This letterpress platen was manufactured by Chandler and price, Cleveland, Ohio, USA between 1903 and 1904.

Letterpress is a term used to define the process of printing from a raised surface, be it type or block. The term takes it origins from the act of pressing a letter onto another substance, usually paper.

Setting type by hand is known as 'composing the type'.

The type is taken letter by letter and placed into a 'setting stick' -- a wood or metal tray held in one hand and the words are built into lines of type of a set width.

The lines are then put together to make a page inside a metal frame called a "chase". Spaces in amongst the page are filled with wooden or metal "furniture". The furniture is level with the surfaces of the type blocks so as not to pick up any ink. The spaces between the chase walls and the page are filled with expandable "quoins". Quoins, when tightened, lock all the type and furniture securely within the chase (now called a "forme").

The forme is placed on the press and printing commenced.

More Information

  • Collecting Areas

    Information & Communication

  • Acquisition Information

    Donation from Victoria: Government Printing Office, by Oct 1987

  • Manufacturer

    Golding Manufacturing Co, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America

  • Past Owner

    Chandler & Price, Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America

  • Inscriptions

    Serial number: 40381 (The serial number can be found at top right of the bed.) Cast on rocker: Chandler & Price Cast on roller bearer at rear: The Chandler & Price Co Cleveland, Ohio, USA

  • Classification

    Communications, Printing, Printing presses

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • Overall Dimensions

    1360 mm (Length), 820 mm (Width), 1270 mm (Height), 450 kg (Weight)
    Dimensions measured with bed fully extended. Length 950 mm when press plate is closed. Historical dimensions: known as an 8" x 12" press. The area that could be printed was the internal dimensions of the chase, as with all platen presses.

  • Case Dimensions

    1220 mm (Length), 722 mm (Width), 1280 mm (Height)
    Case dimension.

  • Other Dimensions

    350 mm (Length), 230 mm (Width)
    Bed dimensions.

  • Other Dimensions

    380 mm (Length), 250 mm (Width)
    Plate dimensions.

  • Other Dimensions

    360 mm (Length), 40 mm (Width)
    Roller dimensions. There are three rollers.

  • Keywords

    Printing Equipment, Printing Presses