Shaker Press

“The Shakers: America’s Quiet Revolutionaries”  is a fantastic temporary exhibition at the New York State Museum, located in Albany, New York. In addition to shaker artifacts, there are a number of gorgeous WPA-era photographs of shaker communities. Another part of the exhibition focuses on inventions, which include a flat broom, washing machine, water turbine, folding steroscope, swivel foot for chair legs, and many others.

I particularly liked their very simple method to turn a press screw, pictured below. Usually this is one of the most complicated areas of a press.  By simply offsetting the holes ninety degrees, a tommy bar (called a press pin in bookbinding) can be alternately inserted to complete full rotations from one side of the press. Genius! Also note the simple two part platen holder, which looks a little rinky-dink but apparently has functioned for many years.

A Double Cheese Press.  My Photo.


Detail of double cheese press. My Photo.

A Behemoth

massive press
Monster press. Evergreen Brickworks, Toronto, Canada.

I initially thought this was the most massive two rod screw press I had ever seen.

The center screw was six inches in diameter diameter with a very low thread pitch. The rods were almost four inches in diameter. The upper and lower platens were doubled, one completely encircles the rod and the other runs along it, which I’ve never seen before. It could squeeze the ink out of a book.

But looking closer, the wheel troubled me: it was oddly placed, way too high to be easily accessible, and delicate looking when compared to the rest of the press.

Upon reading the nameplate, it turned out this was a scales and not a press. Likely the machine which did the measurement fit inside the platens, and the screw was a way to calibrate it. I also think this machine was connected to the inside of the brick making kiln behind it.

The W & T Avery Ltd. Co., who made this machine is still in business, and one branch of the business is Avery-Denison. They make sheets of PSA stickers to run through a computer printer, very much the opposite end of the weight spectrum from this monster.

Detail of nameplate. Evergreen Brickworks, Toronto, Canada.


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