Oldest Press
Chandler & Price, 1934
Chandler & Price, 1934
Featured Oldest Press Story #7:
Chandler & Price, 1934
Submitted by Gene Reicks, owner of Ye Olde Printshoppe, Spillville, IA

"I am entering a 1934 Chandler and Price 12 x 18 Craftsman Press with a Rice Automatic Feeder. This press was purchased new in 1935 by the Times Plain Dealer in Cresco, Iowa, and I still have the original instruction and parts books. I started working for the Times in November of 1951 as a Printer's Devil. I was 15 years old and was trained to run and feed the Meile newspaper press and this C&P job press.

This press is special to me is because it was purchased by the newspaper the same year I was born, in 1935. It was used by the newspaper until June of 1969, when the newspaper went offset. I ran the press for the Times every day during those 18 years. Then, in 1969, the Times was one of six area newspapers that formed a corporation to build a central offset printing facility and jointly purchase an offset press. I left the Times that year to become pressroom foreman at the new plant. At that plant, I continued to print the Times for many years, until I retired.

With the move to offset, the Times also converted its job shop to offset and moved into a smaller building. I was asked to help with the move. When we got to the 12 x 18, my old boss said I should sell it for junk. But I told him it was too good to junk and that the press deserved better. He told me that if I wanted it, I should take it. So I did.

My son and I dismantled the press and moved it to my garage where it remained in pieces for a couple of years. However, as more and more shops switched to offset, there became an increasing demand for job work that could best be done on a letterpress. So, I started my own company called Ye Olde Printshoppe.

We cleaned and reassembled the old 12 x 18 and it became the centerpiece of the new shop. In addition to the C&P, we also have a Model 11 Golding Pearl, a Model 8 Linotype, a Ludlow, 96-plus drawers of type and a large case of wooden circus type. I also have a small offset operation.

The 12 x 18 is still a workhorse in my shop. Since I started running it 58 years ago, I have printed everything from ice cream pail covers to wedding napkins, envelopes and receipt books on the press. These days, I most often print carbonless stock on the offset and then perforate and number it on the 12 x 18. However, I still do plenty of napkins, raffle books, business cards and other miscellaneous jobs on the 12 x 18.

I retired from the central offset plant on Dec. 31, 2001. However, I've continued to operate Ye Olde Printshoppe. As you can see, this press has been a large part of my life. Therefore, although it's not the oldest press in my shop, it is the one press that I feel deserves recognition."

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