In England, as we have already explained (vide Machine, ante), this word has a limited meaning, being applied exclusively to machines which are not automatic in their operation. In America and other countries what we call machines" are called presses, and with much reason. The only classes of presses in use at the present time are—the Stanhope press, which is nearly obsolete, the Albion press, and the Columbian press. Each of these will be found described in its alphabetical place. Various manufacturers have made alterations more or less important in the construction of these presses, but the principle of their mechanism remains the same.
In England, as we have already explained (vide Machines, ante), this word has a limited meaning, being applied exclusively to machines which are not automatic in their operation. In America and other countries what we call “machines” are called presses, and with much reason. The press used by the early printers was very rude.
It was composed entirely of wood, and consisted of a table, along which the coffin containing the forme, furnished with a tympan and frisket, was pushed by hand. The platen worked vertically between standards, and was brought down for the impression and raised after it by a common screw worked by a bar handle. The platen was much less in size than the forme, which had therefore to be shifted to complete the impression.
Little or no improvement was made in respect of the press until the year 1601, when Blaew, of Amsterdam, contrived a press, the platen of which recovered itself by a spring. (See Blaew’s Press.) At the close of the eighteenth century a great change took place in the construction of presses, by the introduction of the “Apollo,” Roworth’s, and the “Stanhope,” each of which is described in its place. The next improvements were made by Cope, in his “Albion” press (q.v.), and Clymer in his “Columbian” press, which are each described elsewhere. The last two presses are still in use, and although various manufacturers have made minor alterations in them, they remain virtually in the same shape as when they were introduced. Mechanical ingenuity has since been almost wholly occupied with machines.