Furnival & Co platen

Hello, does anyone know anything about Furnival & Co. platens, in picture below? Advertised as “the machine for colonists”, think it’s the (Improved?) Express Platen, between 1885 - 1905 (?)

image: furnivalpress.jpg


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I have a Furnival ‘Express’ similar to the one in your picture. Mine is number 366. The machine number is stamped on the sector plate of the impression lever.

It seems they made two slightly different designs, with the main difference being the shape and positioning of the rear platen. I am not sure which came first, though the one in your picture strikes me as being the older of the two designs. They were visually very similar to the contemporary Arab. In the 1920’s they made a third design which did not have the moving rear platen.

The Furnival company was based at Reddish, once an outlying area of Manchester. They built several different types of printing press including platens, cylinders and lithographic presses. They were a general engineering company and also made other plant, including oil engines. Chester Engine museum has a Furnival Express engine which drives a matching Furnival Express platen printing press insanely fast. (The press is of the later variety). Furnival presses could, like most platens of the time, be run from an external power source via a couple of pulleys - one keyed on to the shaft, the other an idler. When applying the brake lever, this also shifts the power belt to the idler wheel.

Mine has an inner chase size of 13 inches by 9 inches, and is known for some reason as a ‘foolscap’ platen though even demi foolscap would not fit without trimming. A4 works perfectly though! The way the chase fits into the machine is via a simple lever - much easier than the Arab.

Another point to make is the inking. They seem to have very reliable inking systems. Mine has roller housings for three rollers though I only run two. The ink duct was a ‘bolt on’ (quite literally) and does a good job of supplying copious amouts of ink for a long job, though I haven’t required this yet. The impression these supply is very good, and once set up (via four large bolts on the rear platen) seems to be a very straightforward machine to work with. I think mine is great! (See my profile for a picture of it).

Good day Vorticist , I’ve had the pleasure of getting my hand on No 365, but I don’t know much about this press as to its age and can you still get parts for them looking for any info you could pass on Regards Adrian