This kind of press is about as simple as it gets. It consists of a bed on which type is placed, and a (very) heavy roller. Put in the type on the bed, ink the type with a brayer, put a piece of paper over the inked type, roll the roller on top of it all, and there you have it. Of course, there are subtleties.
This style of press is sometimes known as a "galley proof press" as it is designed such that the distance between the surface of the bed and the roller will naturally accomodate type sitting on a galley. It is also sometimes called a "roller" proof press, because the roller is just a big heavy roller without fancy refinements.
The primary difference between this press and the Nolan No. 1 Proof Press is that here the pressure of the roller on the type comes from the weight of the roller alone, whereas in the Nolan the roller is held mechanically against lifting above height by little wheels on the underside of two flanges along the bed.
The C&P Galley Proof Press should be distinguished from a "cylinder" proof press such as many of the popular Vandercook proof presses, which is resembles superficially (see Paul Moxon's http://www.vandercookpress.info/) A cylinder proof press (which may also be a "galley" proof press if its height is type + galley thickness) is designed so that (a) the cylinder is kept via a rack and gear in a known relationship with the bed, and (b) the paper is fed in wrapped around the cylinder. A cylinder press such as the Vandercook is designed to allow repeatable "registration" of paper position. A "roller" style press such as mine is not.
So if I were to invent a taxonomic name for this kind of press, I'd call it a "Free-Roller Galley Proof Press." That is, most generally it is a roller press which takes an impression using a roller which does not have any of the additional featurs of the cylinders of fancier presses. More specifically, this is a free roller because it is free to be lifted off the press (a two-person job!), as opposed to the "captive" roller of a press such as the Nolan No. 1 where removing the roller involves removing screws. It is a galley press because the height from bed to roller is intended to accomodate not just type but also a galley. Finally, it is a proof press by intention.
The earliest reference I've found to this press is an advertisement in The Inland Printer (Vol. 6, No. 5 (Feb, 1889)). The most recent sale advertisement I've found is in the 1923 ATF Specimen Book and Catalog. By the 1959 ATF Printing Equipment Catalog, only cylinder proof presses appear.
The CircuitousRoot Press acquired it's (ok, I got my) Chandler and Price Free-Roller Galley Proof Press in January 2009 from Jim Doletzky (thanks, Jim!) Jeff Pulaski helped me load it in bitter cold and snow (thanks, Jeff!) It had previously been restored by a friend of Jim's, now deceased, who stripped it and applied a lovely natural wood finish (previously, to judge from internal bits of painted wood, it was an unattractive sort of green). I first printed on it on 2009-10-22.
Features and Limitations
[NOT DONE] How this very simple press differs from fancier cylinder proof presses.
Making a Tympan
[NOT DONE] This press was designed to take galley proofs, not to make actual prints (which require regulating the impression) or repeated impressions (which require some kind of registration). This is an attempt to improvise height regulation ("makeready") and registration by building a kind of a tympan (and frisket) - combining a galley proof press with a hand press to turn it into a poor man's Vandercook. Improvisations galore.
All portions of this document not noted otherwise are Copyright © 2009 by David M. MacMillan and Rollande Krandall.
Circuitous Root is a Registered Trademark of David M. MacMillan and Rollande Krandall.
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