Hoe Washington Imperial Press, circa 1830-31.

After attending the APHA (American Printing History Association) Conference in NYC about two weeks ago, I realized that I should let the printing community know that I own a R. Hoe & Company Imperial Washington press, # 1601, circa 1830-31, likely the finest around of the period—-I used to tease Elizabeth Harris, former curator of printing at the Smithsonian, that if she’d take me out to a good lunch, I might donate mine to replace the Smithsonian’s far less worthy example. The press’s provenance is as follows: It was bought initially by a college in Pennsylvania, then was sold to a printing press dealer in Camden, NJ, who then sold it to a printer here in Colorado. I bought it from his estate (though I mightily encouraged his children/heirs to hold on to it, if not just for sentimental reasons)…

I am not interested in selling it—- some 20+ years ago, the Church of the Latter Day Saints once wanted it for a Morman printing museum of theirs (the First Book of Morman was printed on such, but a bit earlier press). Negotiations fell through and I have held on to my Washington since then….Now I am thinking to lend it on long-term loan basis to a newly created center (non-profit) for printing education in Englewood, CO.

Now I need some help. If I don’t eventually donate my Washington to Tom Parson’s Englewood printing center (there’s a website), who of you out there (non-profits) might want it and then put it to good use. And second, I need some referrals to craftsmen/women who can work up new friskets, tympans, and the like.

Richard Kelly

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There is a Hoe Washington serial number 1570 that has a date of 1849 cast into the staple. R. Hoe did not even start making Washington presses until 1835, so your date of 1830 is considerably off.


So, where’s this Washington with the date cast into it? I own a Washington with a serial number of 1551 which is the lowest serial number I’ve found, but it is not dated.

At the Book Arts Center in Gordo, AL.

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