Lagonda Platen Press

The unusu­ally-designed and fairly rare press from the 1950s

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.