Stanhope Press

Stanhope Press (Fig. 1)

Stan­hope Press (Fig. 1)

In the year 1800, how­ever, a decided step for­ward was made by the pro­duc­tion of an iron press, inven­ted by the then Earl Stan­hope. This was not only stronger and more dur­able, by reason of the mater­ial used in its con­struc­tion, but a much lar­ger forme could be impressed at a time, the platen, being made con­sid­er­ably lar­ger than in the old presses.

In all presses, as has been seen, it is neces­sary to have a flat table, called a type-bed or bed, on which the forme rests, and the flat plane or platen which gives the impression.

But if the platen were always over the type forme, the ink­ing of the lat­ter and the lay­ing on of the paper would be mat­ters of great dif­fi­culty. Hence pro­vi­sion was made, even in the early presses, for with­draw­ing the bed from under the platen after each impres­sion, thus leav­ing the type free to be inked and to receive the paper. In the Stan­hope and all other mod­ern hand­printing presses, the bed is moun­ted on an iron car­riage, which is run in and out on rails or run­ners by means of a handle, and an end­less band. When the handle is turned one way the car­riage moves towards the platen, and passes under it until it reaches the pos­i­tion in which the type should receive the impres­sion. When the handle is turned the reverse way the car­riage recedes, and goes to the far end of the rails or runners.

Again it is very desir­able to have some arrange­ment whereby the sheet may be very accur­ately laid on the type.  For this pur­pose a kind of leaf or flap is hinged to one end of the bed, and the paper is fixed upon it to cer­tain marks when it is in an upright pos­i­tion. It is then turned down, and the paper comes upon the type in the exact pos­i­tion in which it is wanted.

This arrange­ment is called a tym­pan, a name acquired from its being like the top of a drum (tym­panum). It con­sists of a thin frame of metal, over which parch­ment or cloth is stretched.  The paper to be prin­ted is laid upon this, and the bot­tom side of the tym­pan being join­ted or hinged to the bed of the press, it is only neces­sary to turn it down, in order to bring the paper in con­tact with the type.

In the annexed illus­tra­tion of the Stan­hope Press, A is the plane or “platen,” which rises and falls, but always remains par­al­lel to the parts that come beneath it. The plane or ” bed,” on whioh the type is laid, is marked B. The tym­pan is marked G. The sheet of paper is laid on the side of C facing the platen, and the tym­pan is turned down flat on B. The lat­ter then travels on the two rails until it comes under A, and there the forme receives the impres­sion. After this the car­riage is with­drawn, the tym­pan lif­ted, and the sheet removed.

In the illus­tra­tion is another flap, D, hinged upon the tym­pan. This is called the fiisket, and its uses are chiefly to hold the sheet and pre­vent it from fall­ing, and to pre­vent the mar­gins of the paper being soiled, as will be explained here­after. After the sheet has been placed upon the tym­pan, C, the frisket is fol­ded down upon it, and both together are fol­ded down upon the type forme.

This arrange­ment of platen, car­riage, bed, tym­pan, and frisket is the same in all the hand presses; the only dif­fer­ence between them lies in the mode in which the power is acquired for bring­ing down the platen.

It needs hardly to be said that the lar­ger the forme is the lar­ger the platen must be, and in pro­por­tion as these are large so must the power be for giv­ing the impres­sion. It will obvi­ously be easier to take an impres­sion of a square inch of type than one of a forme meas­ur­ing a square yard. For this reason platens in the old days were small, and when the forme was large part only at a time was brought under the platen; and hence, inas­much as many formes required two pulls, the press was often called a ” two-pull press.”

The Stan­hope Press.-Lord Stan­hope, how­ever, not only so strengthened the platen, by rib­bing it as shown in the illus­tra­tion, but, by devis­ing a sys­tem of levers, enabled a man with one pull to give a suf­fi­cient impres­sion to a forme of con­sid­er­able size.

Stanhope Press Lever System (Figs. 2 and 3)

Stan­hope Press Lever Sys­tem (Figs. 2 and 3)

The arrange­ment of these levers is shown in Fig. 2 and Fig. 3, but in the press itself they are placed hori­zont­ally. The handle, instead of being hinged in the centre of the press, moves on a pivot close to the press­man. At the outer edge or staple of the press is an upright pil­lar or arbour, its lower end rest­ing on a. pivot, its upper being held by a top plate through which it passes. The handle then acts through the series of levers on the screw„ and on the platen attached to it. When the lat­ter is raised, the arrange­ment is as in Fig. 2.  But when the press­man has pulled the handle into the pos­i­tion shown in Fig. 3, the platen is-depressed and presses the forme.

By this arrange­ment the levers are, at the time of impress­ing the sheet, in the pos­i­tion when most power is given out, and when most power is wanted. In the des­cent of the platen, at first merely motion is required; after that, power. The old presses which the Stan­hope super­seded were screwed up and down, with equal velo­city and power through­out all parts of their travel.  With the Stan­hope press about 200 impres­sions can be taken in an hour.

From the 1892 Edi­tion of Prac­tical Print­ing by John Southward