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Conisbee 'Atlas' Treadle Platen

Started by Jeff Zilles [jeffo], October 11, 2009, 12:46:08 AM

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Jeff Zilles [jeffo]

One of the rarer items in the 'Cave' collection is a smallish handfed platen manufactured by the firm of William Conisbee & Sons, Atlas Works, Herbert's Buildings, Waterloo Road, London.

We believe the particular model  to be a Conisbee 'Atlas' and the vintage to be 1870-74 or a little earlier.

The fact of it's existence leads me to question whether there are any more known to survuve and if so where they are.

It is not my intention to start a register of the marque - there are people better qualified and equpped than I who may perhaps do so - My interest is simple, to find if there are any more examples in captivity and whether or not they are up to or close to going condition.

An ask around some of the local knowledeables leads me to believe, so far, that there are no more to be found in Oz - this post may well prove me wrong.

I won't go into a long description of the mechanicals unless someone particulary requests it - the accompanying partial clip of the advertising piece reveals most of the features. The chase size is about 13" x 9".

Let's hope that we can find one or two, at least. around the globe


Dave Hughes

As you probably know Jeff, there's some info on another "Conisbee" press here:

There's a little bit of a bio on Mr Conisbee:


The press was named after Thomas Main, a printer who took out a patent for his Main or Tumbler machine in 1850. The peculiarity of the Main consisted of the rocking action of the cylinder which lifted slightly and rolled backwards or 'tumbled' back to the starting position after the impression stroke. It was claimed this action enabled the printed sheets to be delivered more efficiently! He joined with William Conisbee in 1854 but apparently got into financial difficulties shortly thereafter and fled to Australia. (where else!) Conisbee, undeterred, bought out the patent, improved the machine and in 10 years sold some 700 models (unsure whether he continued with the Tumbler principle on later models?).

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