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News 2015


Setting up our Harrild & Sons Albion: Part 1

Link to Part 1: starting explanation | Part 2: more explanation | Part 3: assembly sequence |

We are hoping to connect with some others with a similar Albion press to help us make subtle adjustments between the spring, handle, platen, & bed.

We bought the press, a Harrild & Sons / London Albion iron handpress from the Museum of Printing in North Andover, MA, in May 2008. The platen size is 21" x 29".

The Albion was our 2nd iron handpress. The first one was a R. Hoe & Co. Washington #5. We've spent most of our rebuilding time working the Washington as it was missing the tympan / frisket and one of the corner irons. We finally got most all of that completed except for a modification to the inner tympan.

We brought Steve Heaver from The Hill Press in Baltimore up to run an Albion workshop for a select group of friends and to help us get the press set up correctly. That turned out to be a lot easier said than done. In the photos down through this page I'll show the parts that impact the lowering of the platen onto the paper.

There seem to be 2 main problems at the moment

1) When you pull the handle it just doesn't seem to move as far as it should indicating that the platen is too close to the type. Right now the tympan / frisket doesn't drag on the platen at all, but it is really close to it. There is almost no room to have to lean into it. It only moves about a foot.

2) The chill is precariously close to falling out. It won't fall, but if we adjust the bar and pulls on the chill or move the spring, it comes apart. Just seems that there is no way it should be this close to falling out.

There are 5 components that seem to impact the pull of the press - 1) the spring at the top, 2) the adjustment at the far side of the bar that moves the chill, 4) the four bolts that hold the platen against the cup, 4) the wedge, and 5) the stop that keeps the handle from over impressing the type.

Above #1: the press generally ready to go.

Above #2: the "spring"

What does tightening versus loosening it do? Make it easier to move the handle back to its standing position? Does anything else change?

What happens at the bottom of it? Does it hook somehow to the peg with the 1" cap you can see right below "& Sons" in the photos a few down.

Does anyone have what originally covered the spring and could you supply us with several good photographs taken all the way around it?

Related to part 2: Several people thought this press would not have had something covering those bolts. After considering the options, and why there are just two screws, I wonder if it wasn't something that might hold the tympan in the "up" position. Worth considering anyway.

Above #3: adjusts the wedge. Generally, should it be pulled farther toward the front or pushed toward the back?

The bolt part on ours is slightly bent. Something obviously heavy hit is sometime in its life. Because of the bend we cannot get the bolt in the last 0.75".

Related to part 2: It appears that we have to get that bolt straightened. Options to do some kind of workaround seem awkward at best and it complicates things if you to continue to adjust things.

Above #4: the bar that controls the "toggle lever" that moves the chill toward the vertical position. Any logical general position? How much of the threaded bolt should be exposed?

Related to part 2: After finishing Part 2 of this process it appeared that this interesting set of bolts had to be screwed on a "lot" more (maybe 6 threads showing instead of the .5 we see here).

Above #5: With everything set as it is now, this is how far I have to go to reach the handle. It can only be about 1.25" closer to me or the tympan would hit it while being lowered.

Should the handle be as close to me as possible without hitting the tympan? Seems like things would be a lot better if the handle was bent toward the printer. I'm not a small guy and I'm right against the rails (and all of that oil) when I reach for the handle and then I'm holding it right on the left end of the wooden section.

Related to part 2: We did get the handle about 0.5" closer to the puller. Not much, but it helps.

Above #6: This is at the end of the pull, which to me seems to not be far enough. The movement of the end of the handle from the beginning to the end of the pull is 15". I'm still quite vertical. Seems like I should be almost forced to lean in to the pull more.

Related to part 2: The pull is at least another 12" now, so things feel more in line with what we think should be happening.

Above #7: We finally found the serial number. By this point in time it appears they weren't going to much trouble to show it. So, 8112. In a photo we took the day we moved this press we took another photo of the other press that was exactly the same. It was numbered 8113. The museum said they got the pair from Pittsburgh. There is a photo in Rummonds' "Printing on the Iron Handpress" that shows two presses at Carnegie Mellon that at least appear generally to be the same kind of press. The sequential serial numbers are a pretty good indicator.

Related to part 2: Those photos we mentioned are at the top of Part 2.

Above #8: Sweet.

An added question: Can anyone share any form of base / stage for your press that perhaps shows it lifted off the floor and showing the brace you would put your foot against?

I may adjust this some if I hear from some people with useful information I can try.