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The Rev. Merritt Gally patented his Universal Printing Machine in 1869. It was a vast improvement over the Gordon platens then used for job printing, superior in both inking and impression, and before long, competitors were selling many versions. Most famous in the US was the Colt's Armory, and in Europe the Victoria was perhaps the best known. Once cylinder presses became the most efficient machine in letterpress printing, these slow platens were sometimes relegated to diecutting (for which they are still made today), but they remained the most desirable press for fine press printers. Many award-winning fine press books were printed on such presses as the Gally Universal, the Hartford, the Laureate, the National, the Colt's Armory, the Victoria, the Phoenix, the Thomson, the Sun, the Mitre, the Bremner, and the Gietz (the last in production). As a class of machine they were referred to as Heavy Art Platens, as parallel-impression or parallel-approach or as rolling-sliding platens.
- May 1, 2011
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