George Phineas Gordon’s Platen Job Press

George Phineas Gordon’s Platen Job Press
Until 1880, inventors had to submit models along with their patent applications to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Some models were crudely made but others, like this wooden press, were fine and exacting replicas.
Known as the father of the platen press, George Phineas Gordon received his first patent in 1850 and submitted over 50 more in his lifetime. This particular patent, No. 148,050, implemented improvements in the operation of the platen, grippers and ink distribution.
Gordon’s platen, or job, press was one of the first truly American contributions to printing technology. The basic and fairly simple platen design was copied extensively.
About seventy different manufacturers in the US produced their own versions. In its day, it was used for small printing jobs like handbills, tickets, programs, and business forms.
Today, many commercial shops still have a “jobber” for imprinting, numbering or die-cutting; and it is a mainstay with letterpress printers.
The Museum of Printing has several versions of the Gordon press
Source: George Phineas Gordon’s Platen Job Press

The Stanhope Press lands in South Australia, 1836.

03_stanhope_press_98-97The first printing press which was landed with the Free Settlers of South Australia in late 1836 was a Stanhope (hand driven) Press, which was located in a crude tent occupied by the Thomas family on the North Bend of the “Paddywallunga” River at Glenelg.
The Stanhope Press was owned by Mr Robert Thomas and Mr George Stevenson, Secretary to Governor Hindmarsh, the State’s first Governor.
The Act of Proclamation and first Government Gazette had been printed in England some six months before the Settlers arrived.
The Proclamation Ceremony was held at Glenelg in December, 1836.
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The Captain of the ship that landed the Stanhope Press felt the metal type on board would make perfect ballast for his crossing of the treacherous Tasman Sea to Hobart.
Unfortunately Robert Thomas was unaware that his type was on its way to Tassie.
A frustrated Robert Thomas was finally re-united with his precious cases of metal type some time after the first landing.
In June, 1837, the second edition of the Government Gazette and Colonial Register was produced.
At that time the Printing Office had been moved to Hindley Street, Adelaide.
derwombat

Old Guv Machine Room, circa 1910.

Image Capture: Excellent quality photograph of what is believed to be the Machine Room at the Government Printing Office when it was situated in King William Road, Adelaide. Photo taken possibly 1910 or thereabouts.
This Photograph was kindly Supplied by Mr Alex Riley, a wealthy resident of one of Adelaide’s more upper class neighbourhoods situated in the beautiful Adelaide Hills, South Australia.
I might just add that the room looks like a workers’ nightmare for workplace accidents, loss of limbs and possibly death.
derwombat

“The Stanhope” First Printing Press in the Colony.

03_stanhope_press_98-97The first Printing Press in the Colony was landed at Holdfast Bay on 8th November, 1836, from the barque “Africaine”.
The Press was offloaded on to the Beach just South of the Patawalonga mouth.
The Stanhope was a Demy Press invented by Earl Stanhope at the beginning of the 19th Century and superseded the wooden presses in use at that time.
With two competent operators it could produce 250 page impressions in one hour.
Caxton47

The Illustrated London News, c. 1842.

Illustrated_London_News_-_front_page_-_first_edition
Printer and newsagent Herbert Ingram moved from Nottingham to London in early 1842. Inspired by how the Weekly Chronicle always sold more copies when it featured an illustration, he had the idea of publishing a weekly newspaper that would contain pictures in every edition.
Ingram’s initial idea was that it would concentrate on crime reporting, as per the later Illustrated Police News, but his collaborator, engraver Henry Vizetelly, convinced him that a newspaper covering more general news would enjoy greater success.
Ingram rented an office, recruited artists and reporters, and employed as his editor Frederick William Naylor Bayley (1808–1853), formerly editor of the National Omnibus.
The first issue of the The Illustrated London News appeared on Saturday 14 May 1842.
Its 16 pages and 32 wood engravings covered topics such as the war in Afghanistan, a train crash in France, a survey of the candidates for the United States presidential election, extensive crime reports, an account of a fancy dress ball at Buckingham Palace, theatre and book reviews, and a list of births, marriages and deaths.
The newspaper also carried three pages of advertisements for items such as a taxidermy manual, Madame Bernard’s treatment for baldness, and Smith’s quinine tonic. Ingram hired 200 men to carry placards through the streets of London promoting the first edition of his new newspaper.
Costing sixpence, the first edition sold 26,000 copies. Despite this initial success, sales of the second and subsequent editions were disappointing.
However, Herbert Ingram was determined to make his newspaper a success, and sent every clergyman in the country a copy of the edition which contained illustrations of the installation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and by this means secured a great many new subscribers.
Its circulation soon increased to 40,000 and by the end of its first year was 60,000.
In 1851, after the newspaper published Joseph Paxton’s designs for the Crystal Palace before even Prince Albert had seen them, the circulation rose to 130,000.
In 1852, when it produced a special edition covering the funeral of the Duke of Wellington, sales increased to 150,000; and in 1855, mainly due to the newspaper reproducing some of Roger Fenton’s pioneering photographs of the Crimean War (and also due to the abolition of the Stamp Act which taxed newspapers), it sold 200,000 copies per week.
By 1863 The Illustrated London News was selling more than 300,000 copies every week, enormous figures in comparison to other British newspapers of the time.
Read more via The Illustrated London News – Wikipedia

Little Lew Morrison.

