Posts Tagged ‘Miehle Vertical’

The Last Printing Press You’ll Ever Need

April 14, 2015

Mary speaks of printing presses in what for her are hushed tones, or anyway what they lack in hush they more than make up for in reverence.

And every time I think we’ve found and acquired her holy grail of letterpresses, she develops a reverence for another one. It’s like I married a dude having a midlife crisis sometimes. Like, for instance, a red Ferrari would weigh 3 tons less and have only a slightly larger footprint than the latest printing press she fell for: the Heidelberg KS.

Oh, but what it’ll do … or so Shop Boy is told. See, we’ve never laid eyes on the thing. Mary bought it at auction from a place in, I swear, Novelty, Ohio. Today it’s in Baltimore, at North American Millwright, a name you should surely know if you’ve followed our loopy path as printers or have had to move something really, really, really heavy. Bruce Baggan and his crew are the best. (Bruce reports that the press arrived in good shape.) This month or next we will meet the thing in person, at our shop.

I’m excited, and not. Like a sports car, these printing presses cost money. Mary will naturally tell you she got a sweetheart deal, but she’s in love, so whatever. All I know is 4 tons and that, to get this one in, another press has to go.

a_miehleAnd it’s looking as though the Miehle V50 is it. That one wasn’t Mary’s fault. It followed us home, for “only” the cost of moving it, from a Baltimore printshop before we knew enough to say no. We know it works, and it’s even got brand new rollers. Two problems: Mary’s first love is the Heidelberg windmill (Shop Boy lands anywhere between No. 2 and No. 5 depending upon how timely I am with dinner). She’s a whiz at running the windmill, and now another Heidelberg is (almost) in the house.

Also, the V50 is a younger person’s press, with ink tray cleaning performed from your knees and big, heavy chases (even when empty – imagine it with a Boxcar base!) that must be dead-lifted into the guides.

Shop Boy just had another birthday go past. Geez, it’s like that happens every stinking year. Pretty soon you’ve got more behind than ahead. And so that might soon be the story for the Miehle. We don’t want to scrap it. Mary listed in on Briar Press for $600 or best offer.

Zero offers and counting. Apparently the last thing people need is a 3-ton paper towel holder.

Or are you that person?

It’s great at holding coffee cups, too.


‘Might’ Makes Right

May 12, 2008

Don’t get me wrong.

Shop Boy loves the new metal shelves. Typecast Press now has more storage space than it ever had with the closet. They’re clean! They were fairly easy to build and they fit just right.

But 700 pounds per shelf? That’s not a shelf, that’s a bunk … which might have been Mary’s whole idea when she decided to order them. Hmm.

Anyway, I’m not buying the 700-pound business. Shop Boy simply doesn’t trust many things that are man-made to do whatever it is said that they do. He comes by it naturally.

See, Shop Boy was for two years a New York City commuter and resident. Every day in the news there would be a report of a chunk of something or other shaking loose from a permanent man-made structure and dropping on someone. Sudden death from above. I mean, one day, a dude is driving down FDR Drive (on the east side of Manhattan) and a decorative stone drops off an overpass.

See ya.

A woman walking on a metal sidewalk grate falls through to the subway tracks below.

A piece of modern art on a plaza near Wall Street topples, killing passers-by.

I mean, this was every day. It got so bad that one day, stepping onto the observation deck of the Empire State Building, where the stone pavers wobble (you know, to accommodate building sway — !! — or something), I freaked out, conviced that we were about to end up in the Hudson River. Or worse, New Jersey.

I wasn’t alone. On my last night of work in NYC, I hopped in a cab at Penn Station for the ride home to Brooklyn. “Manhattan Bridge to Flatbush. Right at Fourth Avenue. Left at 11th Street,” I barked. Shop Boy was so New York back then. “No Manhattan Bridge!” insisted the rattled driver. “Brooklyn Bridge!”

Of course, that was the more expensive way home. But the driver said he’d waive any extra fare. That is spooked, ladies and gentlemen. Dude must have been watching too much TV news. Or reading the papers.

True story: One day, the Manhattan Bridge was just suddenly closed. Seems that inspectors had taken a look at the thing and issued an incredible number of structural “red flags.” The inspectors actually ran screaming off the span. (OK, that part I’m making up.) The next day’s New York Post blared: “Manhattan on the Rocks,” as in this was where the crumbling steel structure and a bunch of drivers were going to end up without immediate, serious repair.

Well, that bridge is to traffic in lower Manhattan what air is to lungs. Thus, immediately, the city began choking. Absolute gridlock. So the city bigwigs did what anyone in their position would do: Without fanfare, they threw the red flags in a big box somewhere and reopened the bridge.

And the city shrugged. “Hey, if it’s ya time, it’s ya time, right? We gotta get to work somehow.”

Tell that to my cabbie.

But where was I?

Oh, so Mary has decided that we should set aside one 700-pound capacity shelf just for Miehle Vertical parts. These consist of box after broken, greasy box of heavy stuff. You know, hoses, gauges, belts, wrenches that might — might — fit something or other on the Beast. Even hunks of metal that look like vertebra from the spine of a bionic dinosaur. It’s a crazy, unmarked assembly of potentially useless stuff.

The machine runs, so who needs it?

THE BEAST: Miehle Vertical (let’s see Will Smith fix this)

Apparently, we do.


We pulled it out of Reese Press, a Baltimore institution and the source of the Miehle. Get the antiquated, 3-ton Miehle out of here, the man had said, and the press and anything else not nailed down is yours for free.

“What do you think that is?” Shop Boy asked Mary.

“Who knows?” she answered. “Throw it on the truck. We might need it.”

And so it went, box after box — about 700 pounds’ worth, give or take — and we’ve been living among and tripping over this debris ever since.

Now, if we stuck it all on top of the 7-foot shelves, it’d be out of the way. And we might never have to look at it again. Right?


Or have you not been paying attention?