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.
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.
Donation from Unknown, pre 22 Mar 1995
Brass top piece: HOPKINSON'S NO. 3714 ALBION PRESS 1859 Press: HOPKINSON & COPE FINSBURY LONDON/(yellow) "9" (on central toggle)
Type of item
900 mm (Length), 500 mm (Width), 1600 mm (Height)
Historical dimensions: Foolscap or Post
48 cm (Length), 37 cm (Width), 2 cm (Depth)
46 cm (Length), 33.5 cm (Width)
64 cm (Height)
Sources used by Peter Marsh (25 June 2007) foir this record: Victorian Public Record Series 1207, Unit 221 - Item 62/8106 for possible source of press origins. Moran, James, Printing Presses, London, 1973, p. 92. An entire chapter on the Albion Press.