Page 15 - April 2015
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NAME THE PRESS?                              (E) is pivoted at (D), and in use would be pivoted
                                                  up to sit between (B) and (C ).
The following answer to Name the Press No.24
comes from Paul Hatcher (10648):                  The magazine goes on to say that 24 different
I came across the advert on page 3 in the 29      models of this press are available and that they
February 1904 issue of The Caxton Magazine        are becoming more popular in the UK.
and The Press. I had never heard of it, nor seen
any press like it. Apparently it is a sheet-feed  A little more research revealed that this was one
rotary letterpress, the aim being to get the      of a number of small sheet-fed rotary presses
speed advantage of a rotary press in a smaller    manufactured around this time. All suffered
press suitable for jobbing work. The engraving    from the same problem; the need to use curved
below also appeared in that issue of the          stereotypes, as in newspaper presses (although it
magazine, along with an explanation of how it     is interesting that the ad. notes that type can be
works. (A) is the ink fountain, with the feeder,  used for short runs—I wonder how it was held in
delivery and inkers removed, the four rollers     place?). Stereotypes, apart from being difficult
sit in between (A) and (B), the forme cylinder.   for the small printer to make, generally produce
Below is (C), the impression cylinder. (E) is     poorer quality printing than conventional
an auxiliary numbering cylinder, fitted with      letterpress, against which these presses were
five disks to which numbering boxes could be      competing. The solution would have been to
attached, and carrying two forme rollers.         use electros, but at the time these were flat,
                                                  and much more expensive. Curved electros
                                                  only became common in the 1930s. Thus, these
                                                  presses did not really take off. Interestingly,
                                                  sheet-fed rotary letterpress reappeared in the
                                                  1950s with the advent of plastic and rubber
                                                  printing plates, which could be easily curved.

                                                  The Harris press was manufactured by Alfred and
                                                  Charles Harris, two brothers who were inventors
                                                  and worked in a jewellery store in Niles, Ohio
                                                  in the 1890s. They first invented an automatic
                                                  sheet feeder; when this did not work well with
                                                  the presses about at the time, they invented a
                                                  press to go with it—one that would work fast
                                                  enough to make automatic feeding worthwhile.
                                                  This press had one of the first successful auto-
                                                  feeders, and the Harris Automatic Press Co was
                                                  incorporated on 23 November 1895. The Harris
                                                  organisation grew and the rotary press was
                                                  modified in the early 1900s into the first com-
                                                  mercially successful offset press. The firm took
                                                  over several other printing companies, finally
                                                  merging with the Inter-type Corporation in 1957.
                                                  The printing division was sold off in 1983, but
                                                  Harris Corporation can still be found on the web
                                                  as an information and surveillance corporation.

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