Before, and after.
The above photos clearly show the restoration work done to our Golding Pearl No. 11 Improved Press serial #1918 built c. 1920 in Massachusetts, USA.
When I decided to open Inkwell, one of my goals was to have at least one working floor model letterpress in the shop. Finding an old piece of equipment such as this, in working order can be a costly and time consuming quest. So with some patience and hard work we can now introduce our working floor model press that we affectionately named Isabella aka "Pretty Izzy".
We first found Isabella for sale on the letterpress classifieds at Briar Press. She was located in Connecticut. After negotiations with the owner, we agreed on a purchase price and pick-up date. This happened in December 2010, just as winter was beginning in Atlantic Canada and the New England states. Not an ideal time to plan a road trip, but with a clear forecast, and borrowed new van (thanks Mom & Dad!) my partner Daniel and I began the 2800 km (roundtrip) journey.
Weather was fantastic during our travels and we found our way around easily. We disassembled Isabella (would we remember how it all goes back together!?) and with the help of some local movers to do the heavy lifting, loaded Isabella into the van for her journey to Canada.
As you can see she was a colourful beast. Previous owners had really botched her surfaces with poorly applied paint. She was pretty beat up, but still in working order, so we were excited to have her and knew her potential.
The next few months were spent stripping and sanding her various cast iron parts. Working in an un-heated garage during a Canadian winter makes cast iron VERY cold to work with.
Work continued into the spring when weather allowed for more outdoor work, including painting and varnishing. So many parts, so many screws and bolts collected. Fingers were crossed through the whole process that we'd know how she went together.
Parts we painted, gears were oiled and everything fit together. Every part has its own specific function which made assembly quite easy. Everything fit into place nicely.
Here she is today. Our 90 year old black beauty - Isabella. On a warm Saturday in August we ran our first prints on her. With very little adjustment she was printing great. It was us, as press operators that needed more work. We ran about 100 Inkwell Boutique business cards and cleaned her up.
Stop by soon and see her in person!
Before, and after.