Equipment of The Excelsior

Chandler & Price
Platen Press
Made in Cleveland Ohio from ~~ 1884-1964

8x12  ~  10x15  ~  12x18  ~  Pilot
oiling the press  ~  ink disk striker repair  ~ 
Moving a Press Safely ~ other relevant links
C&P Serial Numbers - (.pdf)

note: The information provided below comes from authentic, original Chandler & Price documents and refers to the New Series Presses, which replaced the Early Series presses between 1911 and 1914.
C&P ceased production in 1964, but their presses are widely in use today, albeit in museums and personal print shops more than in commercial operations as they were for 80+ years.

Many presses have been disassembled, repainted and fully restored, although many more were simply given a new set of ink rolers, cleaned and oiled and put back into reliable service - 
some as much as 134 years after they were originally manufactured.
The distinctive "clack-clack-clack" sound of their rotating ink disks can be heard in print shops to this day.

Chandler & Price 10x15 Hand-fed Platen
It is our estimation that nearly every print shop in nearly every town in the entire United States at one time had at least one printer operating a Chandler & Price Platen Press.

There are many still sitting in basements and garages - and in need of rescue or sale at a reasonable price. Restore C&Ps sell for upwards of $1,000.

Mr. Chandler & Mr. Price joined forces during the 1880's and decided to enter the growing market and build a platen press.

They bought George P. Gordon's patent, Henry H. Thorp's engineering designs,  and began to manufacture the Chandler & Price Gordon Platen Press - the most prolific of all platen presses built by the longest-lasting - and in fact, the last American company to produce a hand-fed, flywheel-driven platen press.

Although Thompsons, Colts, Goldings and Heidelbergs may safely impart more impression* than the Chandler & Price, the engineering that went into the venerable Chandler & Price commercial free-standing platen presses lead the company to claim that their presses were "strong, reliable, simple" - and had proved themselves, beginning in 1887 to be the most profilic, and ultimately the last remaining manufacturer of hand-fed commercial, motor or treade-driven platen presses.

1897 Advert by Chandler & Price
1897 Advertisement touting American Type Founders order of 160 C&P Gordon Presses - with 7,500 already in use.
Interesingly, they used Gordon's popular name, but H.H. Thorpe's evolved design.

* Heidelberg claims 40 tons of pressure is applied during impression on their 10x15 Windmill.

                  Chandler & Price Platen Press Specifications

                  Chandler & Price Platen Press Specifications

                  Chandler & Price Platen Press Specifications

The Chandler & Price Pilot Press ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

Chandler & Price Pilot Press - 6 1/2 x
                        10"The 6 1/2 x 10" (chase size) Pilot was designed and sold as a press for small job short-run printing in commercial shops as well as for teaching letterpress printing in high school or industrial trade school print shop classes. On it, the student could learn all they would need to know about set up and make ready of a hand-fed platen press, and could do it with a machine that was less expensive, safer and  could fit into a classroom. These characteristics serve the letter press community of today.

This press has a 6 1/2 x 10" inside chase dimension and can print on a sheet up to 12" wide.

Emerson Essay set in 18
                  point Nicholas Cochin Roman

Excerpt from essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson,
set in 18 point Nicholas Cochin Roman. This printed very nicely on the Pilot.

C&P Pilot Press with
                  custom-made feed board
This feedboard attachment swings out to the right and can be swung back to fit snugly on top of the delivery board  when not in use.

C&P Pioot press weighs 160#
The uncrated New Series Pilot weighs exactly 160 pounds
Crated/shipping weight is 225#

Oiling the Chandler & Price Platen Press
by Alan Runfeldt, Excelsior Press

Many old C&Ps show up with clogged oil holes. They might appear to take oil, but if the hole is clogged up with dust, dirt & debris, your oil won't get to where it needs to be.

I clean oil holes using drill bits or threaded rod - and boy, do I get a *lot* of sludge out of them. I went on a service call last fall to a theater group who had bought an 8x12, but it turned hard. It would turn, but you could not spin the flywheel enough to keep it turning. I spent a few hours clearing out the oil holes and getting oil where it needed to be. When I was done, one spin of the flywheel would keep the press going for 4-5 impressions. It really, really made a difference.

A C&P should run at a constant speed. The only thing that should affect the smooth speed is a heavy load of ink on the disk and 3 form rollers all acting as brakes as they ride over the tacky ink on the disk.

The other thing that could cause it to hesitate is a particularly heavy impression - when die cutting or embossing, for example.

Otherwise, I'd suggest that you remove the belt, spin the flywheel and don't give up on your oiling - and cleaning oil holes - until you can spin it and watch it cycle through a few impressions smoothly on its own (no ink for this test, btw...)

Oiling the Platen FollowerOne last thing - There is an obscure little 1/8" oil hole on the roller that rides inside of the channel that's inside of the large gear on the right. This one is often overlooked - quite often for years - and is the main cause of that "platen slop" which you can identify by rocking the platen when it's open. You have to look in at the roller with a flashlight and rotate the press slowly until you can see the oil hole. It will look like a little black dot. Then fit a 1/8" drill bit to a 12" extension - or use a 2' long piece of 1/8" threaded rod - and get it in there, twist a few times and pull out a drill bit filled with sludge. Do it two or three times and then squirt some W-40 into it to begin with. When it's rolling freely, you can rotate the flywheel until the access hole on the right lines up from the outside of the big gear. Then you can insert a flexible-spout oil can through that access hole and into the oil hole - when it's lined up - and switch to a few drops of 30-weight. Keeping this lubricated will prevent your press from developing a very annoying platen rock.

Also - use the drill bit to clean out the oil holes on the roller hooks. They are usually hidden - filled in with old ink and solvent left behind by many years of sloppy wash ups. If you don't know they are there, you might not see them. There is one hole above each roller shaft - two on each rocker. Be sure to get them cleaned out and oiled. A dry roller hook (rocker) WILL wear down - and possibly elongate the inside of the rocker and can actually cause your rollers to fly off the press. Make sure the inside of the hooks are clean and shiny - and that they are well-oiled.

Ink Disk Striker Repair on 8x12 C&P - 4/3/18
The C&P Ink Disk Striker was made to be serviced witha new blade every 100 years or so...

Here's how I did one recently on a New Series 8x12. It really made the disk rotate better...
click photo for a close-up.

                        Disk Stirker Repair - Chandler & Price
                        Platen Press

Additional Relevant Links:
  updated 2/2017 4/2018 7/2019