Presses old

Presses old
Acorn Press

The Acorn Press

The Acorn press is a gift of UC Santa Cruz to special collections at UCR. It was a workhorse press of the 1820s and 1830s. Like the Columbian press, the Acorn was invented and manufactured in the United States. It is much smaller, simpler and less ornate than the Columbian, but it can work just as hard. It is actually made to be disassembled and put into the back of a wagon to be taken across the country and found use in Middle America in the 1830s 1840s. It was expensive because of its weight and the cost of shipping it never made it to California. This press was used at UC Santa Cruz by the printer poet William Beaverson, the former Order of Preachers lay brother who used this press for his poetry after he left the order of the church. It is in very good preservation and has a very good home.


The Albion Press

This Hopkinson & Cope, situated in the Special Collections reading room, was purchased fifteen years ago from a printer in northern California who was moving and did not want to ship it across the country. Received in 1995, it has seen a lot of work in its time. How many thousands of human hands have used it through out the 19th and 20th century brings back the nostalgia of the people who once used this press and those who allowed it to survive. One of the tragedies that has occurred, that the relics of our civilization, which this is a perfect example, were mostly melted down in the time of WWI into Bombs and bullets and our heritage in that way taken away from us. Fortunately this one survived and is in good hands and safe keeping for the future.


The Albion Press

The Hopkinson Cope table-top Albion press No. 2450 was purchased from Robert Harland who obtained it from Robert Levenson who was instrumental in getting the press from England. It is in a perfect state of preservation.


The Asbern Press

The Asbern reproduction proofing press is the Bentley model of proofing presses of the 20th century. Made in two sizes and very useful, these Asberns saw a great deal of usage in American print shops in the 50s, 60s and 70s, but after the age of mechanical typesetting these presses also became redundant and were shipped off to a corner. This press was used by a young woman by the name of Christine Bertleson who was trained at the Scripps College Press and used this press in a studio in her home. When she left the Claremont colleges she came to UC Riverside with her husband to teach in the art department. The press was used in her home for reproduction proofs and ephemera until Christine left Riverside, the press was left in the garage until it was purchased and given back to UC Riverside where it has been a workhorse for the students and the faculty. Presses of this caliber will never be manufactured again. It is a fine example of 20th century printing.


The C&P Pilot Press

This is the C&P pilot press 6”x10”, an iron press manufactured in the US that dates 1900 1905. It was acquired by Dr. Petko in the early 80s from a dealer named Theodore Sullivan. Dr. Petko paid the, back then, enormous sum of 250 dollars for the press. The press was lent to Hilleary who took it to Monterey, California where this press lived in 1982 until 2007. This press was a workhorse press in 1895 to 1912 when most US printers used it for calling cards and memos. On a press like this you could easily pull 250 impressions an hour. Many of Hilleary's miniature books were printed on this press. It is a historical landmark of the printing presses used in the United States.

The Columbian Press

The Columbian press, manufactured in 1834 by George Clymer, was originally made of wood and constructed in the vicinity of New York around 1812. George Clymer's press did not sell well in America and because of this he moved to London in 1819 and began selling his press there. By the time 1834 came around Clymer found that iron would make a better printing press material so his wood presses were cast in iron and turned out exactly like this one. This press was restored in 1975-76 and was stored at UCLA until it was moved to UC Riverside where it was repainted with 24k gold by Janet Takahashi. Used for printing newspapers until newspaper printing became mechanized, the Columbian Press is a true Victorian Era relic.


Heyer Stencil Duplicator Model 1770

An ancestor of today's computer printers, this device is also called a mimeograph. This duplicating machine uses a stencil consisting of a coated fiber sheet through which ink is pressed.

The Kelsey Excelsior Printing Press

This press was first manufactured around the turn of the century inviting the public to use printing presses in their own homes. This Press was donated to UC Riverside by Dr. E. Petko.

The Franklin Press

The Benjamin Franklin common press, not that he used this specific press, is identical to the press he was apprenticed on while he worked for his brother living in London in the 1720s. It was also this type of press that he used in his office when he came to America. This particular press was probably made in the 1970s as a work of love by a man on the east coast. Dr. Petko purchased it from the man's daughter after his death. It is in perfect working condition and the last thing that it was used to print was a 24 page church cook book by the man's daughter. It is the closest relative to the common wood press from the revolutionary war.

