The English Heidelberg

One for the printing historians….

Reading a memoir recently there was reference to a project to make an English version of the Heidelberg Platen after the war. A chap called Bill Williams moved south to Kent Alloys around 1947 to handle the publicity for the project. As was common after the war the shortage of steel necessitated the use of aluminium (I had a 1951 Lanchester which had an aluminium body for the same reason). The project was unsuccessful as while the machine did work it could never do so at speed and used to “walk” across the room.

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This sounds much the same story as the Lagonda platen. Had an allocation of steel to make a handful, and then no more steel so that was it. The Lagonda car company indeed,
and I tried very hard to get one preserved, but no chance,
nobody would listen, not even the Science Museum. Worst of all I went back three days later and even the enormous ‘where to oil’ it diagram had gone like the press and the complete shed it had been in! sigh! There might just be one or two still surviving somewhere. I do believe the Rotaprint litho press had a similar story, a German original, ‘after the war’ is the clue..

One Lagonda survives in the UK see

site also refers to the original Thompson Platen design with a windmill arm … poss the English Heidelberg?

Undoubtedly the one as it’s highly unlikely that Kent Alloys were working on two different Heidelberg copies.
Apparently it didn’t work well at speed so the impression speeds are no doubt spurious.
Great sleuthing!