I am looking to get in touch with the owner of the R Hoe Washington Press Serial No. 3913. Any help will be appreciated.
Log in to reply 17 replies so far
Jk sie Masz.
You might try
I know I’ll get it right…
“Jak sie masz?”
I had contacted Bob last year but he did not have that serial number recorded in his database.
If you don’t mind me asking, why are you looking for that particular press?
I have a photo of it and I’d like to give a scan to the owner.
A noble effort. I located an period photo of the Hoe press at the Center for the Book Arts in New York. I sent them a scan and never received even an acknowledgement of the email. Some people don’t appreciate history or those that attempt to preserve it. I’d love to see the photo. As a Hoe owner I’m always interested to see the different body styles used in the castings over the years. I have stored on my Flickr file an image of a press that is only 3 digits from the one in your photo, number 3916. According to the adjustments I’ve made to my list of serial numbers it dates the one in your photo to about 1860.
As part of my study of the Hoe serial numbers, and after correspondence with Paul about this, I found the following: A Hoe Co. representative stated in 1965 that press # 5400 was made in 1870, and it appears that press #1628 was sold about 1835 or 1836 to the Georgia Citizen. Press #2066 was purchased by the American Bible Society in the mid-1840s. Press #2480 was purchased by the USGPO in 1863 for $205.50, but this may have been a resale of an older press. Press #6184 was sold by the factory to a printer in Galveston in 1906. My serial number list has been adjusted to accommodate these dates. (Anomalously, press 1570 has a date of 1849 cast into the head.) Based on this information I believe #3913 was probably made about 1850.
Since Hoe didn’t acquire the patents until 1835 there is no way that a Washington Press #1628 was made that early. My earlier list puts press #3913 with a date of 1855, unfortunately without bills of sale we will never really know when the presses were made.
I assume there is no quick answer to my search for Press # 3913. I knew it was a long shot but I thought I’d try.
In 2002 I spent a couple days researching some of the Hoe records archived at Columbia University in NYC. I came across the letter dated 1837 to (or) from the Georgia Citizen which may be related to what Bob references.
The letter was a request for a large chase to fit their press SN 1628 with platen size 25x39 / bed 28x44, which was purchased 15 months prior. (A press that size would have been an Imperial #5) It was signed by L. Tuffy Andrews (sp?). It was housed in Box# 2; Letter# 371 should anyone wish to verify.
Other letters referencing a sale and press size were scattered thru the files as well, but I never found another letter which listed BOTH the serial number and the date sold. I could have missed some as my eyes were getting crossed as searching wore on. One doesn’t get to scan the stacks at the Columbia Rare book room, which can make for a long day, as a page has to retrieve each request and or make copies.
Hoe did re-sell presses which they may have foreclosed on for non-payment. This might also complicate dating.
One of the more interesting references I found was in 1855 the Hoe firm made for Mr R Raphael, Mexican Counsel, 25 small steel breech loading cannons, 1 1/8” bore, for the Mexican government. To be used by dictator Santa Anna to subdue revolutionists.
An R. Hoe press of that age would have had to be one with Smith works (appropriated from John Wells) rather than a figure 4 toggle, which was the invention of Samuel Rust, as was the combination wrought-iron and cast-iron frame. They were called Smith Presses and had acorn shaped frames. I have only seen one, and as far as I remember it did not have a serial number. I doubt that Hoe would have numbered all their different presses sequentially. Hopefully with more museums and collections coming online some definitive information will come to light.
Paul… I certainly agree with your logic.
I believe that Hoe, who began manufacturing the Smith press in an acorn frame in 1821, had probably reached the 1500s-1600s in serial numbering by 1836 (15 years at about 100 presses per year average). There is no evidence one way or the other about whether they kept the same serial number sequence going but I believe they did, and thus press #1628 could well have been built in 1836. There are as far as I know few if any Smith presses with serial numbers above 670 (the highest Smith press number I have recorded) and only one Hoe Washington with a number below 1519 (#538 is virtually identical to Rust’s Washington press in the Museum of Printing, and has a number that could have been reached by Rust in his 14 years of making presses and used by Hoe before they integrated the Washington into their line about 1835). Thus I find that the logic of a Hoe Washington #1628 having been made in 1836 makes good sense.
Unfortunately my records include many Washington presses of unknown manufacturer and many Hoe Washingtons for which the serial number is not recorded. More data might help clarify this question, but company records of dates and serial number would, as Rocky says, make a BIG difference.
Is the press in the letter from the Georgia Citizen identified as a Washington Press? The problem I have with continuous numbering is the fact that Hoe manufactured several kinds of hand presses at the same time (as well as many other presses). I also have a problem with Hoe picking up a numbering system that had been started by a competitor. Just from the fact that they basically stole the patents I doubt whether the ego of the Hoe management would be sentimental enough to do that. As I recall the estimate was that Rust had made about 50 presses per year before he was sold down the river. I don’t think we will ever be able to answer all of these questions, but it would be really nice to develop a picture archive with serial numbers and sizes. I think there are probably some hidden architectural features of the presses that could put them in a certain time period.
The letter does not identify the press as being from the Hoe factory. Seems unlikely that they would identify it only by it’s serial number if it were from another manufacturer, when directing the letter to the Hoe Co.
I would love to see an on-line picture directory of the numbered R Hoe Washington hand presses and would be happy to submit all that I have documented. I had always hoped that would be part of the goal of Bob’s research and/or Briar Press.
Over the last couple years, I’ve noticed a growing number of “incomplete presses” showing up on the market. It would be nice to have records of the original ones before the mix gets contaminated with conjoined bases, frames, and serial numbered head head castings which could complicate future dating.
I didn’t suggest that the Georgia Citizen press was of another manufacture, I was questioning whether it was identified specifically as a Washington, as it could well have been a Smith Press.
Bob has done an amazing amount of work trying to keep up with presses around the country. Unfortunately his data-base is not available to other interested parties, although his is most willing to share information when asked. It would be nice if an online site could be established that would add to the visual documentation of these presses, as well as to have the space for anecdotal evidence.
My memory of the letter, which I also saw but failed to get a copy of, was that it referred to “our Washington press”. But the next time I get to New York I will go to Columbia and try to get a photocopy of the letter.
I asked for funds from APHA to make a mailing to press owners to try to obtain the additional information completing the press records I have, and to put the database online somewhere, but they turned me down for the third time.