My New Press!

I wanted to share with all of you the arrival of my new 380# baby today. A year ago I contacted Stephen Pratt in Utah and asked him to build me one of the Albion Foolscap Folio presses that he builds. The press arrived today. Fellow Albion Club members Mike Parkinson and Norman McKnight were on hand to help with the un-crating and installation. Norman has Pratt Albion #5 at his Philoxenia Press, mine is #18. Norman posted pictures on his blog tonight at and I have posted pictures at I’m also attaching a picture here. The power went out as we started to lift it into place on its trestle tonight, so we installed it by lantern light. I guess for an Iron Hand Press, that may be the only proper way to put it in place…

— Alan

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That’s amazing…..who do I contact?

The builder was Stephen Pratt and his son Ben Pratt. They can be reached via US Mail at:

Pratt Wagon and Press Works
HC-74 Box 6410
Beaver, UT 84713

Congratulations Alan, it’s quite an investment, but a wonderful press.


Thanks Paul!

Actually, it was the visit to your press a few years ago, and seeing your Albions and Washington, that started me down this path. If you’re up this way, stop by and take a look in person.


That’s very neat. Could we get some more detail shots of it? A closer look please? :-)

Can you have more pictures? SURE!

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With new handpresses being made, and with new proprietary foundry type being cast, I feel like the nineteenth century has started all over again.



Beautiful! If you don’t mind me asking, what did that run you? I’d love to have a handpress like that someday.

The base press, with no stand or extras, was quoted at $7,000 a year ago when I ordered it in March of 2011. That was up from $5,000 in 2001. I saved for a few years to order it. With the price of basic Vandercooks now approaching that range, it didn’t seem entirely unreasonable.

Nice! Congratulations.

Alan, could you please send me (or post here) a clear photo that shows the entire press from the front? I have added it to the North American Hand Press Database and I like to have a photo for that record. I’d also appreciate the dimensions of the bed — I have the platen dimensions from Norman McKnight.

Thanks, and congratulations!

Regards, Bob Oldham

Hi Bob,


Platen is 15 inches long, 10 inches wide
Chase is bolted to the bed. Inside the chase is 17 3/4 x 11 1/2
outside chase is 19 3/4 by 13 1/2. Outside dimensions of the chase are aligned with the corners of the bed.

I’ll mail a higher resolution photo directly to you.



The only thing I don’t like about the press is the decision that Steve made to bolt the chase to the bed, rather than attaching corners as is traditional for Albions and other hand-presses. This takes away the possibility of adjusting the form by moving the chase. It also encourages building the form directly on the bed with no way to check for proper lock-up. It’s probably the biggest reason I wouldn’t purchase one (that and the fact that it costs as much as an automobile). I will be curious to see what the price of the smaller version of an Albion that Harry F. Rochat, Ltd. is proposing to manufacture will be.


That is a beautiful press! Congratulations on your new press. Do any members know anything about the other brand new press (clam shell) that is/was being manufactured? I thought I read some where on Briar that it was smaller and only $4000.

Hi Paul,

I remember that being a concern when we discussed that a few years ago. I wonder if Steve would be willing to make corner irons instead of a bolted chase for a custom order. He did some custom changes on mine and seems amenable to customizing as requested. I ordered two extra chases, they do bolt, but with wingnuts, so I can lock up on the bench and then drop it onto the bed and tighten the bolt with wingnuts. Actually, you probably don’t need to tighten, just drop the bolts in to keep it from moving around. If the bolts are the right size, it shouldn’t be a problem for registering. It adds a few minutes to prep time, but works well. I can’t move the chase around on the bed, but I can take it back to the bench and adjust, the same as I do for the jobs on my Chandler & Price 8x12 NS. For smaller jobs I will just lock up in a 5x8 chase and lay it within the bed.

I helped Fred Voltmer restore the 1909 Ulmer Albion at the San Francisco Public Library this winter where we printed a Valentine Broadside for the public on February 4th. It is a nice press, about 10x15 in size, with corner irons. I donated some 10x15 chases for that press and we locked up against the corners with furniture. I can see the utility of being able to switch chases.


devil’s tailpress-Rochat Albion is 16 x22 inch platten, floor standing model, somewhere about £9000 plus tax and delivery,but please check made from completely new patterns, I’ve seen one and it is fab.

@Alan - Good thinking in making the chase more removable. One of the (many) things that bothered me about Rummonds imposing advice was doing it directly on the bed. Being able to safely lift the form is important when underlaying a form is a necessity. I work with a lot of used type, and spot underlays are sometimes the only way to adequately remedy a printing problem. Asa showed me the Albion at the library; glad it got up and running and that you had a hand in it.

@jonathan - The Rochat press looks like it might be the best Albion ever made, considering they adopted improvements in metal composition in their castings. If I had the cash I would not hesitate to purchase one. It is my understanding that they had floated the idea of making a smaller (possibly table-top) Albion. I hope they will.


Wow ! Congrats. That is seriously a work of Art !

Can someone provide a contact on the restoration of a Washington press? Thank!

A place for Printers on the Handpress and exchange place for information.

Hi Alan

I have Pratt-Albion #11, of 2005, and am in touch with Norman McKnight - it’s great to see Steve’s done 18 of these presses - I suspect I’m the only Antipodean that has one - the lantern picture is very entertaining (you mother chops the wood does she?) but I’m very interested in the hand-held rollers on the wall - did you have them made, did you buy them as is? I have a custom made two handled roller, but it’s getting on in years now (had it made 1979)… all best, and happy printing…

Alan Loney

@Alan Loney. The lovely rollers that Alan has hanging above his press were purchased from T. N. Lawrence. I have several, but not a two-handed roller like his large one. They have gotten rather expensive, but I think are the best available today. Check out page 61.


dear Paul

many thanks for this - I’ll also spread the word around this neck of the woods

all best