World-wide Census of Columbian hand presses

In conjunction with this year’s 200th anniversary of George Clymer’s invention of the Columbian hand press, I am compiling a world-wide census of Columbian hand presses by all manufacturers. So far I know of 161 presses in 15 countries, made by 26 different manufacturers. I would be glad to learn of others.Please send information through my Briar Press email. Thanks!

Bob Oldham
Ad Lib Press

image: Museum of Victoria Au Columbian outlined.jpg

Museum of Victoria Au Columbian outlined.jpg

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I installed one today, rescued from being a basket case. Installed at Maidenbridge Gallery, Bentham. N. Yorks UK. Press is 19 x 15 by Fredk Ullmer. Dated 1862 no. 877.
I know of a lot more.

My late Father had 5 or more Columbians at the now defunct Printing House Museum in Cockermouth, UK. These were by Clymer and Dixon, Edward Bevan, Miller and Richard, etc. I will endeavour to get more details as they now reside (after surviving a flood) in Belgium. I am visiting the owner of this collection next week and can get more info on these and all his other Columbian presses. There is a large Columbian at Manchester Metropolitan University which I moved last December and a smaller one at Hot Bed Press in Salford, Greater Manchester which we also moved. A huge press at Glasgow Print Studio by Long of Edinburgh. You may need to contact direct to get details of age and size as I dont have that information. I have moved so many presses over the years I have lost count! Jeremy (again)

Jeremy, Thank you very much for that info. I will try to follow up what I can and I would be grateful for whatever additional details you can supply. Feel free to email me through Briar Press. I know of the press at the Glasgow Art School — is that the same one? Sorry to hear that the Cockermouth museum is defunct. Are those presses in Patrick Goossens collection? Thanks again!


Here some information’s about a Danish Columbian press manufactured by Otto Bock, Copenhagen 1837.
Gott grüß die Kunst

sent you a mail with info

Thank you! All information about Columbians anywhere is gratefully received!


Hi Bob,
Yes they went to Patrick, he is a good friend of mine. I will endeavour to follow up with some more info.

New member here. My father was a printer - Letter Pressman for almost 40 years. I love the craft and am always on the look out for things related to it.

Today I found a plate for this press that holds type and is actually full of old wood type set up as a wall decoration.

If anyone’s interested I will post a picture of it. I would like to verify the press it fits.

Thank you,


Bob, We have what appears to be a Clymer & Dixon no. 131. We can barely make out the manufactured date but it looks like 1830. We would like to find out more about this press and possibly even restore it. It is mostly complete with only the small counter weight missing. How can we find out more about this press?

Post a picture. Finding more out about your actual press may be difficult unless you have its provenance.
Quite a few Columbians left UK for the US in the 60s and 70s when their true need was no longer.
Whereabouts is it? Do you know its former owners, some presses once they left commercial print could have been through several sets of private hands and its history dissolves into thin air.

For some reason I am not able to post a picture.
As we are just starting to dig into this press I don’t know much yet. But we will keep digging. Current location of this press is in Bronx, NY. Just relocated from Princton, NJ.

I am from india and has 2 nos of fully restored columbian press. If interested I will sent you the photographs,

The father of the sisters who run Quyle Kilns in Murphys, California, was a letterpress man. On their website they mention having a 1825 Columbian.

I tried checking to see if the census already reported that one, but the census seems lacking on specific owner info.

I have a Columbian Press here in my studio in Melbourne, Australia. Manufactured by
James Cox, 1 Wenlock Rd, City Rd, London.
I am unable to see a date or number but the wooden bar handle is charred beneath (from the candle illumination?) and is worn down where the thumb on the printer’s right hand would be placed when taking an impression. It’s had a full working life but still prints well. The dark green paint is flaking but has no other colour beneath so perhaps this is its original paintwork. Anyone else have a James Cox?boldface.fineart on Instagram.