Help me identify my press

I recently acquired an old platen press. It is the same size(chase) as my new style 8 x 12 C&P but has the S shaped spokes on the flywheel.(and its considerably lighter) I am assuming it is a Chandler price old style, but I cannot find the name or serial number on it (still in the process of cleaning it though). Looking at the photos in the old Briar Press museum, I am wondering if it might even be an older Gordon Franklin. Is there any other place a C&P might have a serial number other than the upper left corner of the bed, and did the old styles have the name printed on them? If there are any identifying features that distinguished the two, any information would be helpful.
The press is disassembled at the moment, but I could take pictures of certain parts if need be.

image: side.jpg

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Looking at your photos, it looks like a C&P. If you don’t have a serial number on the bed there is another place to look. On mine, it is stamped into the shaft that the platen is attached to, under the feed board. The parts diagram calls it the main shaft, I believe. It should say something to the affect of Manufactured by Chandler & Price Company, Cleveland Ohio. It should also be on the name plate at the back. The piece held on to the rollers arms by 4 bolts. Hope this helps.

Actually, it may be an older Gordan. The throw off is different. If you don’t find a name or number at either place, it is probably at least 1880s model. Or maybe even a few years earlier.

Thanks, The only number or writing on the main shaft is a small 2. Yes, the throw off is very different from what I have seen on other C&Ps. The name plate on the back is just a flat piece of iron, no name whatsoever, and it is not rectangular like the new style C&Ps, it has a smaller rectangle cut away in the lower center, so it is like a sideways block C. Also, there is no flywheel on the right side, and I thought all C&Ps had at least the small wide flywheel. Is this incorrect?

Not all had the pulley flywheel. Earliest models that were only treadle driven did not. The shaft ends at frame. If you have Hal Sterne’s Book, Antique Presses of the 19th Century or something close to that title, there will probably be a drawing of this press. That sideways, block C should give it away to some of the really knowledgeable people. I will look it up when I get home in Sterne’s book.


I looked in Harold Sterne’s book, “Catalogue of Nineteenth Century Printing Presses”. It strongly resembles the Challenge Gordan on page 228. The pony Ink fountain re-enforces that too. Challenge made those and they fit C&Ps and other presses that were similar. It would have been 1888-1890. Does the front brace at the bottom have any evidence of raised letters? The photo shows Challenge Gordon in all caps as part of that piece. It also has a very wavy, chassis part in front of the bed supports. A very heavy, ornate press.

I found a better picture which I took right before taking it apart to get it in the front door. This one shows the throw off a little better. The pony Ink fountain says “new century, Wagner Mfg” on it, but I gather this is the manufacturer of that specific part. I still see no lettering anywhere on the frame, even on the front brace at the bottom where you indicated. Right above this, there is a set of holes on each side of the outer chassis part facing forward about halfway up the frame, maybe there was once a cross plate here that was a sort of name plaque, like the name plate on the back of C&Ps, don’t know what else these might be for. Regarding the “wavy” chassis you mentioned, it looks like a couple of crescents in line, leaving a point in the middle, pointing up toward the bed. You wouldn’t happen to have a scanner would you? It would be nice if you could send me a scan of the Challenge Gordon you mentioned.

I have to say that is a great press. You are fortunate to find one so complete. Both grippers, intact feed and delivery table, Pony fountain and counter.

I shot a digital photo of the page last night but did not like it. Slightly out of focus. With due respect to Mr. Sterne, I will post on my Flickr page tonight and send you the link. It looks very much like the Challenge Gordon. You will be the judge.

Thanks for all your help. I am anxious to see. I will post a few photos somewhere after I complete the cleaning process, and maybe get it into the new Musuem section coming this summer!


I posted two photos of the page at the address below.

I do not want to violate the copyright of Mr. Sterne so I will take them down in a few days. I hope you can tell enough to see if this is the model you have. Cheers.