I am terribly excited to report that I am now the proud owner of a Kelsey 5x8 Excelsior tabletop platen letterpress!

These presses were manufactured in the early 1900s and are making quite the comeback.  I became smitten upon first seeing a picture of Shawna Noel's new letterpress stationery for her own photography business.  See it here.

I posted a 'want to buy' ad at briarpress.com - not expecting too much - when lo and behold a couple in Tampa contacted me because they had just bought two presses and wanted to sell one.  Perfect!  They had cleaned up and removed the rust from both presses, and so last weekend we drove down to pick it up.  Dare I say it?  The thing is smaller than I expected and actually kind of cute.

It will be a little while before I can actually use it, as it needs new rollers and trucks, and I've yet to purchase all the supplies that are needed to operate it.  I'll be getting most of the associated paraphernalia from Alan at excelsiorpress.com, ink from "Gary, the ink in tubes guy", and a base and gauge from boxcarpress.com in good ol' Syracuse, NY.

The ink plate... the back is notched so that it rotates every time you make an impression to ensure even distribution of ink

When we took it out of the car to bring into the house, this E fell out.  I don't know where it came from, but it's a lovely E, isn't it?

The press is on an old metal worktable that I just found on Craig's List.  For the record, I love the little metal logo on the front of it.

1 comment:

  1. This looks like an industrial museum piece. I tried to write a paper on such things and the decline of american industry, but i lost myself in it. If you do get it working please post the results, i would be delighted to see them. DB