Imperial platen press
The Craftsmen Presses
Supreme / Imperial
Victory / Superior
circa 1955
Craftsmen Machinery Company, Boston
                          Superior Printing Press


  Craftsmen Machinery Company produced presses very similar to the most popular presses of the small-press era. In fact, they were nearly identical copies. Furthermore, Craftsmen seems to have used the original Sigwalt, Caxton, Golding, Victor and other defunct manufacturer's presses as the casting patterns for the presses shown in this 1955 catalog.

A comparison of an original Victor Press Company 4x6 press in our collection with the Craftsmen 4x6 "Victory" press shown below shows a 1% difference in size. 1% is the amount of shrinkage normally associated with cast-iron production. To us, this confirms the theory that Craftsmen presses are direct copies of other popular presses from the turn of the century.

This has lead to some confusion over models and model names - as well as the fit of replacement or after-market press parts.
The scan below is from the 1955 Craftsmen Catalog.

Craftsmen line of printing presses
  • The Hobby Press looks like a Sigwalt Chicago model.
  • The Supreme looks like an old Caxton
  • The Victory and Imperial presses appear to be copies of presses made by the Victor Press Company of Boston
  • The Superior shown in this catalog appears to be a direct copy of the Early Series Chandler and Price Pilot aka "Thorpe" Pilot designed by Mr.Thorpe of the Cleveland Type Foundry around 1880 or so. Craftsmen later reproduced the New Series C&P Pilot and sold it as their Superior Model as well. 
  • The C.M.C. Jobber is clearly a duplicate of the venerable Golding Pearl

Craftsmen Machinery (U.S.) Catalog from 1955
Craftsmen Machinery Company catalog cover Craftsmen Machinery Company Imperial
                        Printing Pres
click either image above to see enlarged version

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  page last updated March 15, 2009 December 5, 2012 Jan 24, 2014