A WEYMOUTH musician has restored a treadle-operated letterpress printing press and is now printing up to 25 pages a minute on it.

Jeremy Windust had owned the Thompson Gem Number One for 30 years but it had fallen into complete disrepair.

This year Jeremy's attempt to get the printing press going again resulted in the breaking of an essential component. A friend made him a replacement part but Jeremy had to completely dismantle the machine.

Jeremy bit the bullet and took the press apart, taking photos as he went. He cleaned up and de-rusted all the components and repainted it all in Victorian green engineering paint. He also replaced leather buffers for the rollers (re-purposed from a horse stirrup) and had remade the wooden table that carried the paper (re-purposed from a piano case).

Then, with the help of three strong friends and two block and tackles hanging from the top of his shed, Jeremy reassembled it, using the photos as a guide. The machine now looks better than it ever has!

The process of the press is: sticky ink is applied onto a circular inking plate; A treadle starts the whole thing working and a massive flywheel irons out irregularities in footwork; rollers pick up the ink and transfer it to the type. The ink plate is manually rotated to evenly distribute the ink. A single piece of paper or card is introduced by hand onto the plate. A clutch squeezes paper and type together like a book closing. The “book” opens, the type is re-inked, the paper is removed and left to dry and replaced with a fresh piece.

And as you can see here, Jeremy even printed some Christmas cards on the press, which is much faster than a modern desktop printer!