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
This press has the name Victor cast into the under side of the platen, and may be related to the 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
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
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
William Kelsey became famous for his Excelsior line of amateur presses (see the Excelsior 3×5 for more about Kelsey), but the Kelsey Company did manufacture a few jobbing presses like the Star, which was in fact invented by George W. Prouty in 1870 (see also the Prouty Press). The Kelsey … Continue reading
The Stansbury press was patented April 7, 1821, by the Reverend Abraham Ogier Stansbury (1776-1829). Born in Philadelphia in 1776, Stansbury was, according to S.O. Saxe, “at various times, a bookseller and publisher, grocer, one of the first superintendents of a school for the deaf in the United States, the … Continue reading
The first all-iron printing press, the Stanhope was invented around 1803 in England by Charles, the third Earl Stanhope, who devoted his life to science and technology, and especially to attempts to improve the techniques of printing. He never patented his press, preferring to make it and its advances available … Continue reading
Peter Smith, brother-in-law and partner to the more famous Robert Hoe, introduced his press around 1821, positioning it to compete with the press invented by John Wells, the Wells. Wells in fact accused Smith of patent infringement, as the toggle mechanism of the latter’s press closely resembles that of the … Continue reading
Peter Smith introduced his press around 1821 with a toggle mechanism that distinguished it from other iron hand presses (some of which also have acorn frames). See the Cincinnati Type Foundry’s Smith (Cincinnati) press for more information. The press pictured is another of the exquisite replicas made by Steve Pratt … Continue reading
The Adana catalog indicates that the Showcard does require the setting of type: “This machine has been specially designed for the quick production of display material. It produces one copy as economically as several. It is so simply arranged that the type can be set in minutes (no chase required). … Continue reading
Joseph Watson began manufacturing the Samson press in 1885 in New York. The No.2 pictured is an Oldstyle model, which was followed in 1895 by an Improved model. The Improved, which included an impression throw-off, was made in two different grades, the first and better of these having more steel … Continue reading
This curious machine from H.B. Rouse & Company, Chicago, is used when making corners on lead or rule strips. While the Rouse Lead and Rule is used for making straight cuts, the miterer adds a bevel or angle where two pieces will be joined perpendicularly, such as in the creation … Continue reading
Another lovely, strange machine from H.B. Rouse & Company of Chicago. Thin strips of lead used between lines of type; and rules, type-high strips of brass or type-metal used for printing borders or lines, can be purchased in precut lengths. Do-it-yourselfers use a machine like the Rouse Lead & Rule … Continue reading
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
The Ramage, a wooden hand press with iron platen, was built in 1820 by Scottish-born Adam Ramage (1772-1850), who sought, in his own words, “to render the hand press efficient, simple in construction, and moderate in price.” He succeeded; S.O. Saxe writes that Ramage “became widely known as the maker … Continue reading
The Ramage, a wooden hand press with iron platen, was built in 1820 by Scottish-born Adam Ramage (see Ramage Screw). The tabletop Ramage, at 38″ high, is the smallest of the three sizes of presses built by Ramage: a full-size common press; an intermediate free-standing press which Ramage called his … Continue reading
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.
George W. Prouty manufactured his presses in Boston between 1878 and 1926.
The Philadelphia was patented in 1833 by Adam Ramage, of Philadelphia. Like Ramage’s earlier wooden presses (see Ramage and Ramage Foolscap), the Philadelphia was “sternly utilitarian in looks,” as Elizabeth Harris writes. The earliest Philadelphia presses had a simple elbow toggle lever, similar to that of the Wells. (After 1842 … Continue reading
“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
This Perfected Prouty, invented by George W. Prouty, was manufactured by the Boston Printing Press M’F’G’ Co. of Boston, Massachusetts. The patent dates on this press are from April 1886 to August 1888.
Called “The Pearl,” this stamp most likely does not have any relation to the popular presses of the same name made by William Golding (see Pearl OS No.1). This small stamp operates in much the same way as does a waffle iron, imprinting a honeycomb-pattern into a piece of paper. … Continue reading
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. (More at Pearl OS No.1). The Pearl remains today one of the most popular presses for amateur letterpress printing. … Continue reading
This beautiful piece of machinery is a 23-inch hand-operated Peerless Gem paper cutter. It was made by the Peerless Printing Press Co. of Palmyra, New York. Excluding the handle, it is 38″ wide by 48″ deep. The height to the top of the handle is about 60″, and the cutter … Continue reading
Cuts paper. Not to be used lightly.
This padding press is used to make pads of paper. A board is placed at either side of a stack of paper, which is placed into the padding press. The side-screw on the press is tightened to hold the sheets of paper firmly together. Padding glue is applied to one … Continue reading
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
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
“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
This metal office stamp is included in the Museum because it uses metal type for printing, not the usual rubber type so common in the later stamps, although the type is short type, only about 3/8″ high. The stamp pictured was made in 1871 and has a screw that holds … Continue reading
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
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
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
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
“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
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
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
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.
