Stephen O. Saxe is scanning, from his notable library of printing materials, a number of the catalogues of small printing presses intended for use by amateurs. These date back as early as the 1870s and provide a fascinating picture of an avocation which is still practiced with enthusiasm. There is more than the antiquarian here; some of these catalogues remain useful operating manuals today.
The primary repository for the Stephen O. Saxe Archive of Amatuer Press Catalogues is at The Internet Archive: The Stephen O. Saxe Archive of Amatuer Press Catalogues, http://www.archive.org/details/AnArchiveOfAmateurPressCatalogues .
In the section here I have the pleasure of reprinting these scans. The online tools of The Internet Archive are better than those at my disposal here; if you want to read these Catalogues in a convenient online reader, go there. But if you should need the original lossless scans, they're hosted here.
Catalogue and Price List of Printing Presses, Types and Printing Material Manufactured by J. Cook & Company (1877).
James Cook, the former landlord of William Kelsey, ran his own printing press and supply busines in Meriden, CT from 1876 to 1883. He sold presses by others (the Daughaday "Model" press, the Golding "Pearl," and the Curtis & Mitchell "Columbian") as well as his own (the "Enterprise" and the "Victor"). His business was absorbed by Kelsey's in 1883; Kelsey reintroduced the Victor press circa 1891. (My thanks to Stephen O. Saxe for this information.)
Daughaday (ca. 1880)
How to Print: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Celebrated Model Printing Press.
Printer Manufacturing Co's Illustrated Catalogue of Printing Presses and Printing Materials, Golding & Co., Managers. With a Supplement for 1874.
Improved Illustrated and Descriptive Catalogue, 1881: Presses and Tools and Printing Materials.
[Catalogue of printing presses, equipment, type, and cuts], 1878.
Printing Presses, Type, and Supplies. Catalogue No. 8. (Chicago, IL: The Sigwalt Manufacturing Company, 1908.)
Price List of Printing Material (NY: Joseph Watson, 1888).
The Centennial, Young America, Last and Best, United States, Samson, and Lightning lines of presses. Metal type, rule, cuts, Holly Wood type.
A Descriptive and Illustrated Pamphlet of the Novelty Job Printing Presses. (Boston: Benj. O. Woods & Co., 1875)
Find Your Kelsey
An array of dated images of Kelsey presses. By comparing your press with the ones shown here, it may be possible more accurately to date it.
H. L. Mencken: In the Steps of Gutenberg
Saxe, Stephen O., Vincent Fitzpatrick, and Frederick N. Rasmussen. "H. L. Mencken: In the Steps of Gutenberg." Printing History, First Series, Vol 5, No. 1, Whole No. 9 (1983): 29-32. An account of how the noted 20th century American writer H. L. Mencken owed not only his profession but his very name to a Baltimorean No. 10 printing press. This article includes not only a facsimile of the original receipt for this press (which, remarkably, has survived) but also extracts from the catalogue for this press from an original in Saxe's collection.
Reprinted here for Stephen O. Saxe. Note: this article is copyright 1983; please do not reprint it further without his permission.
Not mentioned in this brief article is the fact that when his father demonstrated the press to him on Christmas morning, he managed to smash all the black-letter lower-case 'r's by bringing the grippers down on them. As Mencken wrote, "I had to cut my coat to fit my cloth." Mencken changed his name in type to read "H. L. Mencken," and as such he was known from then on.
All of the amateur press catalogues scanned by Stephen O. Saxe and presented here are in the public domain. Their reprints here remain in the public domain.
The article "H. L. Mencken: In the Steps of Gutenberg" by Stephen O. Saxe et. al. is copyright 1983. It is reprinted here with his permission. Please do not reprint it further without his permission.
This page, its text, its images, and its encoding, are all dedicated by their author to the public domain.
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