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Mystery Press

Started by Dave Hughes, November 13, 2010, 01:09:17 PM

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Dave Hughes

George Finn recently contacted me with a photograph he has acquired.

It appears to be a press of some sort.

Does anyone know anything more about it (or prepared to speculate).

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Jeff Zilles [jeffo]

Cannot read the writing on the manufacturers nameplate no matter what the resolution or magnification applied, and the absence of that information makes my guess a good deal more chancy.

To take a punt on the descriptive term -- It is a Beam Press.

Beam Presses of various sizes and configurations had various diverse uses throughout manufacturing industry.

The application that first comes to mind in the printing and associated trades is die cutting.

Shapes such as envelopes - which are higgledy-piggledy diamond shapes before they are formed into the neat, acceptable square or rectangular receptacles of good or bad news by specialist machinery, which is a joy for the mechanically bent among us to watch, or in the arty-crafty studio by deft and dedicated hands - and shaped labels - like those crescent shaped decorations that used to be found around the tapered necks of bottles - or again those shield shaped tags that used to be attached by a string to new clothing  ---  One has to have been around for half a century or so to even remember this stuff.

The dies were solid craftman made pieces - can provide a few pictures of some, still in the 'Cave', many of which pre-date me, if anybody wants them.

Depending on the stock and the particular job, it would not be unusual to cut from 1/2 to 1 inch [12 to 25mm] of material at a crunch.

In smaller shops where the expense and space required for such specialised equipment was not warranted, small runs of label cutting were often done under the clamp of a manual clamp guillotine.

The machine pictured is probably not set up for die-cutting as such but for some other purpose - there appears to be only one sheet of stock positioned over something that cannot be recognised which in turn is placed between the overlay sheet and a number of offcuts from a timber [lumber] yard.

The press itself has apparently been modified for its special purpose in one area at least with the addition of an amount of packing under the adjusting screws at each end of the beam.

The last one I observed in operation must have been about fifty years ago and that machine was a good deal younger than the one presented here.


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