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Grolier Club Exhibitions


Earliest Printing Press Image

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Pro M. Fonteio M. Tullii Ciceronis oratio …. — Paris: In Officina Ascensiana [Josse Bade], 1533.

Flemish classical scholar and printer Josse Bade (1462–1535) settled in Paris in 1498, and in 1503 he established his own press there with the help of bookman Jean Petit. The title page of this edition of Cicero shows Bade’s famous printer’s device, which incorporates a working printing press. It is the earliest known representation of the machine.

Purchased in 1926.

An Improved Printing Press

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Pierres, Philippe-Denis.

Déscription d’une nouvelle presse d’imprimerie …. — Paris: Imprimé chez l’auteur, par sa nouvelle presse, 1786.

Philippe-Denis Pierres (1741–1808), printer to the French king, invented several printing presses. This one, in operation in Pierres’s Paris shop since 1784, utilized a cam instead of a screw to lower the platen against the type forme. This was just one of numerous late eighteenth-century attempts to improve the wooden hand press, experiments which culminated in Earl Stanhope’s development of the iron press in 1800. 

Purchased from the Harper Fund.

Printing Press Model

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Robert Hoe & Co.

Hoe quadruple web-perfecting press [paper model]. — Boston: Forbes Co., 1896.

The family of Robert Hoe IV (1833–1909), the first president of the Grolier Club, made its fortune in manufacturing printing presses. Richard March Hoe (1812–1886) patented the first rotary newspaper printing press in 1845, and after 1871, the Hoe web perfecting press superseded it in newspaper work. This tabbed, multi-colored paper model of the web perfecting press, printed in chromolithography, appeared in a September 13, 1896 supplement to The Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

From the Harper Fund, 2003.