Press Identity anyone?

The only marking we can find so far is a plate mounted on the press (see picture) which says “Improved Invincible, sole agent FT Wimble, Sydney”
If anybody has any ideas on what it maybe or where it maybe from it would be very helpful.

image: Letterpress press 1.JPG

Letterpress press 1.JPG

image: letterpress press 3.JPG

letterpress press 3.JPG

image: Letterpress press 2.JPG

Letterpress press 2.JPG

image: Letterpress press 4.JPG

Letterpress press 4.JPG

image: letterpress press 5.JPG

letterpress press 5.JPG

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looks a lot like a Jones Lightning made in NY (Palmyra)

Wimble had most or all their presses of whatever type made for them in England, and the English press manufacturers often copied American designs, like the Gordon or the Golding Pearl, making some changes in the form of the parts but copying the mechanisms. This press looks identical to the Jones Lightning, with one minor addition to the small driving gear. So this press could have been by a British company copying the Lightning jobber (one of 13 different job presses invented or copied by John M. Jones) made in Palmyra NY by John M. Jones Co. from 1896 to 1901 and by the Jones-Gordon Press Works in Palmyra 1901-1903. Or the press could have been built for Wimble by Jones, or bought from them by Wimble and the ID plate added by them in Australia. John M. Jones died in 1904.


image: Lightning Jobber.jpg

Lightning Jobber.jpg

Thank you gentlemen.
I was thinking that it could be a Lightning Jobber, I had seen the advertisement that you posted Bob and it’s pretty close, but as you say, Wimbles bought most of their presses from V & J Figgins of London England. Wimbles did have an agreement with and American company called McKellers, they were a type foundry so possibly they did buy some presses from America.
Bob do you mean the cover over the small gear when you mentioned a modification because I think that may have been added later, I will have a closer look tomorrow.
Is there somewhere I can look for more information on the Lightning? Information is pretty scant on the Internet. I would be interested to know about numbers or markings and where they may be located.
There are some markings on the plate at the rear of the press similar to where you would see the C & P branding but it is very difficult to make out, we’ll see what we find out as we start to clean it up.
I’m also interested in possible manufacturers in England who may have copied the Lightning.
Thanks for your help so far.
Cheers Graham

the serial # is on the center edge of the platen. Its stamped just near top of the bale. Should be a 4 digit #. We have one and restored it already. Nice looking but not much of a platen

Oh and I forgot to mention it’s a 10 X 15

Cheers Nick, could you send me a picture or two of your restored press?

sure here are a few,

image: DSC_6639.jpg


image: DSC_6639.jpg


Thanks Nick, looks very nice.
Mine is a bit different, your looks taller and thinner in the frame and the separator between the front legs is taller, mine seems shorter and thicker… Perhaps it is a English copy.

Yes, the disc on the driving spur gear was what I referred to. I have written, but not published yet, a history of John M. Jones and his press manufacturing, but I did not find much about the specific presses and I have not spent time pursuing the contemporary printing magazines etc for details. Jones did market some of his presses through some of the type foundries. It could be a rather complicated chain of acquisition by Wimble!

I’m guessing Nick’s press is smaller than yours — maybe 8x12.


We started a clean up today, the gear cover is definitely after market. Still looking for numbers but after cleaning the black paint off we discovered the words Lightning and John. There is also a small patch of blue paint which looks original. See pictures.
Bob and Nick thank you for your input so far.

image: image.jpeg


image: image.jpeg


And I’d like to thank the iPad for putting them in upside down…

Looks like a Jones Lightening to me. Wimbles must have ground off the name. I had this before with a Notting Albion too.

image: DSC_6635.jpg


Since the bar with the name is straight and Nick’s is curved, perhaps if you can decode the full lettering on it we could guess approximately when the press was built — before or after the company name change. I would say it’s pretty clear Wimble bought it from Jones — why export it to England so it could be re-exported to Oz?

Nick, what size is your press?


Hi Bob, Ours is 9 x 12” and serial number: 2052. From our research we think its ca. 1897.

Nick and Bob, I have found a picture of what it should look like. Unfortunately Nick you are right, it seems to have been roughly ground off at some stage. Still looking for a serial number but I did find a number on the driving spur gear 3044 although the three is incomplete.
The treadle is missing the actual foot piece so we will have to look out one of those.

image: image.jpeg


Glad you found it. The nameplate is the best part of the Lightning press as its what we call “cheap and cheerful” and one of probably 30 or more that sprang up after Geo Gordon came out with is classic design platen. But alas, we must preserve both the well made and the no so well made. Be mindful of the spur gear that drives the large gear. It has a thread and must be unscrewed to remove.

Thanks for the advice Nick.

Bob, just to confirm, we found the serial number which is 3044.

That bar on my 7” x 10” is straight and completely BLANK!. Not ground off - simply cast that way. No other identification whatsoever, but it is definitely a Lightening Jobber with the original foot treadle.