Printing Press - Line-O-Scribe

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Printing Press - Line-O-Scribe
Line-O-Scribe Showcard Press.jpeg
Name Line-O-Scribe Showcard Writer
Zone Craft Room

Owner Ashley Lesser
Make Model Not Available
Part Number Not Available
Date Acquired
Storage Location Cart by Kiln Zone
Authorization Required Yes
Status Running
Value 300

Other References


Video of the type of press we have here.


This tool has currently not been released for use by the general membership.

Please contact Ashley or one of the authorized users listed below for training. Authorized users are encouraged to train others; however, Ashley will provide final approval for new trainees to become authorized users, following a brief meet-up to observe and go over key procedures.

Three Cardinal Rules for Printing:

  1. Be kind to the equipment. It's a hundred-year-old press! Do not force the cylinder across if it is too low. Start high and work down, running test prints until you feel light resistance and get good ink coverage. Because the cylinder height is adjustable, you won't get the deep debossed impression you may associate with "letterpress printing." If you want to do that, visit Signal-Return, or help me buy a Vandercook ;-)
  2. Don't stir the ink! In fact, disturb it as little as possible. Slice into the skin, retrieve a dab of ink, and gently nudge the skin back into place. The skin protects the ink beneath.
  3. Clean up! Do not allow ink to dry on type, blocks, palettes, or brayers. The ink takes a while to dry (i.e., hours not minutes) but it is very difficult to remove once it cures. If you are going to take a break and leave the immediate area, you must clean the press first.


A selection of display type and printing blocks are available for printing on the press. Linoleum blocks are also great for hand-carving. The cylinder height of the press is adjustable, so blocks need not be exactly type-high, although they shouldn't be far off.

If you want to use the laser cutter to transfer art to a linoleum block, the recommended settings are Speed 45 Power 100. Unless the design is highly complex, consider outlining your graphic and cutting away the non-printing background areas by hand.

Inking is by hand. Use the glass palette and brayer. You'll want to roll out a small dab of ink on the palette until smooth (no peaks visible). Then apply to your printing surface (and only your printing surface... stray ink causes misprints, so care is rewarded).

Magnets, along with furniture, can be used to secure type or blocks to the press. You may need to be creative with your layout. Try not to scratch the surface of the press when moving magnets; instead of sliding them, lift them up using the wooden wedge.

A blank piece of paper taped to the inside of the press cover can be marked up and used for rudimentary registration.

A pump-can containing odorless mineral spirits is provided for cleaning type and the glass palette after use. Do not allow ink to dry onto any surfaces.

Rags containing mineral spirits must be handled properly. They can be placed in a flammables canister in the flammables cabinet. Do not throw them in household trash unless the solvent has been allowed to evaporate in a ventilated area.

For more detailed printing instructions with pictures, please see the FAQ below.

Maintenance Info

This device has very few moving parts. Maintenance is as follows:

  1. Do not let ink dry on type, blocks, or other surfaces.
  2. If the cylinder makes noise or fails to move smoothly, apply sewing machine oil to moving parts.

For other issues, please contact Ashley directly by e-mail or phone.



Authorized Users and Trainers

Trainer Name Certified Date
Ashley Lesser 2016/01/01
User Name Authorized By Date of Most Recent Training
Kevin Flory Ashley Lesser
Charlie Rysenga Kevin Flory 2016/02/06
David Henry Ashley Lesser 2016/01/31
Gary Morin Ashley Lesser 2018/06/24
Janice Morin Ashley Lesser 2018/06/24
Martee Held Ashley Lesser 2018/06/24
Stephen Marlow Ashley Lesser 2018/06/24
Alexandra Thomas Ashley Lesser 2019/01/13
Emily Lardner Ashley Lesser 2019/01/13
Julien Cohen Ashley Lesser 2019/02/09
Melissa Gilchrist Ashley Lesser 2019/02/09
William Kelly Ashley Lesser 2024/04/15
Shauna Siso Ashley Lesser 2024/04/15

Printing Press - Line-O-Scribe Ashley Lesser Zone: Craft Room "/>

Possible Model Identification

This particular press appears to be an early product of the Line-O-Scribe company of Adrian (MI). (For a brief overview of the histories of Line-O-Scribe of Adrian and Line-O-Scribe of Chicago, see this excellent article by David MacMillan and Rollande Krandall.

There's no line number or part number on the machine. Per MacMillan and Krandall, the first Line-O-Scribe patent was filed on in 1927 and issued in 1929. Assuming that this is the patent which is marked as pending, that gives us a timespan for this machine. I should note that MacMillan and Krandall's reproduction of patent 1,926,983 is a much closer--but not visually identical--match to the machine, although the lack of an equipment identifier or any patent information does seem to point to an earlier machine.

Here's a closeup of the nameplate:


There are two other possible information bits on the machine. The (bakelite?) handle is inscribed 'BC2187', and one of the side channels contains the text 'C-35 Illinois'.