April 29, 2022 – In which I investigate a similar press in Denver (and we get deep into the mechanical weeds of split ink disk assemblies).

I remembered having seen a similar press stored in Denver, which was being offered for sale by someone I knew of. Upon investigation, it was a Damon & Peets 9×13 New Style (Gordon) press, possibly manufactured at the same plant as the press I am restoring.

Damon & Peets was a New York marketing operation, selling type and other printing supplies. They also offered their own line of presses, manufactured under license to GP Gordon at the Nichols & Langworthy Machine Company. This press (as shown below), was manufactured at that facility.

The N&L Machine Co., located in Hope Valley, RI started by manufacturing weaving and mill machinery and expanded its repertoire to printing presses for George Gordon in 1853. They would continue making presses for Gordon and his licensees until 1872 when he opened his own factory in Rahway NJ.

The D&P shown here was one size larger than my Gordon but seems to use the same frame. 

Particularly of interest was the lower ink disk drive gear – it was a reproduction cast from an original, but borrowed from another 8×12 Gordon. So both the 8×12 Gordon and 9×13 D&P used the same drive gears for their split ink disk! For all I know, N&L could have used many of the same casting molds for both presses. 

But best of all, the D&P had an original treadle. A few other parts were broken or missing, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed or easily replaced. The condition it was in dictated that it was not a parts press but  one which would nonetheless contribute to the restoration of the press I was beginning to think of as “Mr. Gordon.” 

So, I bought it. 

Although I had to leave it in Denver (until more reliable weather allowed me to move it), I removed the ink disk for measuring and it was exciting to find that the ink disk, as well as the split disk drive gears, were interchangeable – but I also found that the inner disk drive gears were not aligned as a C&P split disk would be. So I started asking all my usual sources if they knew of an odd “non-C&P” inking disk assembly. One such resource was Lloyd Bowcott of Cook Kettle Press in western Canada, who said he had a split disk that didn’t fit C&Ps. He had picked it up because letterpress printers are always on the lookout for spare press parts, even if they’re not sure where they go. After exchanging some photos and measurements, I took a chance and ordered it.

May 20, 2022 – I attended a Rocky Mountain Letterpress luncheon, where I met briefly with Doug S., who sold me the remaining “spare” lower drive gear which he had cast from an original borrowed from a GP Gordon at InterOcean press. I now had two lower drive gears (one for each press), but only one rear connecting gear. So I pulled the small rear connecting gear off the D&P.

May 23, 2022 – I dropped off an original lower drive gear (again, borrowed from InterOcean Press) and the secondary gear (from the D&P) at a metals caster in Englewood, in order to have a couple of replacement gears cast in bronze for myself and other folks in a similar situation (see photo below – each square is 1/2 inch).