Articles about Tabletop Platens

Acme No. 11

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Adana 45

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Adana Automatic

Alan Brignull: The Ajax company, a likely competitor to Adana (see Adana Five-Three), was based in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. The Ajax No. 1, the sister of the flatbed pictured, had an even smaller chase size than the No.2: 5 1/2 x 3 1/8″. There were also two sizes of platen presses … Continue reading

Adana Eight Five

The cast-iron Adana was first manufactured in England around 1933 by Donald A. Aspinall, of Twickenham, England. Pictured is the third and latest variant of the Eight-Five series which, according to its owner, may be the most common tabletop press in Britain, akin to the Excelsior series in America (see … Continue reading

Adana Five-Three

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Adana Horizontal Quarto Platen

The immediate postwar period saw the launch of the very last Adana flatbed, The Horizontal Quarto, a superb machine much used by art colleges and producers of short-run fine printing. Adana initially offered two versions of the press, the first having a fixed ink plate and the second a revolving … Continue reading

Ajax No.2

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American No. 8

Manufactured by Deneger & Weiler in New York City in the 1870′s, the American No. 8 works on the same engineering principal as the C & P Pilot and has a chase size of 8″ x 12″.

Automatic Card

John Horn: “The Automatic in the collection of the Houston Museum of Printing History is marked ‘Automatic Printing Devices Co. Cal. (California) USA Patented.’ Card presses such as the one shown here were manufactured by several different companies in the U.S. and probably one or two in Europe. Similar presses … Continue reading

Baltimore 11

This Baltimore No. 11 was made about 1885 by the J.F.W. Dorman company of–where else?–Baltimore. It is a well made, highly ornamented press; despite its small size, it is capable of doing good printing if the form is small. The press holds two rollers on one roller arm (The Baltimore … Continue reading

Baltimore 13

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Baltimore A

Elizabeth Harris: “Ears on the side of the Baltimore A chase fit into notches on the sides of its bed, and the chase is also supported by a short ledge. For no apparent purpose, the ink plate has notches almost identical to those on the bed; perhaps the two parts … Continue reading

Baltimore No. 6

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Baltimorean B

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Bonanza

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Boston No.1

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Boston Teigel

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Caxton

Edward Curtis and Edward Mitchell were Boston printers, onetime type-founders, and suppliers of printers’ goods. From 1875 they introduced a range of presses, mostly aimed at the amateur market, and continued production through the 1880s. The Caxton, a two-roller, self-inking lever press made by Curtis and Mitchell around 1876, differs … Continue reading

Caxtonette

The Caxtonette is a two-roller, self-inking lever press, similar in profile to its sister, the larger Caxton. Both were made by Curtis and Mitchell of Boston, and each features a distinctive weight-, rather than spring-operated, gripper mechanism. In this case, it is the Caxtonette that is the more elegant of … Continue reading

Centennial Business Press

Centennial The Centennial, patented in 1875, was made by Joseph Watson before his business was bought out in 1896 by William Kelsey (maker of the Excelsior 3×5 and numerous other presses). The Centennial came in three sizes, from 2 1/4″ x 3 1/4″ to 3 1/2″ x 5″. It cost … Continue reading

Challenge

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Chandler & Price Pilot

C&P Pilot In 1886, William T. Price, a mechanic, and Harrison T. Chandler, an investor, formed a company in Cleveland, Ohio for the production of floor-model jobber presses. (See the C&P Oldstyle for more details.) The Pilot was, however, not a jobber but a hand-lever tabletop press that was intended … Continue reading

Charm

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Chicago No. 16

The Chicago press was manufactured by the Sigwalt Company of Chicago. John Sigwalt manufactured a number of presses that were near-copies of some of the popular presses of his time. His presses were made from the early 1900′s until around 1962. This press was made in an even smaller size. … Continue reading

Chicago No. 5

The Chicago No. 5 is a rail press that was manufactured by Sigwalt of Chicago (maker of the Chicago No.10 and the Nonpareil 3×5) just after the turn of the 19th century. Rail presses (a modern classification for a type of miniature, or toy press) could print, but just barely.

