What the heck is this weird little press?!

I’m a sucker for small, old contraptions. I found this at the flea market last week and couldn’t resist it. It’s for printing *something*, but I have no idea what. There don’t appear to be any markings anywhere on it. The overall dimensions are about 12” wide by 15” deep.

The frame and main mechanism are cast iron, and keep the platen (for lack of better descriptor) parallel to the base at any position of the handle. There’s a wooden “deck” along the entire bottom. To one side of the upper surface is an old rubber pad that the press…er, presses against, and on the other side, there is a steel lid that can be opened to reveal an area underneath it.

Anyone recognize this thing, know who might’ve made it, or what it was used for?

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It’s a little press

Your missing the chase and the 1/4 rubber type that mounts to the handle mechanism

Anyway the upper pad holds stamp ink

Then you ink the form by pushing the handle up and then down onto your paper on the lower table.

Thanks for that info, @rmiller021!

So it was intended for rubber type? The only presses I’ve ever seen that used rubber type were children’s toys, something this isn’t. What do you suppose it was originally used to print? Ad-hoc handbills?

The dimensions of the printable area seem odd to me — about 4x8”.

Any idea what chase might fit it?

I wonder what else it might be able to be pressed into service to print …

you can print, whatever fits into a press that your ink will stick to.

You are also missing the little registration fence.

I was told by my friend that gave it to me it used rubber type, you could probably stick most anything in there. Given it’s setup to use stamp ink rubber makes the most sense.

He told me that they used it in hotels and such to make instant stationary/post cards etc with the current date printed on them.

But i can imagine they were used for a great number of things.

I took some photos for you.

Shot of my whole press, some photos of the chase and some others of the ink pad / registration fence area


It most likely was used in an office to date incoming items. It is very similar to this bill/check stamper and cutter I have, which uses rubber type.

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@ericm —
“you can print, whatever fits into a press that your ink will stick to”

Do you think that it would work for printing linocut bookplates (which is what I’d like to use it for)? I don’t know how much mechanical advantage that short handle would give, to apply pressure…

@rmiller021 —
Thank you for the fantastic photos! Those will go a long way towards my being able to turn this back into a useful press!

Have you used your press for anything?

@typecomp —
Thank you for the patent drawing and photo!
Any idea what was the box with the locking drawer was used for?

I agree with everything above. The querry about Linocut bookplates s interesting, but before anyone gets too excited, keep in mind the amount of pressure that would be needed to transfer your image area off of your plate onto what you want to have printed. This press is simply too weak to be able to create much pressure at all. I do have one very similar and would bet there were lots of various manufacturers making them.

You don’t even have a screw mechanism to amplify any pressure (as with a copy press), It relies on your arm strength. Rick

I waver between thinking the cutoff portion of check was stuffed down the hole—it looks like the hole was widened—or simply storage of type. This is actual contents as found. Was apparently from a utility company in Hastings, Neb.

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I have one of these but only a limited amount of type. Unfortunately, those selling the stuff on eBay aren’t interested in answering questions about the size (most is not the right size).

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