The Museum is Open 


(Winter hours until September)

 from to 4.00.p.m.

on Main Street

(State Highway 2) Greytown 

phone: 06 3049 687


The Printing Works

operates most Saturdays and Sundays

from 1 - 4.p.m.

and will open by prior arrangement at other times for groups and individuals interested in letterpress.


The display is "viewable" when the Museum is open.



Tony King 

06 3049402


Would you like to learn to print letterpress ?

Set and print a card, 

letterhead,  or another small project, in the tradition started more than 500 years ago !

 Today letterpress is  popular with those interested in creating works that involve the age-old tools, machinery, type and illustrations.

One Day

Letterpress Workshops

 The  workshop  covers an understanding of the tools and equipment in the Printing Works,  selecting and hand-setting type, preparing the type for the press, setting up a table top handpress,  and printing  your creation.  

An intensive seven hour hands-on experience with individual tuition  from Tony King, using a press appropriate to your project.

Workshops are limited to TWO participants, and will be scheduled on a day to SUIT YOU !

The workshop fee of $60 includes entry to Cobblestones  Museum. 

Please register your interest or enquiries by email or phone 06 3049402 


Click HERE for more

T ools of the Trade shows the range of  tools and devices used when setting type and illustrations for printing.Also on display are five examples of early printing - the earliest - a page from one of the first books printed in Italy in 1471; a Roman Breviary from 1546, a folio page of a Bible printed in 1562, the first page of the Gutenberg 42-line Bible printed in 1456, and a page of the Mainz Psalter 1462.

Letterpress is alive and well in the hands of those with the historical interest in preserving and demonstrating the craftsmanship involved. There is strong interest from graphic designers, writers, and those wishing to produce their own limited edition work, and where commercial considerations are not a priority.


For more than 40 years the New Zealand Association of Handcraft Printers has supported the interests of more than a hundred craft printers, and the Printing Works is a member of this Association. Letterpress type is now being cast to order by the Printing Museum (Inc) in Upper Hutt near Wellington from a range of 550 font matrices. Significant exhibits of letterpress type, presses, and the processes can be enjoyed by visits to the museums listed in our  Great Links paragraph.




The Printing Works is an exhibit of the Cobblestones Early Settlers' MuseumMain Street (SH2) Greytown and is managed by 

Tony King,












P.O. Box 29 Greytown  5742.



A  visit to the Printing Works will show you 

  •  Background to the origins of letterpress
  •  How letterpress type is set
  • The role of the proofing press
  • Printing on a large treadle platen press
  •  Printing on a table top press 
  • The tools of the trade
  • Ornaments, borders and illustration blocks
  • Examples of original printing dating back 500 years
  • Plates produced on the  computer for letterpress

Our equipment:

- Challenge Gordon 15 x 10 treadle-powered platen press (1907) U.S.A.
- Thompson Gem No 3  13 x 9 treadle powered platen press (1926) UK
- Adana High Speed No.2   6 x 4 table top platen (1953) UK
- Adana 5 x 3 table top platen  (UK)
- Challenge Roller Proofing Press (1899) USA
- Penrose flatbed Proofing press (1930) UK
- Challenge treadle guillotine (1930) USA
- Dapag Ticket printing press (1943) UK
- Roneo stencil duplicator (1920) UK
- 24 assorted fonts of hand set type, wooden type, and numerous illustration blocks.

Adana No.2 tabletop platen

Thompson Gem No.3 platen


Printing Made Easy by Adana - the presses and technique of letterpress

Turn your sound on now


click this link:

  • Sweep your mouse across the page to turn them or use the centre <<>>
  • Lower right icons:   Print,  Download, Speaker off.
  • Lower left icon - magnify
  • Click the Printing Works tab to rejoin our site


Challenge Gordon Platen 


The press you print on when you visit !

Now ! see me in action

Click this link to the Virtual ADANA 



Type is set letter-by-letter by hand into a composing stick which is set to the line length required. A fast compositor can set 1600 characters an hour. After the job is printed the type is distributed ("dissed") back into the typecase.

The Printing Works Gallery

This Challenge Galley Proofing Press was built in Chicago in 1899. Type or illustration blocks are set on the flat bed of the press, inked with a hand roller, and a sheet of paper placed over the type. The 40kg 'rolling pin' is moved along the bed to make the print. Proofing is to identify errors before the job is moved to another press. The press can be used for short- run posters.

The Challenge Gordon hand-fed platen press from Chicago is dated 1907 and is the featured press in the Printing Works. It prints an area of 15 x 10 inches and about 500 copies an hour can be printed - providing the printer treadles the press continuously. The press weighs 1 tonne and is of a style very popular with 'jobbing printers' for more than a century worldwide. In addition to printing, it can be used for die cutting, creasing, and  perforating.   Alongside the press is the type cabinet containing type in 26 different faces and sizes.

