Unknown Letterpress Object

I have an object that was with other letterpress materials acquired over the years and have no idea what it is or its intended use.

It is about 24” x 31” and 3/4” thick with angled grooves. It also weighs A LOT.

Any idea what this is?

image: IMG_5370.JPG


Log in to reply   6 replies so far

Looks like a surface top for being able to lock down objects.
I only say that due to the grooves are T shaped and look so that one can insert something, slide it to where you need it to position and then lock to the table by via a cam of sorts. The 45 degree will let you work across the table and approach the position from two angles. I have seen something like this before, but cannot remember where. New to letterpress, I do not know if it pertains to the subject. Pretty cool top anyway. Perhaps a metal worker could use much like an acorn table.

It looks like a flat version of the Warnock plate mounting system but I have only seen them on Heidelberg rotary presses for securing curved plates, interesting, but I’m certain someone will have more information.

It is definitely a plate lock-down for a flatbed letterpress. It would have held a full page or perhaps even smaller photo engravings to print. There would have been slotted locks that fit the grooves and tighten into place with a small turnkey.

yes, it is a plate base. I have some of the locks for it around somewhere. The locks are tapered at the top side and widen to fit the angle of the slots. There are set screws which tighten to raise the locks up against the top of the slot, and a flange at one end which grips the edge of the plates being mounted. If I can easily put my hands on one, I’ll post a photo. I do think the manufacturer was Warnock as Frank indicated.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

It is a prehistoric ancestor of the “Boxcar base”, for proofing plates before mounting. There should be tiny keys which fit in the slots to grip the edges of the plate to hold it flat.

My guess is a Wesel base. The Warnock bases I’ve seen (at least those that aren’t press cylinders) are a light metal like magnesium, and Wesel is steel.
Warnock hooks move by cog wheels contacting teeth at the corners of the groove, where I think Wesel hooks move by worm gears contacting the sides of the groove.