International Printing Museum

Heidelberg Cylinder Press


Late in the fall of 2017 The International Printing Museum had the rare opportunity to acquire what is believed to be one of the oldest surviving Heidelberg Printing Presses built around 1905. Acquisition by the Museum makes it the oldest Heidelberg Printing Press in the North America!  The only older Heidelberg known to be in existence is at the Heidelberg headquarters in Germany. This press is powered manually with a hand crank and is fully operational.

Heidelberg has always held a significant position in the history of printing, with their development and perfection of the “schnellpressenfrabrik” or “faster printing machine” in the late  19th century and throughout the 20th century. Among traditional letterpress printers as well as the modern commercial printing industry, the name “Heidelberg” is synonymous with precision, engineering, and speed in printing. The Printing Museum is enthusiastic to add this very early Heidelberg to the Museum’s collection of working presses and highlight Heidelberg’s role in the development of the modern printing press.

What was required to bring this press to America involved the complicated task of disassembling the press in the artist’s studio in Verona, Italy, removing it from the building, then reassembling it inside a shipping container for overseas transport. The 8,000 lb press had to be sealed from moisture and bolted to a treaded skid, lifted, and secured inside a 20′ container. Upon arrival in Los Angeles it was transported to the Printing Museum and a rigger installed the “new” press into the Printing Museum’s gallery.


See the press in action as artist Francisco Beramini uses the press in his letterpress shop in Italy


Print Huge

Poster Printed on the Heidelberg Cylinder Press. Design by Kevin Bradley, Linocut from Martin Mazorra, and wood type from the Colby Printing Company Collection.
Printed on the Heidelberg Cylinder Press at The Los Angeles Printers Fair 2019