Albion tympan and frisket

I recently acquired this 1841 Albion press. It does not have a tympan or frisket. How do I acquire these items, or have them made? It is foolscap sized. Also, the cylinder under the rails needs to have something attached to it, some sort of strapping I think? What is it, and how would it be attached?
I cannot work out how to upload an image, but the press is identical to one on this site, if you search for an Albion press on a wooden stand.

Log in to reply   10 replies so far

More info….an image for what appears to be an identical press can be found on this site. It is a Albion press, foolscap.

Typically the tympan and frisket of the British presses have a counterweight attached at the hinge end of the tympan. They are both metal frames, the tympan hinged to the near end of the bed and the frisket hinged to the other end of the tympan. You can cover the tympan with kraft paper or cloth. I recently found a fabric product called Koverall, meant for model airplane skin, which seems strong, is heat-shrinkable with a hair dryer, and can be installed with contact cement.

The wood drum under the rails is called the rounce, and there would be leather straps called girts attached to it and to the ends of the bed, to crank the bed in and out under the platen. The girts should be attached at the top of the rounce barrel, typically two leading to the near end of the bed and one centered between those two and leading to the far end of the bed. There should be clamps on the ends of the bed to hold the girts. If you want more help you can write me through BP.


Strapping (as You correctly observe) 3 or 4 possible options, traditionally it would have been, Leather very supple when treated with Dubbin or Neatsfoot oil, etc.
Saddlery suppliers, etc.

Best Modern option (probably) *Balata* belting, probably available Stateside, any length up to >35” wide.

Lengths of Industrial machinery securing STROPS, minus the inbuilt Ratchets of course, normally rated at upwards of 10 Tonnes breaking strain @ approx 2” wide roughly Albion pulley width.!!!

Upholstery Webbing strapping (as in seat base spring retaining, i.e. Colonial style Multi seater,s)!! Normally industrial strength plaited nylon.?? virtually indestructable

In the U.K. our best possible option for Tympan & Frisket info (even Supply, maybe) would be Jeremy @ *Albion Press*, if He looks in before the Post is crowded out, he will probably be able to offer construction details or better.

The rounce, (thank you for giving it a name Bob,) is made from steel, not wood. It has three holes in it, not in a row, but staggered. From memory, they are slightly different sizes. I have been printmaking for a long time, but letterpress will be an evolution to me. The most appropriate information I have gleaned, was from Andy English’s Albion blog. More information on the counter weights would be appreciated.
And Mick, thanks for the input, I will try to adjust this to Australia, where I am located. The lengths of strop, and how to attach them to the steel rounce would be appreciated.

Jenny, check the holes in the rounce barrel — they may be tapped for screws, but if they are staggered there must be a different system for attaching the straps or girts to the barrel. Perhaps a flat metal bar screwed to the barrel would clamp the girts. Some later presses had a gear to move the bed instead of the girts. For your smaller press the girts would probably be leather straps about 1 inch wide and 1/8 inch thick, long enough to reach. They’ll stretch in use.

The procedure for attaching the girts is to attach them to the barrel at the top of its curve and to the near end of the bed when it is out from under the platen. Then attach the other girts to the barrel, wind the bed in under the platen thus rolling the girt attached to the bed onto the rounce barrel, then arrange the girts to be attached to the back of the bed and clamp them in place. they will wind onto the rounce as the other one unwinds moving the bed out.


image: Rounce-and-Girts.jpg


jennifer kelly, you should see if Pratt & Sons in cove
Fort Utah can help you out. They made reproductions
of the foolscap Albion. I know Steve passed away but his
sons should be able to assist, they are listed here on BP.
best james

Bob, I looked at the holes in the rounce, they are tapped. Now this has me confused. I have ordered a book suggested by Ludwig, Rummonds, Printing on the Iron Handpress. This could possibly have something in it as well.
James, I will try Pratt and Sons