The Harma Press

This Harma press serial number 0 is the prototype for Harma presses 1-15. It was manufactured by an engineer living in Sacramento by the name of Smith. The occasion for the development of this press was a dinner meeting between Harold Smith who designed the press and Roger Levenson of the Tamalpais Press. Roger was complaining about the fact that hand presses were becoming scarce and expensive and they always needed a lot of tinkering with make ready. Smith decided to come up with a design that would meet Levenson's needs. This press is the prototype and smaller model of all the others, it has the distinction of being made of steel and the iron of the first iron bridge made in California nearly a century ago called the Carcincas bridge in northern California, Harold smith salvaged some of the steel and iron from the making of the bridge and used it for making this particular model. There are three other Harmas, all the presses after that had helmed steel bases. The Harma press was named for Harold and his wife Alma, he made a total of 15 numbered from 1 to 15 there was no model 13, but Harold wasn't superstitious, but a number 13 cannot be found. UCR has two of the modern Harmas plus the prototype; this is the ultimate restatement of the 19th century printing press bought to perfection. The impression bar can be pulled from either side right or left and adjustable ink roller guide. Regrettably none of these will ever be made again. This press was given to Dr. Petko by Alma Smith, Harold's widow, in late 2000. Dr. Petko bought the zero model back in 1975 after models 1-3 were made and Smith had no use for the prototype. Dr. Petko left it at Mission San Fernando. Then Roger Hilleary took the prototype and used it for 25 years printing miniature books, some of which are here in Special Collections. After his eyesight began to fail him, Roger Hilleary gave the press back to Dr. Petko. The other Harma press, with the oak base, was originally used by Levenson in his studio in Berkeley called the Tamalpais Press. He used it for a period of years and then decided to improve it and instead went to a steel base from an oak base and let Dr. Petko purchase the older model.


The Imperial Press

This Imperial Press purchased in the 1980s and came from England. It was never uncrated and was stored for a period of years in the garage. The Imperial is somewhat similar to the Albion in construction; however the imperial press was made by a different manufacturer and with a different mechanism for taking the impression. The impression of the Albion derives its strength from a series of linkages in the head of the press, whereas this one works on compound levers to multiply the force that has been exerted by the pull of the printer. This particular press is exceedingly rare because of its small diminutive size and for teaching students it is a jewel of a press to have. Unlike many of its counterparts in those days—the Albions, the Standhopes and the Columbians—this press, too, suffered the indignity of being replaced by steam driven engines. With a press like this, two people could turn out a total of 600 to 700 impressions a day and in those days in England the working day was 10 to 10 and half hours long. These presses were cosigned to the backrooms in the country with regional printers until WWI when many were melted down into bombs and bullets.


The Field Press

The Field Press is an example of few surviving relics that's still portable in terms of iron presses. It was invented in 1865 by a man on the east coast by the name of Adams. Many of these presses were taken into the field in during the American Civil War and were used for military orders. It was on a press exactly like this that on the last day of the war at Gettysburg where General Robert E. Lee published his famous, “Order No. 9”, declaring surrender to General Grant of the north and issuing safe conduct passes to all his soldiers and troops. This particular press is in first rate condition and was acquired from Dawson's book store 15 or 20 years ago. Back then it was a colossal sum of money and in retrospect it was a good deal.


Proofing Press

This is a Reproduction Proofing Press with a hand operated, very heavyweight iron cylinder acquired in the early 80s when it was to be junked for scrap. There were several models used for proofing newspapers. In the 1920s an entrepreneur by the name of Miles Irving saw the opportunity to advertise his nerve tonic pills and began to sell these presses at a discount to anyone who would use them in their printing offices if they gave him free advertising for his patent medicine called Dr. Miles Irving Tonic. This press was restored in summer of 1999 or 2000. It is in a functional state.


Vandercook Proofing Press

The Vandercook Proof Press model was acquired by Dr. Petko in the 1990s and was taken from the Zamorano Club from Anthony Kroll, a great artist and great hand engraver. Many bookplates were proofed on this press.


Last modified: 6/15/2009 4:21 PM by G. Zlatkes

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