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Mystery Flatbed Engraving(?) press

I have recently been asked to identify a press which I do not recognize. It appears to be some sort of engraving press, but that’s just my guess. To get it out to a wider audience, I have posted a photo of it here as well as at http://excelsiorpress.org/photos/KenBertelson/index.html - which includes details as well a alink to a 1.5mb version of this reduced-in-size image.

Any information would be welcome.

Thanks,
Alan on behalf of Ken & Dianne

image: printing press.500h.jpg

printing press.500h.jpg

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I have what I believe is the exact same press. There is no manufacturers mark to be found on it. It is an etching press. I understand mine belonged to Smith College in Massachusetts. Other than that I know nothing about it.

image: -1.jpg

-1.jpg

Just remembered I had this. It’s from the Fall 2011 American Printing History Association newsletter.

image: etching.jpg

etching.jpg

well, I have never seen this combination before-intaglio printing press and paper flattening /press………..

If it is an etching press? I wonder was the mold wood, metal or copper, lead. Any info on the molds used?
Thank for the comments so far.
Ken Bertelson

If it is an etching press? I wonder was the mold wood, metal or copper, lead. Any info on the molds used?
Thanks for the comments so far.
Ken Bertelson

The press on the bottom would have been used for dampening paper.

Paul

Ken -

I think you may mean plates rather than molds. Etching plates are made from copper, steel, zinc or nowadays photopolymer. Etching is an intaglio process, meaning the printing surface is incised into the plate. Letterpress is a relief process, like wood engraving or wood cut, meaning the surface of the block or plate is the printing surface.

Etching presses can exert many times more pressure than a letterpress. Therefore they aren’t very well suited to printing metal type, but they can be used for other types of relief printing like woodcuts.

Wikipedia has a good article on intaglio that explains the difference clearly.