Odd-Shaped Book(?) Press

I recently purchased a cast iron press with rather peculiar dimensions. The woman who sold it to me claimed that it was a book press but I am not quite convinced.

The press is about 24” tall and the base size is 17 x 6”. when the top plate is lowered all of the way, there is a 6” gap between the plate and base. Both the plate and the base have an inset area on both ends (as shown in one of the photos).

If anyone could help solve my little mystery I would very much appreciate it! I hardly paid anything for the press and plan on refinishing it, building up the bottom with wood (to compensate for the 6” gap), and using it primarily for small books.

- Amy

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I think this is probably the type of book press called a “standing press”, which was used by bookbinders to press assembled books while the glue dried, to prevent their covers from curling as they dried and to keep the pages flat as well. Its gap is as wide as it is because typically the books were between blocks of wood to permit circulation of air and avoid marking the surfaces, so with some wood and a few books the gap would be filled.

Thanks AdLib,

I am familiar with standing presses, but didn’t realize that it is normal for there to be a gap between the plate and the base when the press is empty.. that would make sense!


It looks to me to be a cigar press. The long moulded cigar drying boards are about that length. The narrow bed and platen make it much harder to use as a binding press.


Thanks Paul!

It is in fact a cigar press. Mystery Solved!

This image is from the Miller, Dubrull & Peters, Mfg. Company 30th Anniversary Edition Catalog - Released May 10, 1900

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