Steam pow­ered print­ing presses

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - WOMEN & TEMPERANCE -

Steam en­gines had been used to power ma­chin­ery in fac­to­ries from the end of the 18th cen­tury, but ap­ply­ing the power to print­ing was dif­fi­cult with the old flat bed, screw presses.p

The first at­tempt wasw made by a Saxon prin­ter Fred­er­ick Koen nig for a Lon­don book prin­ter, Thomas s Bens­ley. It em­ployed the steam pow­erp to turn a cylin­der that was used d to ink the type, but oth­er­wise the act tual press was still hand op­er­ated. La ater, Koenig de­vel­oped a more sop phis­ti­cated ver­sion in which the typet bed was rolled back­wards and for­wards un­der a large cylin­der. The ma­chine had three print sur­faces, and moved at a third of a rev­o­lu­tion at a time and was thus able to print three sheets for each com­plete rev­o­lu­tion of the cylin­der. It was later en­larged to take two sep­a­rate cylin­ders.

Three of the ma­chines were in­stalled in Bens­ley’s of­fice and lead­ing print­eers were in­vited to come and see them at woork. Only one man showed any in­ter­est – John Wal­ters of The Times. He or­dered twoo of the ma­chines and on 29 Noveem­ber 1814 an edi­tionn of the newss­pa­per ap­peared in­for­m­ming the read­ers that it hadh been printed on a steam­pow­ered press at a speed of 1,100 im­pres­sions an hoour. It was a woorld first.

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