Hopkinson @ Cope printing press

I have a large printing press and because we moved house the press was dismantled for the move, now we need to put it back together but are having trouble remembering were all the bits go. Is there a manual for this or a site that I can this information.
Image of press before dismantle.

image: press


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Depending on how far you took it apart, putting it back together should not be too tricky. You can use your photo as a general guide, although photos at various stages of disassembly would have been very helpful. I would get the major pieces together (press on legs, bed rails mounted with forestay, bed on rails, platen on bed on type-high blocks so you can move it into position to hang it). At that point the parts necessary to assemble the platen support and toggle are basically what is left. The platen return spring will be probably the trickiest if you took it out, as compressing it again may be difficult — but if you didn’t remove it, you should be able to line everything up and fasten it back together.

Depending on where you are (UK?) there are at least a couple of experienced press-moving people who can help.


Hopkinson & Cope. Please note that ‘&’ is the common symbol for ‘and’ & ‘@’ is commonly used for ‘at’.

Thanks, but I am in Australia, so will have to get some type of crane in to move the bits, sorry now that we dismantled it.
Will post pic of stages as they happen.

The paten return spring, anyone got a picture of it, I think it might be lost?? thanks

I have moved half a dozen hand presses of about that size and weight. I used a hydraulic floor crane on wheels, such as is used by automotive shops for removing engines from cars, to lift and move the heavy parts. You can look at:


to see what I mean, and the order of assembly of a Washington hand press, which should be similar to the order you would follow for an Albion. The floor needs to be smooth and firm.

As regards the return spring, if it is lost that could be a big problem. A spring maker for automotive springs could probably make another, but the dimensions and strength are critical. Hope you find it.

Also, depending on where you are located in Australia, there are a number of Albions in private shops there whose owners may be able to help with information.


Catherine, I’m located in Rockhampton, Queensland and have moved my 1 ton press a couple of times. Not an enjoyable experience! The first time I completely dismantled it for a long distance move and used a portable gantry crane (hired from Kennards) that made light work of the task. Getting it back together was a little more tricky. The second move was within the same building and accomplished with the assistance of removalists. Everything apart from the legs and main frame was removed and a couple of very strong men with piano straps lifted it onto a trolley and off again the the new location. If you want to talk through the process I’m happy to assist.

The hydraulic floor crane can lift almost 2 tons, so it is strong enough to pick up the entire press if you wanted to. If all the moving of the parts is done on a single level of a sturdy floor the crane can do it all — moving carefully with another person steadying the load. I completely assembled my Washington hand press with the crane, by myself, and never had to lift more than about 25lbs using my own muscles (pieces of the crane weigh that much when it is broken down). You may be able to rent one from a tool rental shop, but mine cost less than $200 — one of the best investments I ever made for handling heavy stuff.


Thanks again for all the comments, I will not let anyone touch my press until I am sure they know what they are doing. Found the spring see photo but not the top bolt or the crown.

image: spring


Another photo this part was being inserted backyards,

image: press 2.jpg

press 2.jpg

is it ok to clean off and put on rust preventer on moving parts?

image: press


is it ok to clean off and put on rust preventer on moving parts?

Catherinem. I have moved and installed hundreds of Albion and other hand presses. I can already see that you are doing things wrong from the last piccy. Its a pity Im in the UK or I would be able to help.
The last pic shows the piston going in the wrong way round. (see your 1st pic the piston repair is to the fron).Its easier to rebuild the press from the top down. Firstly the spring box piece goes on top of the frame. the two brass plates that hang the piston need to be put back in the piston. Then the piston hangs from the spring box via a pin. (Clean all the metal on metal first, then oil). You will need to remove the platen from the piston first and use a jack or something similar support it).
The two side guides go on next again clean, lubricate the metal on metal pieces.
Insert the handle and place the pin through to hold it to the frame.
Next get the main pin which starts round and should have a square section to fit to back of piston. The central wedge mechanism fits inside the piston with this large pin through it. The wedge piece fits inside here. Attach the mechanism to the handle with the smaller pin. Pull the handle back to the frame and then using a spanner wind up the nut in the spring box which will bring the piston up and pressure into the system. When its correct the handle will have some resistance in it and the wedge will not come loose.
Next fit the platen to the piston with the four bolts and make sure the packing is inserted between the base of the piston and the platen. The platen should have a v shape or straight line down the front of it. This is the front of the platen and should face you.
Get the platen up to the packing but not tight.
Next attach the runners to the frame and the front leg and brake.
Finally the bed goes onto the runners, make sure you tighten the runner bolts and get it square to the frame.
The straps will need attaching to the bed single to the back and double straps to front.

And yes its ok to clean off and use rust preventer. Make sure when you reassemble to use oil as wd40 or rust preventer is not a lubricant.
Good luck,
Let me know if you’re struggling….

Jeremy, thank you, I will cut and print out your comments and try to follow your instructions and post pic of the result. I am in no way good at this, but I am determined to get it right.

Hi Again,
If you get stuck mail me on [email protected] or mail me pics I’ll talk you through it.
Good Luck!

Hi All the press is starting to take shape, but missing is the ornamental spring cover, does anyone have a picture or a spare, the date of the press is 1876. Also what packing goes between the piston and the top plate.

Should the bed and the top of the bed (underneath) be unpainted metal or paint????shoe polish and glycerine I am trying to avoid painting with contemporary paint.

The bed and platen should not be painted ideally. Packing should be about 5-8mm but this could depend on how far up or down the spring is mounted and how much travel you need.

If you mean a brass cap or sheaf of feathers your press doesnt seem to ever have had one. The larger presses which yours seems to be did have the plainer cap/spring box as per your first piccy.