Chicago No.10

John Sigwalt (1836-1924), born in Alsace, France, came with his family to the United States in 1852. For a while he worked in the sewing machine business; in 1899 he began producing small printing presses that were copies of various models made by other manufacturers. His Chicago Press, a copy … Continue reading

Chicago No.9

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CMC Supreme

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Curtis & Mitchell Columbian No.3

Columbian C&M This Columbian was made by Curtis and Mitchell of Boston between 1878 and 1891. A similar press, the Columbian No. 2, was made with a 6″ x 9″ chase. Neither bear any relation to the Columbian iron hand press.

Daisy

The Daisy was probably made by Ives, Blackeslee of New York (later Ives Blackeslee Williams). The company dealt in novelties and was the principal distributing–and perhaps manufacturing–company for rail presses at the end of the nineteenth century. Their line included the Boss, Favorite, Daisy, Leader, and other very similar rail … Continue reading

Enterprise

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Excelsior 2 1/2

William A. Kelsey began making inexpensive presses for amateurs in 1872, and his Excelsior became the longest-lasting press on the market. For more information, see the Excelsior Model P page. One of the earliest Kelsey Excelsior presses, the Model No. 2 1/2 is a hand-inking press like the Excelsior Trunnion. … Continue reading

Excelsior 3×5

William A. Kelsey began making inexpensive presses for amateurs in 1872, and his Excelsior became the longest-lasting press on the market. For more information, see the Excelsior Model P. The 3×5 press shown was patented 1893 and is likely a Model D. (Model letters were not given to the earlier … Continue reading

Excelsior Hand-Inking Model 1

Excelsior Model 1 “William A. Kelsey began making inexpensive presses for amateurs in 1872, and his Excelsior became the longest-lasting press on the market. For more information, see the Excelsior Model P page. One of the earliest Kelsey Excelsior presses, the hand-inking Model 1 is shown in the National Type … Continue reading

Excelsior Model C

Another in the line of Kelsey Excelsior presses. William A. Kelsey began making inexpensive presses for amateurs in 1872, and his Excelsior became the longest-lasting press on the market. For more information, see the Excelsior Model P page. This Model C has a patent date of 1928.

Excelsior Model D

Another in the line of Kelsey Excelsior presses. William A. Kelsey began making inexpensive presses for amateurs in 1872, and his Excelsior became the longest-lasting press on the market. For more information, see the Excelsior Model P page.

Excelsior Model P

William A. Kelsey began making inexpensive presses for amateurs in 1872 as a calculated challenge to the three existing amateur presses: the Novelty, Cottage, and Lowe. Kelsey later made larger presses, but he became famous as the man who made printing presses for amateurs (preferably young, male amateurs, whom Kelsey … Continue reading

Excelsior Oldstyle No.3

One of the earliest self-inking presses in the Kelsey Excelsior line. William A. Kelsey began making inexpensive presses for amateurs in 1872, and his Excelsior became the longest-lasting press on the market. For more information on Kelsey presses, see the Excelsior Model P.

Excelsior Trunnion

Another in the line of Kelsey Excelsior presses. William A. Kelsey began making inexpensive presses for amateurs in 1872, and his Excelsior became the longest lasting-press on the market. For more information, see the Excelsior Model P page. The Excelsior shown above is a trunnion-type lever press, whose lever is … Continue reading

Favorite

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German Press

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Golding Official Imprinter

The Golding Official Imprinter is based on a No. 12 “Map” press with the addition of a flywheel.  Very few presses of this design were manufactured. The press shown was used to print clothing labels and other cloth items such as canvas bags.  Power was supplied from a direct drive variable speed motor.  … Continue reading

Gorham Boy’s Press

This may be a Gorham Boy’s Press, but it differs from known presses of that type. The Boy’s press shown in an undated catalog from Gorham and Co., Boston, Massachusetts, shows a similar press but the chase size is 3″ x 4 3/4″. It is similar in style to the … Continue reading

Grauel

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Hohner Model D

This 500-pound Hohner, a relatively modern press, is shown in the 1976-77 American Printing Equipment catalog, which explains that the press constructed from a single casting designed to keep it free from dirt. Donn Sanford notes: “It’s called a Model D and is essentially a 9″ x 12″. Hohners were … Continue reading