The Lowe cone press, invented and patented by Samuel W. Lowe of Philadelphia in 1856, was advertised as a cheap press for amateurs and tradesmen, with the slogan “Every man his own printer.” It is the oldest of the small, portable presses suitable for amateurs (William Kelsey later positioned his … Continue reading
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
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
“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
“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
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
Johann Gutenberg (c.1398-1468), German printer and pioneer in the use of movable type, is generally regarded as the first European to print with hand-set type cast in molds. The modern printing process, which he delveloped, caused a revolution in the education of the public, who previously had little, if any, … Continue reading
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
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 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
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
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
In 1851, George Phineas Gordon, a New Yorker, patented the first of his platen jobbers, whose now-familiar design formed the basis of almost every floor-model platen jobber to follow. Gordon’s jobbers soon replaced those designed after the Ruggles Card & Billhead, an early platen jobber and the first with a … Continue reading
This English common press, made around 1720, may have been used by Benjamin Franklin in John Watts’ shop in London around 1726. The common press, a wooden hand press that uses a large wood screw to create an impression on paper, is based closely on Gutenberg’s press, which was designed … Continue reading
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.
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 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
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
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
The Damon & Peets Company of New York sold several presses in the late 1800s and early 1900s. An 8×12 press similar to this one is pictured in a 1904 D&P catalog, which claims the press is capable of completing a run of 2000 sheets per hour. The press takes … Continue reading
The D&P 6×10, or “Favorite,” was sold by Damon & Peets Company, a printing equipment concern of New York, between 1887 and 1894 Simple clamshell jobbers like this one–on which platen and bed were hinged below their lower edges to close on each other in clamshell fashion–were distributed by dealers, … Continue reading
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
Mini Copy Press This 19th-century miniature black iron, screw-type copy press is only 3 1/2 inches high, 4 inches long, and 2 1/2 inches wide. Like its larger cousin (see Copy Press 1), this one is not a letterpress, but was often found in print shops.
For details about how a copy press works, see Copy Press 1.
For details about how a copy press works, see Copy Press 1.
For details about how a copy press works, see Copy Press 1.
For details about how a copy press works, see Copy Press 1.
While the copy press is not a letterpress, it is an important part of any well-outfitted print shop. Copy presses (also known as book or nipping presses) were traditionally used as primitive copying machines; modern-day uses include pressing water out of handmade paper and drying flowers. How did a copy … Continue reading
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.
The Columbian press was invented in 1813 by George Clymer (1752-1834), a Philadelphia mechanic. From 1800 Clymer had been building wooden presses, and then versions of the new iron hand presses from Europe. His Columbian was original, not only for its extravagant design but for its levers and counterweights. Like … Continue reading
The story of the Colts Armory Press begins with Merritt Gally, a press maker in New York. In 1869 Gally patented his Universal Press, the predecessor of the Colts Armory press. The Universal was manufactured at the Colt’s Firearm Company of Hartford, Connecticut, maker of the eponymous Revolver and known … Continue reading
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
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
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.
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
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
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
There are less than six known surviving printing presses made by the Boston inventor and press maker Stephen P. Ruggles (1808-1880). Ruggles patented his Card & Billhead press in 1851. (No relation to the Card & Billhead made by Boston & Fairhaven Iron Works in 1871.) It was one of … Continue reading
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
In 1886, William T. Price, a mechanic, and Harrison T. Chandler, an investor, formed a company in Cleveland, Ohio for the production of presses based on Gordon’s old-style Franklin Jobber. The oldstyle C&P shown, built in 1911, is very similar in design to the Gordon Franklin, as is the 8×12 … Continue reading
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
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
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
S.O. Saxe writes, “This is the only surviving Alert press I know of.” It was made in Boston between 1877 and 1889 by Gorham & Co., which made various small presses.
This is the floor model Albion press used by William Morris, founder of the Arts and Crafts Movement, to produce his most highly-regarded book, “The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer” (1896). (For information on Richard Whittaker Cope and his Albion press, see the table-top Albion.) Jethro Lieberman: “Manufactured in 1891, Albion … Continue reading
The counterweight Albion was originally built in London around 1827 by Richard Whittaker Cope, inventor of the Albion press. The addition of a counterweight, typically in the shape of an urn or the royal arms, was intended to increase the strength of an impression, thus creating a better print. Very … Continue reading
The Albion, a direct descendant of Gutenberg’s wooden press (see the Gutenberg), was an English bench-top press invented by Richard Whittaker Cope (?-1828) of London. The date of invention is not known, but the first record of the press is from 1822 when some Albions were imported into France. Presumably … Continue reading
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The Adams Cottage press was patented by Albert Adams in 1861 and manufactured by Joseph Watson (inventor of the Young America), operating as the Adams Press Company, in New York. The press was advertised as a portable, do-it-yourself press for amateurs and businessmen. The Cottage Press prints from either end, … Continue reading
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
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
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