Lagonda Platen Press
Lagon­da Plat­en Press

This arti­cle from the British Print­er, 1945.  I find the Lagon­da inter­est­ing because of the unusu­al design — buried under item 4 is the idea that these machines could be sat side-by-side to print colour work: four machines one each for red, yel­low, blue and black.  Per­haps an idea that, while excel­lent, came just as full-colour let­ter­press print­ing was being tak­en less seri­ous­ly. A most impor­tant devel­op­ment in auto­mat­ic plat­en print­ing press­es, embody­ing sev­er­al new mechan­i­cal fea­tures, is short­ly to be pre­sent­ed to the trade. The “Lagon­da” the name of the new machine, is being man­u­fac­tured by the Lagon­da Com­pa­ny, the world-famous auto­mo­bile mak­ers at Staines, Mid­dx. This, their very first entrance into the field of print­ing engi­neer­ing, was prompt­ed by the wish of the direc­tors to main­tain their great­ly aug­ment­ed wartime staff in full post-war employ­ment. With this deter­mi­na­tion in view, the Lagon­da Com­pa­ny secured the ser­vices of Mr. F. J. Clarke, the well-known print­ing engi­neer, whose first design for them result­ed in the pro­duc­tion of the new auto-plat­en. The “Lagon­da” is under­go­ing very exhaus­tive tests and imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing their suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion, the machine will go into gen­er­al pro­duc­tion with a view to mar­ket­ing them com­par­a­tive­ly ear­ly next year. We give below full details of the con­struc­tion, range and per­for­mance of the “Lagon­da” –

  1. The Impres­sion. A full-size crown folio forme, 15 in. x 10 in. can be print­ed with­out throw­ing any extra strain on the machine. A very strong semi-steel plat­en and spe­cial­ly rein­forced ribbed main cast­ing. Microm­e­ter adjust­ment of the impres­sion is pro­vid­ed. The check action of the plat­en is con­trolled by elec­tric sole­noid and push-but­ton by the oper­a­tor. There are no levers to fid­dle with. The type bed and plat­en are ground fin­ish.
  2. Ink­ing Mech­a­nism. Every detail of the ink­ing mech­a­nism from ink duct to the forme roller has received very care­ful and sci­en­tif­ic design. Dou­ble rec­i­p­ro­ca­tion for per­fect milling of the ink is intro­duced so that the ink on the rollers is nev­er in a sta­tion­ary state. The ink drum car­ry­ing the sup­ply to the forme rollers is not large enough in diam­e­ter to car­ry sur­plus unused por­tion, there­fore vir­gin ink is always avail­able. Run­ners on the ends of the forme rollers are V-shaped to pre­vent skid­ding over the forme, and the cir­cum­fer­ence of the forme rollers will car­ry suf­fi­cient ink to roll a full-size forme. Ink check­ing device is incor­po­rat­ed. All rollers on machine are cov­ered with a dust cov­er which can be pushed back for clean­ing.
  3. Feed and Deliv­ery. This is entire­ly a new idea embody­ing a straight fine feed and deliv­ery, both dri­ven by one com­mon mem­ber tak­ing a sheet from the pile on the left side of the plat­en and deliv­er­ing it on to the mov­ing lays on the plat­en and after impres­sion has tak­en place, the sheet is deliv­ered by grip­pers from the forme to deliv­ery table, at the right side of the plat­en. The main idea of this is to make one machine a unit of a mul­ti-colour machine, sev­er­al of which can be cou­pled up and oper­at­ed by a mas­ter switch, four or more colours can then be print­ed at one load­ing. Many of the medi­um-size print­ers have felt the need for a two-colour machine of small size. The Lagon­da auto-plat­en will give him the same result, and he can still use his two machines as sep­a­rate units when desired. There are no cum­ber­some parts in front of the plat­en, the oper­a­tor can get over his plat­en for make-ready.
  4. Main Dri­ve. The machine is dri­ven by elec­tric motor and V belt, and pro­vid­ed with three speeds (stan­dard equip­ment) or (vari­able speed con­trol extra), the belts are moved by sim­ple arrange­ment from larg­er to small­er V pul­leys, all attached to the machine. Push but­tons are used for oper­at­ing the clutch and brake, these are con­ve­nient­ly placed both in front and back of machine on a con­trol pan­el.
  5. Capac­i­ty of Work. From a vis­it­ing card to crown folio size, in thick­ness of stock vary­ing from 7-lb. bank paper to 12-sheet board. Small formes of cut­ting and creas­ing can be done and a spe­cial steel plate pro­vid­ed to be secured to the plat­en sur­face. Spray­ing the print­ed sheet to pre­vent set-off can be sup­plied with each machine at small extra cost.
  6. Equip­ment. A full set of span­ners and screw­drivers. Two chas­es, one full size and one card chase.  One set of clothed rollers and one set of stocks. Two sets of rub­ber suck­ers for use with thick card.
  7. Sim­ple Oper­a­tion. The aim has been to pro­vide a first-class machine to run at very high speed of 5,500 prints per hour with­out vibra­tion and with sim­plic­i­ty of oper­a­tion. Any print­er can oper­ate this machine after a few min­utes’ instruc­tion. Ser­vice depots will be estab­lished in every dis­trict.

The incur­sion of the Lagon­da Com­pa­ny into the field of print­ing engi­neer­ing is not going to stop at the intro­duc­tion of the auto-plat­en. We are informed that they have sev­er­al projects in view, and from the long con­ver­sa­tion we had with Mr. Clarke and two of his asso­ciates, much of it we regret “off the record” at this ear­ly stage — we gath­er that the com­pa­ny will be spring­ing one or two more sur­pris­es on the print­ing indus­try before very long. The sole dis­trib­u­tors of the “Lagon­da” for this coun­try and over­seas are The Vic­to­ry Kid­del: Print­ing Machine Co., Ltd., Clifford’s Inn, Fleet Street, Lon­don, E.C.4.