The Albion Press is a table model hand lever press. It was manufactured in 1859 by Hopkinson and Cope. The Albion Press was donated by the Victorian Government Printing Office in 1979. Its previous use is unknown but a similar press was used at the Post Office in Melbourne and was offered to the VGPO in 1862. It appears to have been used by the Government Printing office for minor jobbing work and proofing of galleys.

A forme was placed on the iron bed of the press and inked by roller or ink ball; a sheet of paper was placed on the open tympan; the frisket was closed down over the tympan to hold the paper in place and the whole folded down over the type forme, resting slightly above the inked type. The bed was then wound under the platen by a handle attached to a central rounce under the bed, the handle pulled forward brought the platen down and an impression was taken. The handle was pushed back and impression lifted and the bed wound back out, where the tympan was lifted off, frisket was lifted off the tympan and the printed sheet removed.

Physical Description

An table model iron hand press


The Albion Press was the invention of Richard W. Cope, who is thought to have assisted George Clymer, maker of the Columbian Press. Cope's press, believed to have been invented around 1820, shows little of Clymer's influence. Cope eliminated bizarre decoration, used a toggle instead of a beam for leverage, and employed a spring instead of a counterweight to raise the platen. Cope died in 1828. J. & J. Barrett were Cope's executors and carried on business under the direction of John Hopkinson, Cope's foreman. Hopkinson made improvements to the press and became a partner in the business.

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