I doubt if Rummonds will be much help, especially since his diagram for installing the girts is backwards. Since the holes are tapped I suggest you get a machinist to make you a steel plate an eighth of an inch thick, the length of the width of the rounce barrel, and about 2 inches wide, curved to match the barrel. He should drill two countersunk holes in it so that when it is placed on the barrel parallel to the shaft the holes line up with the outer holes that are tapped. You can then install it with flat head screws, and slip the ends of two straps, the girts, under the plate, one on each side, under the side opposite the screws. One girt will go to the front of the bed and the other to the back. Put them as close together as you can so when they wind onto the barrel they almost touch. This should work for your small press.


image: Rounce girt clamp.jpg

Rounce girt clamp.jpg

J.K. *G`Day Sport!* Thank you for the nod, Hope the greeting is acceptable for a Later Day Lady printer.?

Re your securing plate, one more suggestion (in addition to A.L.P.s, above) and providing you have a steel fabricator not to far away, source a comparatively thin steel/stainless steel tube measured as a close fit to the Rounce and merely have a strip cut out Laterally., it will match the curvature of the Rounce and clamp the Girts perfectly, we have seen here U.K. where the end of the Girt (under the clamp) has been given a 1/2” return to increase the grip, of course as many bolt holes at the back edge as required.

Alternatively, and again with a steel fabricator fairly close, as A.L.P. has suggested, take the dimensions of your Rounce to the fabricator and have them *Roll* on a bending machine, a precisely fabricated section, Fabricators usually have Dies to fit to the Benders to give very precise *Radii*

This weekend 18/10/`15 will be *On Duty* in our Museum Print shop, There is A Columbian Eagle, Iron Press, (comparable to Your Albion) and a beautiful Wooden Press (built from scratch in the Museum) both in use to demonstrate to Visitors.

Will take precise over all measurements for/from the *Girts* so that You can *Pro Rata* work out Your needs, + one of our number (volunteers) will probably be able post the principle,s of counter balance, in the case of the Columbian Eagle, The Actual Eagle (I believe) *FLIES* along a cross beam to give precise counter balance, conjecture not fact.

Good Luck, Mick.

P.S. The Children Visitors print their own Certificate/Name on an Adana Quarto press, The Adults print their own Bookmark etc, on the NEW Common press.??

The Tympan and Frisket assembly are *Flagged Out* to accomodate smaller Book markers etc, given the request and with a little help could possibly transmit Via E mail or publish to B.P. Shots/Pictures.

Mick kindly put my name forward for this. I have encountered this style of rounce before. The metal rounce superseded the wooden ones which obviously wore out over a period of time and many nailings of straps!
The metal rounce has 3 holes. The single, central hole carries the strap to the REAR of the press and connects to the T shaped piece on the bed. The double ones connect to the front of the bed. Essentially how I do the straps is this. Using belting or webbing (which will stretch but I’ll come to that later), make sure the press bed is underneath the platen and the tympan assembly is clearing the platen to enable printing.
You can knot webbing or secure leather belting from INSIDE the rounce drum and feed the single one through first making sure it sits ABOVE the runners and below the bed. You will need to make one circumference of the drum before you feed it through. Pull that between the t-piece and nip the bolts up but dont tighten them (this is to stop you pulling the strap through.
Next, repeat the exercise wrapping the front straps around the drum in the OPPOSITE direction again doing a circumference of the drum and nip into front t piece. Repeat for other side.
Now tighten the bolts on the t-pieces and make sure it pulls back and forth without any slack or dragging otherwise the straps will tangle.
When you’re happy with the tension (you may need to pull the webbing/straps through the t piece to tighten them) cut off any excess neatly. If you use leather they will trim nicely otherwise with web tuck the ends back under themselves or if its nylon webbing you can burn the ends neat with a lighter to prevent fraying.
After a little use you may need to tighten the straps again.

It sounds a little long winded but trying to explain something I’ve done hundreds of times takes a little doing.
Good luck, let me know if you struggle I’ll try to help more.