Letterpress printing | Quality Printing London

11 June 2018

I was at a loose end over the past weekend so what do I do… I go to a museum to watch a 1813 printing press in action. Let me share with you the experience of printing on a machine made 205 years ago!

Take a look at the video below to see an old Columbian Press at work – letterpress printing on to a paper bag with fantastic results!

The History of the Columbian Press

The Columbian Press was invented by the Philadelphia mechanic George Claymer in 1813, however when he struggled to find a market for his iron press in the United States, he ended up taking his invention to England. At the time iron presses were more popular in Europe, where the United States were still using mainly wooden presses, and so in Britain the Columbian press took off.

By the 1840s Columbian presses were being made in several places in Europe and were used throughout the 19th Century. Interestingly they were never as popular in America as they were in Britain. Even once the iron presses started being used there Americans preferred the Washington iron hand press to the Columbian, however their legacy survives on this side of the Atlantic and many of the old presses can be found in museums across Europe.


Get in touch if you would like to discuss our printing services 020 7407 2875 or email us at sales@solways.co.uk.

Solways are here to help with any of your design projects or business printing requirements. We would also be delighted to meet you and discuss your project in person, please contact us to make an appointment. 

Solways Printers offers print processes away from the mainstream. Our specialties encompass specialist print processes: duplexed (THICK) business cards, triplexed (EXTRA THICK) business cards, watermarking, foil blocking, embossing, digital embossing, Indigo digital, die-cutting, thermography, lithography, Book production and Magazines.


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