Ideal No.2

“The Ideal press was manufactured by the Sigwalt Company of Chicago. John Sigwalt (see his Chicago No.10) manufactured a number of presses that were near-copies of some of the popular presses of his time. His presses were made from the early 1900′s until around 1962. The Ideal was made in … Continue reading

Ideal No.3

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Ideal No.4

“The Ideal press was manufactured by the Sigwalt Company of Chicago. John Sigwalt (see his Chicago No.10) manufactured a number of presses that were near-copies of some of the popular presses of his time. His presses were made from the early 1900s until around 1962. This press resembles Golding’s Official … Continue reading

Imperial

The Craftsmen Machinery Company of Boston, Massachusetts, manufactured several tabletop lever presses and at least one floor-model platen jobber. One press in their tabletop line, the Superior, is almost identical to the Chandler & Price Pilot except that its chase width is 6 1/2″ instead of 6″. The C.M.C. Jobber, … Continue reading

Improved Hand-Inking Model Card Press

Model Card This Model is the next-to-smallest of the hand-inking Model presses (the smallest has a chase size of 2 1/4″ x 3 1/4″). As with all hand-inking presses, ink must be spread on the ink disc and rolled onto the type with a brayer. The press shown is missing … Continue reading

Improved No.2 Self-Inking Model Press

Model No. 2 “The Model press was invented and patented in 1874 by William Clark of Philadelphia, who went into business for its production with Joshua Daughaday, a publisher. The press was intended for tradesmen and amateurs (including children). It came in a range of sizes and models, from hand-inking … Continue reading

Improved Self-Inking Model Card Press

Model No. 1 “William Clark of Philadelphia went into business with Joshua Daughaday, a publisher, to produce the Model Press. This is one of their smaller Models. For more information on this press see the Model No.1 Imp. This press is shown in an undated catalog from the Excelsior Printer’s … Continue reading

Junior Excelsior Model R

Excelsior Model R Known also as the Kelsey Junior press, this is another in the line of Kelsey Excelsior presses. It was still being made in 1925 as it is shown in a catalog of that date. William A. Kelsey began making inexpensive presses for amateurs in 1872, and his … Continue reading

Kelsey One Dollar

This tiny press, patented in 1873, is the smallest in the line of Kelsey presses. An ad for the press in an undated catalog reads, “For the boys who simply wish to print cards, or others who only desire to print a few lines . . . All iron and … Continue reading

Kelsey Victor

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Maryland

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Mercury Model 5-8

Despite the fact that this Excelsior is almost identical to Kelsey’s Victor Side-Lever, cast into the frame of this press is the name, “Mercury Model 5-8 Excelsior.” For more on William Kelsey, see the Excelsior Model P.

Model No.1 Improved

“The Model press was invented and patented in 1874 by William Clark of Philadelphia, who went into business for its production with Joshua Daughaday, a publisher. The press was intended for tradesmen and amateurs (including children). It came in a range of sizes and models, from hand-inking card presses to … Continue reading

Nonpareil 3×5

The Nonpareil was manufactured by the Sigwalt Company. In 1899 John Sigwalt (1836-1924), who had earlier worked in the sewing machine business, began producing small printing presses that were copies of various models. Further information about Sigwalt and the Nonpareil can be found on the Chicago No.10 and Nonpareil 4×6 … Continue reading

Nonpareil 4×6

The Nonpareil was manufactured by the Sigwalt Company, Chicago. John Sigwalt (see his Chicago No.10) manufactured a number of presses that were near-copies of some of the popular presses of his time. This Nonpareil so closely resembles William Golding’s 4×6 Official No.2 that the two are difficult to tell apart; … Continue reading

Nonpareil No.22

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Nonpareil No.23

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Nonpareil No.24

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Novelty

The Novelty, a press designed specifically for popular use, also found a good market among tradesman. It was invented by William Tuttle, a Boston druggist, for his own use in business. In 1867 Tuttle and his partner Benjamin O. Woods, also of Boston, patented the press and introduced it to … Continue reading

Official Junior

The Junior was the smallest of the Official line with a chase size of 2″ x 3″.