The furniture cabinet stores wood and metal pieces cut to various lengths of line that may be selected for type setting. Lengths about 2 to 5mm thick are called 'reglet'. Furniture is also placed to surround the type when it is being locked up  in the printing chase

The layout of the typecase reflects the frequency letters are used when setting in the English language. The 'top ten' most frequently used letters  s  a  o  t  i  n  e  d h and r are clustered in an 'arc' identical to the object of the typewriter  and computer keyboard. As letterpress typesetting requires the actual pieces of type, more of these letters must be bought, hence the largest space for the letter 'e'. The capitals are in alphabetical order except for U and J which did not enter the alphabet until the early 17th century. V and I were the letters used until the change. To have included them in the layout at that time would have created  'chaos' amongst proficient compositors automatically selecting the letter O to find it had shifted to the next row as J had been inserted in sequence.

A Challenge foot-operated guillotine with a 60cm cutting width and capable of cutting up to 4cm thick.

On the 'bench' of the guillotine is the handfed  Dapag ticket printer. 

The Adana High-Speed No 2 table top platen press prints an area of 6 x 4 inches and mimics the features of much larger presses. Ideal for invitations, labels, letterhead, small booklets, the press is used by visitors to print a souvenir of their visit to the Printing Works.

A DAPAG rotary hand printing press. Built in England in 1943 this press uses I shaped type which slots into grooves on a printing drum. The type is inked from the metal ink roller on the top, via a rubber roller. Cards or paper are hand fed at a rate of 50 per minute.



The ten most used letters in the English language, is offered as a souvenir to visitors. To set type in letterpress we must buy more letters of each of these otherwise we will be very limited in what we can set at one time. The seven lines of text contain 63 letter 'e' . How many on this website ? CTRL-F and enter  simply   e. It will not count the letter in an image.

Young people enjoy the experience of hands-on printing with letterpress using the proofing presses and small table top press. The satisfaction of doing-it-themselves !


Visitors have their say on the web:


"we only visited the printer workshop because we arrived at the end of the afternoon. We spent a very pleasant time and talked a lot with the volunteer.  He showed us a lot of things. Thanks to him" (France)


"try and go when the printing press is open as this is truly fascinating. Interesting displays and nostalgia aplenty, especially if you grew up in these earlier years." (UK)


" A visit to the museum is a great way to spend an hour. There is often someone in the printing building who will talk you through typecasting and the process. It's actually interesting and the gentleman is friendly and eager to share his knowledge." (NZ)


"The highlight of this museum is the man running the old printing press. He was a fountain of knowledge and we thoroughly enjoyed chatting to him. Would recommend."






Great Links !

We collaborate with The Printing Museum in Upper Hutt,  New Zealand,  the Association of Handcraft Printers NZ,  The Taranaki Aviation, Transport and Technology Museum,  New Plymouth, the Ferrymead Printing Society at Ferrymead Christchurch; the Taranaki Pioneer Village, Stratford,  Homeprint Studio, Feilding, the printing shop at Pleasant Point Museum , South Canterbury,  and the  Okains Bay  Maori & Colonial  Museum, near Akaroa. 






"Just stopped to pick up my tickets"


Updated 7 July  2017

Shortly this site will move to


The Printing Works recreates the activity of a letterpress job-printing shop in the early 1900's - setting type letter-by-letter in the manner invented by Gutenberg in 1450, and printing it on century-old presses. The craft and skill that started a communication revolution! The Works is situated in the Museum's village setting of 13 heritage buildings - including six registered with Heritage New Zealand.

We look forward to your visit to the Museum.

An excellent commentary on the evolution of paper, early printing processes, newspaper printing and the people who made it happen ! Produced in 1950.

School logos on bookmarks or novelty cards printed by pupils are a popular attraction during group visits to the Printing Works. 180 pupils visited between 8 and 11 May from Masterton schools to learn about the evolution of letterpress printing and its impact today. Schools are provided with a resource kit during their visit.

 On Saturday 22 October 2016 Cobblestones staged a traditional Country Fete. During the day more than 200 parents and children had a hands-on printing experience on two of the handpresses. We printed the pie bags too !










Sunday 25 September 2016 marked the sixth anniversary of the opening of the Printing Works with more than 5000 visitors having printed their own souvenir on one of the presses over this time.  School, university, Senior Citizens, Probus, Rotary, tour and cruise ship groups have visited.The emphasis is on a hands-on experience and all visitors receive a pack of printing items. Full Day workshops have also appealed and are popular in the summer months.