of the press? It’s sort of visible at the bottom of press6.jpg, but it’s hard to make out details.

2 possibilities, Perhaps? in ypur shot (2) although you state a lot of hard work with the ball bearings, and the down-hand tracks to view, is it possible that a foreign body has been picked up by one ball bearing and is impacted into the underside of the bed/rolling track.?
Again from shot 2 is it worth a minute inspection, tooth by tooth of the Teeth on the Cylinder, & the Teeth on the track, even a comparitively small foreign body can cause the “jump”
I.E. on H/berg Cylinders and other M/c,s when a sheet has gone around the rollers, and the minder has`nt hit the stop button quick enough, or the odd Die Cut punch out falls in the rack, just a tiny piece of Thin Card or Art Paper compacts into the Rack under the bed, and can and has ended up as hard as a piece of steel, implying B***** difficult to remove.
I have spent time with a small purpose shaped COPPER?? chisel, fixing exactly that. (on overtime at Time and a half, of course.)

Just Possibilities, for checking.! . Good luck.

Another possibility: Has the cylinder been removed, is it a timing issue? When we’ve moved and removed stone offset litho flatbeds and some proof presses the cylinder has to go on at a specific point to get the timing for say grippers or in and out of impression. When the cylinders are removed a mark is made on both the cylinder and track its removed from. Its possible this is why the press is lifting as the teeth are out of sync as it were. Just another thought like Micks above.

Here’s a random thought. Are the balls replacements and perhaps slightly overlarge? That could push the bed upward just a hair more than originally intended and cause binding. Just a odd idea that struck me looking at the pictures.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

Where are you located?

There was one of these presses in an antique store in Chicago about a year ago. I don’t know if it is still there. I have never seen a manual on these presses, just advertisements.

Also, can you post a closeup photo of the upright that holds the cylinder, down where it connects to the base? It looks like there’s some kind of adjustment mechanism there, but I can’t tell from the photos so far. It may be the cylinder is too far down and causing binding that way.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

A few crude observations from afar, have you inadvertantly, replaced the Bed 180 degrees out of Sync. As you imply you have removed replaced lubed All the Ball bearing, you must surely have had to remove the bed to get at the ones in the middle of the track(s), by the same token the bearings must be the correct size to fit in the Carrier Cage, Possibly.?
Presses similar in construction seen in U.K. normally DO NOT reach the point where the Cylinder, leaves the BEARER rails behind, The cylinder leaves the Rack/Teeth behind but NOT the bearers, perhaps a liitle close investigation will show that (as per the video and miniscule movement of the cylinder) it has dropped and can not climb back up on to the bearer(s)
With only the barest of details, Shots,! surely the bed Rolls on the ball tracks, fixed in time and space,? the cylinder is born by the Bearers, driven by the built in rack, may disengage for the run out, on the Plain part of the bearer,s.?
It is NOT exactly a Two Rev machine where the Cylinder has to lift for the return traverse of the bed.??
If this post is seen as rubbish, apologies, but is based on a Misdemeanor, from Apprenticeship days, (Childish but who can stand in judgement) I.E. with a press similar but used as a proof press, silly trick but seemed a jolly jape at the time, stuck a whole reel (40 shots ish) of Toy Cap gun caps to the Rearward bearer, of the Press, caused a near riot for the first comp that “Bought It* >>Up before the Clicker, big rollocking,, threatened with loss of pay, on 2 counts, A, scaring The Comp involved, & B, allegedly damaging the press, by putting foreign body between the cylinder and the Bearer Rail , + It Was entered in the Minutes of the next Chapel Meeting.
Sussex Printers, Glorious downtown, Eastbourne, U.K. `57..

agree with previous posts, bearer rails and cylinder bearing surfaces covered in gunk. I don’t see a lot of grease on bearings and in the ‘trench’ but maybe that is me…have you checked the corresponding slot in the bed above that the bearings run in? Someone could have tried to print with too much pressure and damaged these-ball bearings look suspiciously new(or you have done a super job of cleaning them) also is cylinder in its bearings fairly ok ie not loose in its bearings? Gear teeth could do with more work on cylinder and press structure? Unable to work out when cylinder engages with bed fr register-intresting, good luck.