George Phineas Gordon's Presses

image link-topic-sf0.jpg

The term "Gordon" came to be a generic one which designated a particular kind of printing press and its mechanism, but George Phineas Gordon himself designed and sold several quite distinct kinds of presses. It is useful, therefore, to know a bit about the history of Gordon's own presses.

In The Heritage of the Printer, Volume 1 (Philadelphia, PA: North American Publishing Company, 1965), Dr. James Eckman has a short, but good, chapter on "George Phineas Gordon and His Wonderful Dream" (and also a good chapter on "The Famous Combination of Chandler & Price.") This is probably the best place to start.

( The Heritage of the Printer was published in two volumes. The first volume was by Dr. James Eckman and was issued in 1965 as " The Heritage of the Printer, Volume 1." The second volume was by Alexander S. Lawson and was issued in 1966 as " A Printer's Almanac: The Heritage of the Printer, Volume 2.")

The kind of press known later as a "Gordon" style press was the one introduced in 1851 by Gordon and supplanted in 1872 by Gordon's quite different "New Style" press. (Eckman would seem to be in error in saying that Gordon ceased manufacture of his "Old Style" press in 1872, because it was still offered for sale alongside the "New Style" in, for example, the 1890 Gordon Press Works catalog (see below)).

Stephen Nelson and has put online the The Gordon Press , an 1890 catalog of The Gordon Press Works. It it, the company refers to their presses as "Franklin" presses: the "Old Style Franklin Press" and the "New Improved Franklin Press." The "Old Style Franklin Press" is the kind of press copied generally by other manufacturers as the "Gordon" style of press.

[Note: On 2009-10-24 this site failed to come up. The Internet Archive ( lists it as having zero pages in 2009. These pages are still (at this time) available through The Internet Archive. Go to and plug "" into "The Wayback Machine."]

About the images

Select Resolution: 0 [other resolutions temporarily disabled due to lack of disk space]