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Re: [PPLetterpress] Victoria Platen

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  • Graham and Kathy
    Well Greg, mine s German, and the closest US equivalent I m told is the Colt s Armoury Press, which similarly is a parallel impression platen. They were made
    Message 1 of 2 , May 13 7:23 AM
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      Well Greg, mine's German, and the closest US equivalent I'm told is the
      Colt's Armoury Press, which similarly is a parallel impression platen. They
      were made in a variety of sizes, and as far as I'm aware manufacture of only
      the smaller ones was farmed out, so our auto-Vic, which will take a 20 x 15
      sheet, was manufactured under licence in Scotland. There are smaller
      versions, which I've seen but don't have any details of, called Vico-bold,
      and at least a couple of different versions were made under that name.

      The auto-Vic could be bought with an automatic feeder that ran out on
      rails, but I've not seen one that's survived. Both our auto-Vic and the
      Victoria are hand-fed - I have the speed of both set so that I can
      comfortably slip sheet between each impression. We only print books (this
      being a Private Press in the old sense), so speed of production of printed
      sheets is never an issue, only the quality of design and image is of any
      real importance. Our runs tend to be in the low hundreds, and as good as
      never in the thousands.

      I've no idea about areas of solid - it prints lino-cuts and the finest of
      wood engravings without difficulty so long as we pay proper attention to the
      make-ready, likewise double page spreads with each page carrying forty-five
      lines of 14pt type 3pt leaded at 46 em measure. I think that's about the
      heaviest I've subjected it to in terms of type in the forme.

      All rubber rollers are machined to suit the trucks; rail height is
      adjustable at the turn of a screw, though I leave that alone as it's never
      needed adjusting over the past six years I've had the press; impression is
      adjustable in thousandth of an inch increments with a simple nut locking
      mechanism - there is enough adjustment that I could print type cast at
      .928", just in case I was to get a lot of nice continental European cast
      type that I couldn't get milled to .918" for standard use. Plates go
      straight into place with double sided tape on Cornerstone mounts, and I
      always use bearers, rarely needing to make a frisket to keep plate edges
      from printing.

      The inking is superb; three distribution rollers sit above the main drum,
      two fixed rubber with a steel worm-geared roller above them. On the
      auto-Vic there are three inking rollers, on the Victoria four. The Victoria
      though has a total of six distribution rollers, four rubber, two steel,
      which can be augmented with two further steel rollers at the bottom of the
      inking stroke, which aids coverage generally with a full forme, but is
      especially effective in eliminating ghosting with wood or lino cuts or wood

      This type of machine used to be referred to as an 'Art Platen', and it's the
      inking, as well as the general engineering, that makes them ideal for book
      work. Our Victoria was previously owned by Eric Gill and Rene Hague in the
      1930s, but plenty of other decent printers have used these presses - Eric
      Holub at Hillside Press in Calif, the Carters at Rampant Lions in UK, and I
      have a vague recollection that Arion Press have or use this type of machine.

      The only next best step would be to use a cylinder press; I have tried a
      Wharfedale but felt that I was losing track a bit, divorced from seeing what
      was happening stuck behind that big cylinder, so while a cylinder is
      undoubtedly good for general commercial work, it doesn't suit here. (I mean
      proper cylinder press production, rather than proofing presses used as
      production presses which is a whole other game.) And the Wharfedale is the
      size of a small car, while the Victoria has a 4' x 4' footprint even with
      allowing for back access. And even with all those rollers, washing the
      machine down is simple and takes less than fifteen minutes.


      Graham Moss
      Incline Press
      36 Bow Street
      Oldham OL1 1SJ England

      On 13/5/07 14:17, "Greg S" <ssss@...> wrote:

      > Graham,
      > Tell us about an 18 x 24 platen press. What do you primarily print with it?
      > How large of a solid can it print. Do you hand feed it, how fast? Does it feel
      > tight, what does it weigh? Do you ever feel that you are straining the
      > castings? How many rollers, is there good coverage? Tell us a story, it must
      > have a few. I have trouble imagining a platen press that size.
      > Greg Shattenberg
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