Help with a shed find

I have just bought a house and had a great surprise when I first went into the shed and found a Harrild & Sons treadle platen press. It seems the vendors had removed anything that they thought could be resold (so sadly most of the type is gone) but luckily the press was too heavy for them to move.
The press runs remarkably smoothly, considering the fact it’s been unused for years, but is missing some parts, but I’m not sure exactly what. At the very least it’s missing rollers and the ink disc. I’m aware that there are suppliers of rollers (though this does seem to be a more uncommon press) but I don’t know where to start for the ink disc. Does anyone have any advice on where to start, and what else may be missing.

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image: What is this?

What is this?

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Here it is running.

Very nice, solid press. You will learn a lot about it just by cleaning it. For an ink disk, unless you have a friend who can let you measure theirs, I would mock one up in wood and plywood, and modify until it is right. I have used a silicone mould to make a Devcon (epoxy with metal filings) copy of the teeth that are on the back of a ink disk.

The press is an ‘Arab.’ platen press, built by Harrild and Sons in Halifax. It’s difficult to see from these pictures what is missing. There are several people who restore these presses and who might be able to supply you with the ink disk. The full width ink duct is still in place. I would start with making space around the press, collect all the bits ‘n pieces, and then check what’s missing. Rollers can be made, that’s not too difficult and there are enough owners of ‘Arab.’ presses to supply you with information. Have a look at some of my pictures:
You can also check out British Letterpress website, where you’ll find a lot of information about the press.
Send me an e-mail and I’ll send the ‘erection instructions’ that were supplied with the press, as well as a scan of all the parts.

Hi - nice find, this press looks familiar it my have been sold by my Dad some years back. Where did it show up…?

Thomas you are wrong it is NOT an Arab press. It is a Bremner treadle made by Harrild and Sons who were based in London and Otley in Yorkshire. Most likely it was made in Otley where the Wharfedale presses were made. They came in several sizes - this a is a later one with a solid flywheel. Probably dating from 1910 - 1920.

The Arab press has a different mechanism, the Bremner is a clamshell Gordon type as opposed to the Arab which is parellel approach.

Thanks for the information everyone! This is near Westbury in Wiltshire. The chap who owned it was certainly printing between the 1960s and the early 90s, going by the notes and test prints that I found, though I don’t know how much of it was this press. There’s not much sign of him printing in the last decade at least.

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Harrild and Bremner were two different companies. Bremner made cylinder and platen presses in Otley, Harrild were a London print supplies company and sold Bremner platens such as the Bremner Art platen as well as presses made for them.

This is a Harrild, search for Harrild platen press.

The link is to a video by Happy Dragon Press produced when they sold their press which you might find useful.

Thank you Albion Press, I didn’t know Harrild and Son built other presses. And Platenprinter, I’ll check out the link. Anyway good looking press, worth restoring I think.

Great video, did learn something new again about Harrild and Son…

It’s a bit hard to see in the photo, but the treadle says “Harrild & Sons, Fleet Works, London”

I can see that video being extremely useful down the line. Thanks.

PaTrick at The Logan Press has one for sale-usually the photo links work—if similar, could ask for dimensions of missing parts, perhaps use originals to make patterns for casting replacements etc etc

scroll down to Harrild….

Harrild and Bremner were one and the same I have a Victorian catalogue. Harrild were the manufacturers with Bremner being their trade name for multiple items i.e. Bremner Stop Cylinder, folders etc etc.. They built at both locations.
The catalogue is about 1890. Dont just trust internet searches!

To confirm the Bremner-Harrild connection, here is a scan of a pamphlet cover. The Bremner part is an applied label to a Harrild cover, and the interior shows a Harrild art platen. Interior looks newer than cover, with Gill Sans as display type.

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