What does a Snapper look like?

A seller on this web site has an 1800s Snapper for sale. A letterpress friend in Iowa mentioned it the other day in a list of machines he has used. What is a Snapper? Is it a generic name for a treadle platen press? If it’s a brand name, does anyone have a photo or two of it? What is the source of the name?

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As I understand the reference, a “snapper” is one of the presses made which has the platen hinged fairly close to the bottom of the bed of the press, unlike the Gordon style presses on which the platen is hinged near the floor so the platen makes a wider arc when it closes.

There are a myriad of “snappers” out there, and generally they have a very steep angle when feeding to the platen, as there is less space available and the platen does not rotate to as flat a position as the gordon style presses. This looks more like a biting action when in motion, and does provide less room to safely feed to and deliver a sheet from the press. As with anything else, if used with care, these presses are perfectly safe to feed.

They do not always feed on you!

John Henry
Snapper feeder from way back

“Snapper” is also slang for just about any foor model Gordon Style platen (C&P, Kluge etc). John Henry’s definition is the dead on accurate one though.