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[BKARTS] The Phantom Roller mystery

Dear friends-

I have been printing on my 10x15 c&p letterpress for 10 years, and have been a reader of this list (and occasional contributor) for as long as that. I thank you for your advice and general good nature over that time.

I am sure many of you are like me - you bought your letterpress because you like printing and typography, and you figured out how to use it by trial and error (and a lot of advice from this list). Still, you probably developed many bad habits as I have over the years. Things you have done perforce, which worked well enough at the time, so now, 10 years later you are still doing it. For example, not owning a roller gauge, I simply set the height by experimentation and building up the right tolerance through strips of drafting tape. It works, but that doesn't mean its right.

So now, I turn to you, once again, to answer a question on my mind. Have you ever heard that a man missing an arm can occasionally feel an itch on the missing appendage? I have this condition, except, its not a missing arm, but rather a missing roller on my press. If you are familiar with the c&p, you know that it has 2 rollers close together, and one above, and one an inch or two away. I have 2 rollers with which I have printed for 10 years. I have not expereinced any deficiency in my printing due to this missing roller. Still, like the man without the arm, I occasionally feel its loss, and wonder what would it be like to print with the 3rd roller? Does it matter? I am haunted by this, and it itches my soul. Ok, drama off.

So the question is 2 parted -
1. Why did c&p design the press to have 2 rollers together, and one separated away?
2. What functional advantage does printing with 3 rollers have over printing with 2, if I have never felt my printing is lacking?

Many thanks to you all, and to all a good night.


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