Month: February 2014

Minerva Platen – arrival







(the cat is most bemused)



Minerva Mission…


So, we went, we saw and we conquered.
After what had to be the worst traffic I’d ever seen on the M2 (three+ hours Canterbury – London) we made it to the lovely suburb of Dulwich.

Our delay had enabled our super helpers onsite to dismantle the press, and all we had to do was load it into the van, which arrived shortly after we did.

More tomorrow, when I’m recovered from some epic lifting…

The Big Day…

So, the countdown is here and I am pacing around my living room in terror, anxiety, joy.

I’m not talking about my Wedding Day, (although, woo … upcoming), but the acquisition of our Minerva Platen press.

We’re picking it up from Dulwich tomorrow, with a van, some willing lifters and an expert at dismantling. Then we’ll all pootle back to Canterbury and I, hopefully, will be able to reassemble it.

We have a number of projects in the pipeline using the press, all in conjunction with my university. I’m really looking forward to hopefully being able to help students engage with authors like Woolf, as from experience, I know that a lot of my undergraduate cohort just switched off and thought she was dull. I’m hoping that seeing, and hopefully being able to have a go on the type of press that she used might give them a handle to hold on to.

But for now: cue all the anxiety dreams about heavy presses and vans and conglomerates of people and South London.

Tomorrow’s post will most likely be a collection of people looking stressed loading cast iron press parts.

(edit: as I was just about to publish this, one of the other PhD researchers came in and said he’d leaked carbolic acid everywhere. Somehow my panic seems less drastic now).












Adana T.P. 71 Letterpress – in action!

After a winter in dry dock, I dug out the toolkit this weekend and finally changed the fuse on this, my beloved Adana T.P. 71 printing press.
The British Letterpress site (here) has some fascinating information on these particular treadle / power presses. To quote a small chunk:

“Adana had a his­tory of pro­du­cing machines powered by treadle (rather than hand) before the T/P48 appeared. A pat­ent held by the founder of Adana (Don­ald Aspin­all) and an engin­eer demon­strates the prin­ciple from the 1920s; and the firm made a Adana Treadle Platen around 1926. This fam­ily of machines has an unusual approach of a D-shaped drum to act as ink­ing cyl­in­der with the flat area hold­ing the chase. Ink­ing rollers revolve around the drum and on to the forme — this whole assembly moves to impress on a static back platen hold­ing the paper.”

Here are the links to the youtube videos of the press in action, (complete with Ziggy Stardust playing in the background). There are two videos, and I was just playing around seeing what the impression looked like, and how smoothly the press ran after a few running repairs and a good clean up.


Incidently, I do not have rollers for the press as yet, so I did this by hand inking the forme using a small roller. It’s not perfect and it wouldn’t do for a massive print run, but it worked well as a preliminary experiment. I do have the roller spindles, so my Spring project (one of many) will be to send these off for recovering.

Here are some photos of the press and the results: