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Pilot Press Serial Number

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  • Sean Michael
    I recently go my hands on a C&P Pilot and want to try and date it as close as I can. They were made from 1886 - I think & into the 50 s. Quite a range really.
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 8 11:28 AM
      I recently go my hands on a C&P Pilot and want to try and date it as
      close as I can. They were made from 1886 - I think & into the 50's.
      Quite a range really. I would like to get closer than that.

      What other characteristics could possibly date it?

      Thanks,
      Sean
      http://www.speakspress.net
    • Sean Michael
      ... Well, I cleaned the press in great detail and refinished it with black stove paint. I did not find a serial number and since no one answered my question, I
      Message 2 of 6 , Jun 13 7:59 AM
        --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "Sean Michael"
        <speakspress@y...> wrote:
        > I recently go my hands on a C&P Pilot and want to try and date it as
        > close as I can. They were made from 1886 - I think & into the 50's.
        > Quite a range really. I would like to get closer than that.
        >
        > What other characteristics could possibly date it?
        >
        > Thanks,
        > Sean
        > http://www.speakspress.net



        Well, I cleaned the press in great detail and refinished it with
        black stove paint. I did not
        find a serial number and since no one answered my question, I guess
        it does not have one.

        It would still be nice to know if it is an older or newer model . Are
        there any characteristics
        that could possibly date it?

        It is a C&P Pilot.

        Thanks again,
        Sean
      • Fritz Klinke
        There is no serial number list for Pilots that I m aware of, and there were 2 models, the Old Style and New. The Old Style has more elaborate castings and the
        Message 3 of 6 , Jun 13 9:12 AM
          There is no serial number list for Pilots that I'm aware of, and there were
          2 models, the Old Style and New. The Old Style has more elaborate castings
          and the new has the more modern and smooth castings. And I am not aware of
          the change date on that either though for the floor model platens, the New
          Style was introduced starting in 1911. Pilots were most likely made up to
          the end of production of platen presses between 1962 and 1964, though the
          company itself survived up into the early 1970s making paper cutters, and
          even a web offset press.

          Fritz

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Sean Michael" <speakspress@...>
          To: <PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Monday, June 13, 2005 8:59 AM
          Subject: [PPLetterpress] Re: Pilot Press Serial Number
          >
          > Well, I cleaned the press in great detail and refinished it with
          > black stove paint. I did not
          > find a serial number and since no one answered my question, I guess
          > it does not have one.
          >
          > It would still be nice to know if it is an older or newer model . Are
          > there any characteristics
          > that could possibly date it?
          >
          > It is a C&P Pilot.
          >
          > Thanks again,
          > Sean
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • typetom@aol.com
          ... close as I can. They were made from 1886 - I think & into the 50 s. Quite a range really. I would like to get closer than that. ... Well, I cleaned the
          Message 4 of 6 , Jun 13 10:24 AM
            In a message dated 6/13/2005, speakspress@... writes:

            --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "Sean Michael" wrote:
            > I recently got my hands on a C&P Pilot and want to try and date it as
            close as I can. They were made from 1886 - I think & into the 50's. Quite a range
            really. I would like to get closer than that.
            > What other characteristics could possibly date it?
            > Thanks, Sean
            > http://www.speakspress.net

            Well, I cleaned the press in great detail and refinished it with black stove
            paint. I did not find a serial number and since no one answered my question,
            I guess it does not have one.

            It would still be nice to know if it is an older or newer model . Are there
            any characteristics that could possibly date it? It is a C&P Pilot.
            Thanks again, Sean



            Hi Sean,
            I believe the serial # for the Pilot is on the upper left-hand corner of the
            bed, hidden when the chase is on the press. Serial numbers and dates for
            other C&P presses are shown in the Letterpress FAQs on
            _www.greendolphinpress.com_ (http://www.greendolphinpress.com) , but as far as I know nobody has a
            dated list of the Pilot serial #s.

            The Pilot was redesigned, probably by the early 1950s??, so there are older
            and newer models that are easily distinguished. The older model is shown in a
            great photo on _www.briarpress.org_ (http://www.briarpress.org) under Pilot
            in their Museum of presses. Photos of a newer model that just sold on ebay
            can still be seen under ebay item number 7521647458 (sold 6/12 by lefthand4).
            The main difference is that the curved castings were replaced by much more
            solid-looking legs and feet and base. Functionally the presses are the same --
            the older castings were not a weakness in the design, but an aesthetic matter.

            (The main flaw I've noted in the Pilot design is that the platen doesn't
            open as far as some other press designs, and the spring that catches the weight
            as it opens does take a beating and probably needs to be replaced! The platen
            pressure adjustment, also, can be tricky since added packing for a heavier
            impression will bring the lower edge to hit harder first -- so the pressure
            bolts on the lower part of the platen probably need to be eased off as packing
            is added, to keep it hitting the type squarely. Over all, though, these are
            great little presses, and the handle can be attached on either side.)

