Help with Book Press

I just assembled this book press and was wondering two things. Does anyone know the make/model? And is the steel plate supposed to be on angle? I had a discussion about it w/ my husband - he seems to think it should because the steel plate is thinner (therefore lighter) on one side than the other.

image: book press

book press

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There were lots of makers of these presses and few identified themselves, so make and model are pretty hard to determine. The press looks fine. Because the platen is hanging from the screw end, any slight reason for it to get crooked will cause that. If you’re going to use it for bookbinding, it shouldn’t be an issue. If you expect to print with it, get four type-high blocks — old photoengravings are ideal — to put under the four corners of the platen. They will level the platen before impression.

Thanks AdLib! I’m not going to be printing with it, it will be mostly used to flatten paper that has been wet. But the blocks in the four corners is a great tip.

If I’m not mistaken, this is actually an old copy press. Somebody recently showed me a book which documents them all. There was a specific kind of paper, layers of felt, and possibly some sort of solvent which were all used in combination to make an “analog xerox” of a document.

There seems to be a myriade of unidentified manufacturers that produced copy presses. They also go by a variety of other names: book press, bookbinders press, nipping press, etc. I have a lot of them and they are all different. They were quite common in the nineteenth century and just about every bank and law office had one for copying documents. Their style/shape ranges from the fairly plane (like yours) to the highly ornamental.

Your plate should essentially float/pivot on the end of the screw and will level out when it contacts the surface it is impressed against.

Thanks everyone! I”m happy to have her as part of my fleet.