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H3408 'Albion' printing press, hand operated, iron, made by A. Wilson and Sons, London, England, 1850, used by Sir Henry Parkes to print the 'Empire' newspaper, Sydney, 1850 - 1856; later used by Messrs. Craigie and Hipgrave to print the 'Express' newspaper, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. Click to enlarge.

Albion hand printing press

Made 1850
This is an Albion printing press, a type of early iron hand printing press made in London about 1850 by A. Wilson and Sons. It was originally designed and manufactured in London by Richard Whittaker Cope around 1820 and operated with a simple toggle action, unlike the complex lever-mechanism of the Columbian press and the Stanhope press. Albion printing presses continued to be manufactured, in a range of sizes, right up until the 1930s. They were used for commercial book-printing until the middle of the nineteenth century and after that mainly for jobbing work and by private presses.

After Cope's death, Albions were manufactured by his heirs and members of the Hopkinson family. From the 1850s onwards Albion presses were manufactured under licence by other firms, notably Harrild and Sons, Miller and Richard, and Frederick Ullmer Ltd. The toggle-action, and the distinctive shape and 'crown' finial of the Albion, make it instantly recognizable.

This printing press is very significance as it was imported from England and used in Sydney by Henry Parkes (later Sir Henry) to produce the newspaper the 'Empire', of which he was proprietor and editor, from 1850-1856. This newspaper was the chief organ of mid. 19th century liberalism and its pages were a forum for the sharpest radical and liberal viewpoints of the day. He was elected to the legislative council in 1856 and Premier of New South Wales in 1872.

The press was then purchased in 1856 by Walter Craigie and William Hipgrave of Armidale, in the New England area of New South Wales. They bought the press from their former boss and sent it from Maitland to Armidale on a dray pulled by a team of bullocks, a journey which took 27 days. The press printed the Armidale 'Express' newspaper from its inauguration on 5 April 1856. This was the third oldest regional newspaper in New South Wales.

The arrival of small hand printing presses enabled the publication of newspapers in country regions. Many newspapers were short-lived but several were important in influencing public opinion and debate. The printing of local newspapers in country towns with articles written from information received by the telegraph enabled members of the community to receive news faster than previously when they had to wait for deliveries from major cities. Access to the printed word also led to increased literacy.

In 1929 the Armidale Newspaper Company donated the press to the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences when this firm issued the Armidale 'Express' newspaper.

(Richard Peck, Curator, print technology & philately)

Summary

Object No.

H3408

Object Statement

'Albion' printing press, hand operated, iron, made by A. Wilson and Sons, London, England, 1850, used by Sir Henry Parkes to print the 'Empire' newspaper, Sydney, 1850 - 1856; later used by Messrs. Craigie and Hipgrave to print the 'Express' newspaper, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia

Physical Description

The press has an upright frame on two legs, the ends of each leg resembling a lion's paw. Suspended in the centre of the frame between its two upright arms and from a cross bow is the spindle that raised and lowered plates onto the carriage. The carriage consists of two rails that extend beyond the frame on one side. On top of the frame is a raised stand in the shape of a papyrus stem.

Dimensions

Height

1860 mm

Width

1000 mm

Depth

1730 mm

Weight

700 kg

Production

Made

1850

History

Notes

This press was imported from England and used by Henry Parkes to produce the newspaper the 'Empire', of which he was proprietor and editor, from 1850-1856. This newspaper was the chief organ of mid 19th century liberalism and its pages were a forum for the sharpest radical and liberal viewpoints of the day. The press was then purchased by Messrs. Craigie and Hipgrave of Armidale, when this firm issued the Armidale 'Express'. This is the third oldest newspaper in New South Wales and was established in 1856.
(Richard Peck, Curator, print technology & philately)

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Armidale Newspapers Ltd, 1929

Acquisition Date

1 December 1929

Cite this Object

Harvard

Albion hand printing press 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 5 July 2020, <https://ma.as/236932>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/236932 |title=Albion hand printing press |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=5 July 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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