9709c71bThe late Little Lew Morrison accidentally ended up in the “Royal Navy” during World War II.
Whilst pretending to be a Sea Scout he got drafted and soon was entertaining all the sailors and troops. Not many knew it, but Lew looked like Fred Astaire and he danced like him as well. Well, almost!
He became famous and was known as the most famous exponent of scottish hornpipery throughout the Seven Seas.
But, sadly it didn’t last because one stormy night when it was blowing a gale Lew decided to entertain the sailors on the Night Watch with a little jig.
As he leapt into the air a stormy gust of wind grabbed his little scarecrow body and flung him across the deck nearly into the angry raging sea.
But luckily his leg stopped his slide into oblivion when it smashed into a railing and with a crack that could be heard above the storm it snapped.
Poor old “Twinkle Toes”.
Then there was a long period of convalescence where he tried vainly to dance for the pretty English nurses. But the damage was done, no more Fred, no more hornpipe and no more skipping happily and gaily throughout the Scottish highlands.
It is a period of Lew’s life that has been kept hidden from humankind right up until now.
God Bless you “Twinkle Toes.”
derwombat

Melbourne printing museum goes under the hammer.

The biggest event to occur in a generation or more was the auction of the Melbourne Museum of Printing at the end of November.
While Australia has a great number of printing museums scattered around the country, there has only really been one that could lay claim to being a national printing museum: the Melbourne Museum of Printing. This museum was the collection personally created by Michael Isaacson in the hope that there would be a significant and lasting collection of our printing history available.
I had first met Isaacson when I visited his warehouse in the early Eighties. Someone once commented to me that he was an omnivorous collector—a hoarder, even—who, through his all-encompassing collecting, had prevented others from getting equipment, especially individuals who wanted to set up letterpress printeries.
Quite the opposite, I believe. For Isaacsen originally set himself up as a vendor of letterpress machinery and equipment.
From what I have been told—I was never close or in touch with Isaacsen though I visited and was given the Grand Tour on several occasions—his family owned a property in the country outside of Melbourne.
He discovered the Adana when young and his interest over the years developed into what eventually became the Melbourne Museum of Printing.
This was at a time when people couldn’t get rid of printing machinery and equipment fast enough. Often it was sold for scrap if only to prevent someone from setting up in competition knocking out business cards and letterheads. I remember well one printery which started off as a private press and which had smashed up their Albion for scrap, keeping only the base to use as a stone.
This was the general climate at the time. The dissolution of the New South Wales Government Printing Office in 1989 was part of a wave of closures of these massive and historic printeries throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Another fire sale of Australian printing history. Such printeries had histories which went back to the early years of the colonies to before we became Australia and often contained historic machinery and equipment going back to these early times.
I believe that Isaacsen’s massive and historically important collection of Monotype mats were from the collection of the New South Wales Government Printer. And, no doubt, much else of what was in the collection came from similar sources.
Source: Association of European Printing Museums ~ Australian national printing museum goes under the hammer

Albrecht Pfister, Printer and Publisher c.1400s.

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Daniel in the lion’s den, from the Historie von Joseph, Daniel, Judith und Esther (Bamberg: Albrecht Pfister, 1462), f.19r. JRL 9375.
Pfister is an even more shadowy figure than Johann Gutenberg, and what is known of him comes from analysis of the nine editions he is generally thought to have printed.
Trained as a cleric, he worked in Bamberg, Germany, and by 1460 he was acting as secretary to the prince-bishop of the city.
As a printer he is credited with being responsible for two innovations in the use of the new technology: printing books in the German language, and printing woodcut illustrations at the same time as the type.
He produced the first printed editions of popular German stories, Der Ackermann aus Boehmen, a poetic dialogue between the ‘Ploughman’ and ‘Death’ who has deprived him of his young wife, and a collection of fables entitled Der Edelstein.
The John Rylands Library holds the only complete examples in Britain of books printed by Pfister, including his Historie von Joseph, Daniel, Judith und Esther and the Biblia Pauperum of 1462.
via First Impressions | Albrecht Pfister.

Chromatic Wood Type and Borders 1874.

Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type and Borders (1874)
Some select pages from the exquisite Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type, Borders, Etc. (1874), a specimen book produced by the William H. Page wood type company.
Chromatic types, which were made to print in two or more colours, were first produced as wood type by Edwin Allen, and shown by George Nesbitt in his 1841 Fourth Specimen of Machinery Cut Wood Type.
It is William H Page’s book, however, that is considered to be the highpoint of chromatic wood type production.
As well as providing over 100 pages of brilliantly coloured type, the book can also be seen, at times, to act as some sort of accidental experimental poetry volume, with such strange snippets as “Geographical excursion knives home” and “Numerous stolen mind” adorning its pages.
One wonders whether the decisions about what words to feature and in what order were entirely arbitrary.
Thanks to the wonderful Bibliodyssey blog where we came across the book: visit the post there for more info on the book and a great list of related links.

Source: Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type and Borders (1874) – The Public Domain Review

The Vandercook Proof Press.

In the early 20th century, printers were still pulling crude proofs from hand presses and simple galley roller presses that depended on gravity for the impression.
In 1909, R.O. Vandercook was the first to develop a geared, rigid-bed cylinder proof press, a machine capable of providing the industry with high-quality proofs from metal types and photoengravings.
The company’s reputation was built on technical innovation and quality construction, and for the next fifty years Vandercook & Sons set the standard for subsequent manufacturers in the U.S. and Europe.
In the 1960s, when offset lithography eclipsed letterpress as the leading commercial printing method, printers began decommissioning their letterpress equipment (often giving it away).
As a result, Vandercook presses began to be adopted by artists and hobbyists for short-run edition printing due to their ease of operation.
Now widely found in art schools and book arts centers, Vandercooks are arguably the press of choice for fine press printers and book artists.
via Vandercook Time Line – Vanderblog.