            I am uncertain about a few of the dates cited by briar press. C&P apparently
            was formed as a company in 1886. Briar press says that the earliest Pilots
            date back to 1868. Not clear what that means! I believe the predecessor and
            model for the C&P Pilot was the Curtis & Mitchell Columbian, which uses the
            same mechanism to pull the platen closed and lock the impression (also has a
            side lever that can be attached on either side). I think the C&M dates from
            about 1875. I have a Columbian No.1 (approx 5x8 -- the No.3 is 8x12, bigger than
            the Pilot, the No. 2 is
            6x9 slightly smaller than the Pilot). It prints wonderfully, seems to open a
            bit further than the Pilot, and it may be a little better balanced in
            operation despite having a round base rather than feet like the No.3 does.

            Apparently the Craftsmen Machine Company copied the later design of the
            Pilot for its Superior model tabletop (sometime after 1940??). I have heard that
            it is not as well made, though I don't know how it differs, if at all. The
            CMC Imperial uses a different mechanism for closing the platen.

            Some info on these presses is in James Moran's Printing Presses, and in
            Harold Sterne's Catalogue of Nineteenth Century Printing Presses. Another basic
            source is Ralph Green's History of the Platen Jobber (in The Works of Ralph
            Green). None of these have more specific dating by serial #s for the Pilot,
            though!

            That's about all I can say -- hope it helps!
            Best wishes printing on the Pilot.
            Tom

            Tom Parson
            Now It's Up To You Publications
            157 S. Logan, Denver CO 80209
            (303) 777-8951
            http://members.aol.com/typetom


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Paul W Romaine
            ... apparently ... Pilots ... predecessor and ... uses the ... (also has a ... dates from ... 8x12, bigger than ... to open a ... in ... No.3 does. Tom, Much
            Message 5 of 6 , Jun 14 4:14 AM
              > I am uncertain about a few of the dates cited by briar press. C&P
              apparently
              > was formed as a company in 1886. Briar press says that the earliest
              Pilots
              > date back to 1868. Not clear what that means! I believe the
              predecessor and
              > model for the C&P Pilot was the Curtis & Mitchell Columbian, which
              uses the
              > same mechanism to pull the platen closed and lock the impression
              (also has a
              > side lever that can be attached on either side). I think the C&M
              dates from
              > about 1875. I have a Columbian No.1 (approx 5x8 -- the No.3 is
              8x12, bigger than
              > the Pilot, the No. 2 is
              > 6x9 slightly smaller than the Pilot). It prints wonderfully, seems
              to open a
              > bit further than the Pilot, and it may be a little better balanced
              in
              > operation despite having a round base rather than feet like the
              No.3 does.

              Tom,
              Much good information in your post. Elizabeth Harris, retired director
              of the Smithsonian's Department of Printing & Graphic Arts, consulted
              on many parts of the Briar Press. This might be a question for
              Elizabeth Nevin the owner for her sources. You might also to add to
              your bibliography, Harris's new book, _Personal Impressions: The Small
              Printing Press in Nineteenth-Century America_ (Godine, 2004). See:
              <http://www.godine.com/books/titles/1567922686.htm>. The book,
              unfortunately, was in manuscript since 1995 and hasn't been updated,
              but it's finally published. I've not looked carefullyn at the book,
              nor have I checked for Pilots, and I don't own it (yet), but one of
              Harris's scoops is her access to the Kelsey Co.'s archives, donated to
              the Smithsonian.

              All best,
              Paul
            • Sean Michael
              Thanks for the help guys. No serial number as described and none listed at www.greendolphinpress.com for pilots. I don t think they have numbers. Great
              Message 6 of 6 , Jun 15 7:55 AM
                Thanks for the help guys. No serial number as described and none
                listed at
                www.greendolphinpress.com for pilots. I don't think they have
                numbers. Great information
                however.

                I have managed to determine that mine is a later model. I have
                spotted three variations
                thus far. There is the older one with more elaborate castings as
                Fritz Klink has described.
                Then there is one with a more modern and smooth castings on the body
                but it still has the
                old style yolk. I saw one of these on ebay. Mine on the otherhand has
                a modern body and
                yolk and seems to be the one in the manual at Boxcar Press. ( http://
                www.boxcarpress.com/flywheel/index.html )

                It is possible that when the switched to the modern castings that
                they mixed old yolks
                with modern bodies till they ran out of the old yolks - thus the
                hybrid on Ebay.

                Anyway, I am putting my press back together and she looks awesome.
                The old owner
                would never recognize her.

                Thanks again.

                Oh, longshot here - does anyone know where I can get a stirrup handle
                for it? I have heard
                they exist.

                Sean
                Albuquerque, NM
                http://www.speakspress.net
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