• FA-112429 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Information & Communication
Typesetting and Printing
medien.welten (media.worlds)
1800 - 1849

Columbian Press Iron lever press

Clymer & Dixon, London 1833


Iron press

The use of cast iron instead of wood in printing press manufacture makes book printing more efficient. In the era of revolutions, the demand for printed products rises. 

Towards the end of the 18th century, it becomes customary to build printing presses with higher contact pressure in order to enhance printing quality. In around 1800, George Clymer constructs the cast-iron Columbian Press in Philadelphia. Instead of a screw spindle, this press uses a manoeuvrable, mechanic leverage system with a counterweight for pressing the paper onto the setting copy. This more efficient method of force transmission significantly facilitates and speeds up the work of the printer.

In the revolutionary year 1848, these iron presses are, among other things, used for printing numerous flyers. After Metternich including his censorship of the press is ousted from power, every citizen has the right to publicly voice and print his opinion. A whole range of versatile reading material comes into existence in Vienna which, however, soon disappears after the revolution is crushed by imperial forces and the press is suppressed once again.

Inv.Nr. 36013
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