Official No.12

Golding manufactured three models termed “Map” presses in the tabletop Official line.  They were called map presses because they were primarily used to print the corner block on maps and blueprint sheets.  These presses are also called stationary platen presses.  The bed moves down to the platen rather than the … Continue reading

Official No.2

“William Golding of Boston set up shop as a printer’s supply house in 1869 and soon graduated to the manufacture of seals, then small amateur presses, and finally full-sized jobbing presses. (See also Golding’s Jobber and Pearl.) Presses in the Golding Official series ranged from a lever press with a … Continue reading

Official No.4

William Golding made a number of different style presses, among them the Official, which was manufactured between 1881 and 1893. For more information on Golding and his other presses, see Official No.2. This press was made in the following chase sizes: Official No.1, 3″ x 4 1/2″ Official No.2, 4″ … Continue reading

Official No.9 / Map

William Golding made a variety of different press styles over the years before ending production in the 1920′s. The Official No. 9, also known as a Map press because it could be used to print on small areas on larger sheets of paper (such as a map), was one of … Continue reading

Pearl OS No.14

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Perfection

“The Perfection was made by the Wilkins Toy Company of Keene, N.H. around 1911. It was available with or without a small two- or three-drawer cabinet for type and supplies. Despite its name, the Perfection probably was not able to produce the highest-quality results, due to its small size (see … Continue reading

Rejafix Model M2A

This press, a product of the Rejafix Company of London, has an aluminum body and, in place of an ink plate, an ink drum (also aluminum) with two rubber rollers. The tympan sits on a plate on two tracks in the base, travelling underneath the chase as the handle is … Continue reading

Table-top Prouty

Manufactured in Boston about 1875, this peculiar press of George W. Prouty (who also invented the Star), later manufactured by Kelsey) has a curved ratcheting ink plate for ink distribution.

Uncle Sam Card

The Uncle Sam press was invented in the late 1870s by William C. Evans of Philadelphia. (For more information, see the larger Uncle Sam.) The double-lever Uncle Sam pictured is strikingly similar to its larger counterpart, the Uncle Sam with 4 1/2″ x 7 3/8″ chase; aside from its size, … Continue reading

Uncle Sam No.2

Uncle Sam’s inventor and manufacturer was William C. Evans of Philadelphia, advertising his various presses in Harper’s and Leslie’s in the late 1870s. (Evans was a man of many occupations; at various times he also sold real estate and pianos.) He patented the press movement in 1875, and started advertising … Continue reading

Unknown No.2

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Victor 1×2

J. Cook & Company manufactured a small jobbing press known as the Victor in the 1880s, but the Victor pictured may well have been made by a different company. All we know of this rail press with the name “Victor” cast into its frame is that the chase size is … Continue reading

Victor 2×3

This press has the name Victor cast into the under side of the platen, and may be related to the Victor 1×2.

Victor Side-Lever

Another in the line of Kelsey presses, though this one is called a Victor. The only side-lever press made by Kelsey, it was also made with a 5″x8″ chase. William A. Kelsey began making inexpensive presses for amateurs in 1872. His Excelsior became the longest-lasting press on the market. For … Continue reading

Victory

“The Craftsmen Machinery Company of Boston, Massachusetts, manufactured several tabletop lever presses and at least one floor-model platen jobber. One press in their tabletop line, the Superior, is almost identical to the C&P Pilot except that its chase width is 6 1/2″” instead of 6″”. The C.M.C. Jobber, Craftsmen’s floor … Continue reading

Weiler

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Wells

John I. Wells (1769-1832), was born in East Hartford, Connecticut where he later returned to set up his own business. He made furniture and mattresses before becoming a supplier of high-quality printers ink. To aid in his ink business, Wells devised and patented a press with a lever toggle joint, … Continue reading

Young America

Joseph Watson of Massachusetts opened an office in Boston in 1858 as the agent for the Lowe Press, and in 1861 launched Adams’ Adams Cottage Press in New York. In 1871 Watson patented the Young America, a sturdy press offered in chase sizes from 3 x 4 1/2″ to 10×15″. … Continue reading