equipment in use at the Excelsior Press

Chandler & Price Platen Press Treadles

"Kick Your Press"


with a foot-powered Treadle

(Chandler & Price & Gordon)

Chandler & Price Platen Press Treadle hooks

Treadles | Hooks | Make your own wooden treadle hook

Long before we had electric motors on our C&Ps & Gordons, they were operated by foot-power. The operator would pump the treadle (aka "kick the press") to make it operate.

At the same time, some shops drove their hand presses using wide belts connected to (typically overhead) "line shafts". These line shafts were powered by gasoline engines, steam engines, powerful electric motors and I saw one that was actually driven by a water wheel!.... Around 1900, small steam engines were introduced to power these presses. (their adverts in the printing magazines said "don't kick your press!")

Later on electric motors were added to some presses and then some presses were even made with straight main shafts, so a treadle could not be hung on them. To mount a treadle on one of these presses would require modifications to - or replacement of - the main "crankshaft"... 

But most presses made - at least until the 20's or so, came with a treadle as standard equipment.
Many of those treadles - and treadle hooks have been lost over the years. Replacement cast-iron treadles are available - and have been reproduced by Excelsior Press Museum, Bindery Tools, Hern Iron Works and others.
  • Rich Polinski (Front Room Press) made a beautiful wooden treadle for Sarah...
  • We fabricated a simpler wooden treadle for the musical "Newsies"
Below we have the specs of an 8x12 and 10x15 Early Series C&P treadles.
NOTE: New Series Press treadles are slightly different and they two may not be interchangeable - the mount on the back sharft is different.

Chandler & Price Platen Press Treadles

Chandler & Price Early Series Treadles
10x15 on the left, 8x12 on the right.
Overall Length
Overall Width
Distance back to hook mount
length of hook


Treadle hooks are made of bent steel as well as cast iron.
Warning: the cast iron hooks are quite brittle and tend to break. Hern ships two hooks with each treadle they sell...
Treadles hang from the crankshaft and are connected to the treadle using a bolt or pin at the bottom of the hook.

  1. New, unfinished 10x15 steel hook

  2. New, unfinished 8x12 cast iron hook

  3. Hern-cast iron 8x12 hook

  4. Original 1870's Gordon Steel hook
Chandler & Price Platen Press Treadle hooks

A new idea for making your own treadle hook

 - like an automotive piston connecting rod

note: we have not done this yet, but we think it might work quite well...

Fabricate this connecting rod of wood - a nicely grained 2x4 will do well.
Be sure to varnish or paint finished piece to protect the wood.
- add an oil hole to the top "cap" of the upper bearing -
(and oil this bearing every time you begin to run your press for the day.)
top cap = grain wide
main shaft - grain long

treadle connecting rod

Sarah bought Rich Polinski's restored his 8x12 C&P, but wanted to operate it with a treadle. Her press had the necessary crank, but no treadle or hook... So he built one for her - of wood.

more about this wooden treadle

Sarah's 8x12 C&P - with treadle

contact Alan Runfeldt