equipment in use at the Excelsior Press

Chandler &
                          Price Platen Press Treadles

"Kick Your Press"


with a foot-powered Treadle

Chandler & Price & Gordon and New Style Pearl #11

                          & Price Platen Press Treadle hooks

Treadles | Hooks | Make your own wooden treadle hook

Long before we had electric motors on our C&Ps & Gordons, or using gas or steam-powered line shafts in larger shops, they were operated by foot-power. The operator would pump the treadle (aka "kick the press") to make it operate.

At the same time, some shops drove their hand presses using wide belts connected to (typically overhead) "line shafts". These line shafts were powered by gasoline engines, steam engines, powerful electric motors and I saw one that was actually driven by a water wheel!.... Around 1900, small steam engines were introduced to power these presses. (their adverts in the printing magazines said "don't kick your press!")

Later on electric motors were added to some presses and then some presses were even made with straight main shafts, so a treadle could not be hung on them. To mount a treadle on one of these presses would require modifications to - or replacement of - the main "crankshaft"... 

But most presses made - at least until the 20's or so, came with a treadle as standard equipment.
Many of those treadles - and treadle hooks have been lost over the years. Replacement cast-iron treadles are available - and have been reproduced by Excelsior Press Museum, Bindery Tools, Hern Iron Works and others.
  • Rich Polinski (Front Room Press) made a beautiful wooden treadle for Sarah...
  • We fabricated a simpler wooden treadle for the musical "Newsies"
Below we have the specs of an 8x12 and 12x18 Early Series C&P treadles.
NOTE: New Series Press treadles are slightly different and they two may not be interchangeable - the mount on the back shaft is different. The 8x12 C&P Treadle will also work on a 9x12 Damon & Peets Gordon.

Chandler &
                          Price Platen Press Treadles

Chandler & Price Early Series Treadles
12x18 on the left, 8x12 on the right.
Note rear shaft mounting differences
10x15 C&P New & Old Style Treadles
are comi
ng soon.

Overall Length
Overall Width
Distance back to hook mount
length of hook



Treadle hooks are made of bent steel as well as cast iron.
Warning: the cast iron hooks are quite brittle and tend to break. Hern ships two hooks with each treadle they sell...
Treadles hang from the crankshaft and are connected to the treadle using a bolt or pin at the bottom of the hook.

  1. New, unfinished 10x15 steel hook

  2. New, unfinished 8x12 cast iron hook

  3. Hern-cast iron 8x12 hook

  4. Original 1870's Gordon Steel hook
Chandler & Price Platen Press
                                  Treadle hooks

                          #11 Treadls

Pearl # 11 (7x11) New Style Treadles
2 newly cast (6/20/2020) and original (black)
note: These treadles will need some machining and fitting for your press.
These treadles hang beneath the frame and are actuated using a long straight bar outside of the frame of the press.

A new idea for making your own treadle hook

 - like an automotive piston connecting rod

note: we have not done this yet, but we think it might work quite well...

Fabricate this connecting rod of wood - a nicely grained 2x4 will do well.
Be sure to varnish or paint finished piece to protect the wood.
- add an oil hole to the top "cap" of the upper bearing -
(and oil this bearing every time you begin to run your press for the day.)
top cap = grain wide
main shaft - grain long

                          connecting rod

Our friend Sarah bought Rich Polinski's restored 8x12 C&P, but wanted to operate it with a treadle. Her press had the necessary crank, but no treadle or hook... So he built one for her - of wood.

more about this wooden treadle

Sarah's 8x12 C&P
                  - with treadle

We also built a wooden treadle for an 8x12 - simpler than this one, built - very quickly - of a 2x10 and available hardware. It was used on the press shown in the musical "Newsies"
last updated 6/21/2020
contact Alan Runfeldt