Letterpress printing press of unknown manufacture and unknown date.

The press was supplied for both a treadle and power operation. Styled a clam-shell press, paper was hand fed onto the bed, the press closed for impression and then the printed sheet removed.

Letterpress is a term used to define the process of printing from a raised surface, be it type or block. The term takes it origins from the act of pressing a letter onto another substance, usually paper.

A brass plate records the name of the Printing Supply House, Middows Bros, who were established in London and had agencies in Sydney and Melbourne.


Manufacturer is unknown but the press is typical of the competition between agents and print supply houses in the first half of the twentieth century, where agent-branded machines from non-English and American manufacturers of cheap manufacturer were brought into the country to compete against established brands such as the Golding and Chandler & Price. Possibly the only one of its kind to survive in Australia, but in the absence of information it is difficult to know. It has engineering relevance, to other clam-shell presses in the Museum collection, by its difference

More Information

  • Collecting Areas

    Information & Communication

  • Acquisition Information

    Donation from Mr Fred Matlock, 23/05/1991

  • Manufacturer

    Unknown, 1900-1940

  • Inscriptions

    Brass oval: Middows Bros. & Co. Ltd/Made in France/London Note: The label is an agent's label NOT that of a manufacturer. A Copper tag with the number T. 42 stamped is on the left front frame. The numbered tag (T. 42) maybe the agent's serial number to record the machine in their Books. Middows Bros were established in London and set up agencies in various Australia cities. Electric Motor for powered drive: British Thomson Houston Co Ltd/Catalogue No. D8773/S/P, ¼ HP, RPM 1425

  • Classification

    Communications, Printing, Printing presses

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • Overall Dimensions

    850 mm (Length), 640 mm (Width), 1280 mm (Height)

  • Bed dimensions

    25 cm (Length), 17 cm (Width)

  • Plate dimensions

    25 cm (Length), 17 cm (Width)

  • Ink distributor roller dimensions

    23 cm (Length), 3.5 cm (Width)

  • Forme inking roller

    25 cm (Length), 4 cm (Width)
    There are two forme inking rollers