Moving a Potter

I am about to be a new caretaker for a potter (not sure which edition, I think maybe a #2) which currently lives in a multi-level basement with several staircases. I was wondering how you would go about moving a press in this situation?   I read somewhere that it can be 800 lbs, which makes me very nervous about getting it up 2 flights of stairs. Do you have any recommendations?

Once the press is out of the basement, it will have to travel 600 miles, so that will be a fun trip. If you have any transport tips, that would be great too!  I am trying to figure out how I can do this as economically and safely as possible. It will have to travel, with some type cabinets, from Pennsylvania to Indiana.

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Larry K. Johnson
6 years ago

If the Potter is like the Hacker there should be 4 bolts that hold it on under the bed. To get the bed off there may be bumpers/springs that will need to be removed as well.

I have some photos of the Hacker I dissembled and restored that may help you see “under the hood”. Contact me if you need to, I’ll help in anyway I can.

Erin Williams
Erin Williams
6 years ago

Thank you so much! That is great help. I just took a look at that magic hand truck! Amazing! I didn’t know those existed. Do you have any idea how to get the base/pedestal off the press body? Unfortunately, I am not anywhere near the press to look at it – until I pick it up, that is. I have used it before though.

Paul Moxon, Moderator
6 years ago

I asked Larry to comment first because of his applicable experience. I think that you might want to remove the carriage from the bed and the bed from the pedestal then rent a hydraulic stair climbing hand truck. Several years ago I was part of a crew that did this to move a nonmotorized hand wheel ink-distributing SP15 (600 lbs.)

Also, please look for a serial number on the bed bearer (operator’s side, left end) and i will add it to the Potter census.

Larry K. Johnson
6 years ago

Congratulations on your Potter! I have moved Hacker #4’s (a later version of the Potter) which are about 1800 lbs., although not up a flight of stairs. What I can tell you is that these seem to be top heavy. So strapping it to a base is necessary, like a pallet. Also you want to make sure the reciprocating bed is centered and secure. You don’t want the bed moving at all once it is centered. Take the handle off too once the bed is secured. In case of a tip over, the handle will break.

For the road trip just use all the basics of hauling with a trailer. My F150 hauls 800lbs and more on a trailer with ease, just check with the manufacture of your vehicle for towing weights, and do the math. Keep it strapped to the base and secured on the trailer. I use plastic pallet wrap before the final strap down to keep the rain off of the press during travel.

As far as the stairs, I really can’t advise as I am not on location to see the situation. However if you have seen the film Pressing on; The Letterpress Film (, they move a C&P up a flight of stairs. Good place to see something like that in action.

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