Pulling The Columbian

22 Nov


I had a very busy Sunday pulling some woodcut prints down at Swansea Print Workshop. I used the beautiful old Columbian press, an antique dating from the 1850s, when Queen Victoria was on the British throne. How many prints have been pulled off this press? How many hands have pulled the lever?

It’s not only lovely to use, but also lovely to look at, with beautiful cast iron decoration, brass inlays and large, smooth wooden handles. Invented by American George Clymer around 1813, it took over from the Stanhope Press and allowed a whole newspaper page to be printed in one pull. It didn’t sell well in the USA so Clymer moved to Britain a few years later and established a very successful business manufacturing and supplying the Columbians across Britain and Europe. Many of them, like this one, have a bald eagle as a counterweight.


Here’s a video of it in action:

A friend who is an antique furniture expert went into raptures about the patina on the wooden handle and said to never ever clean and polish it. That sort of patina is only acquired with age and enhances the value of the piece.

6 Responses to “Pulling The Columbian”

  1. Phil Cooper November 23, 2015 at 17:14 #

    What an awesome press, what character , I love it !

    • Rosie Scribblah November 24, 2015 at 10:01 #

      It’s a beauty

    • Rosie Scribblah November 24, 2015 at 10:02 #

      Basically, he was a greedy guts and would try to eat anything. He tried to eat my cats tail. He wasn’t amused. The cat I mean.

  2. allesistgut November 23, 2015 at 08:45 #

    I see you had your workout at the weekend. 😉 Such a lovely machine! Have a happy start to the week. 😀

    • Rosie Scribblah November 23, 2015 at 09:54 #

      Oh yes it’s given me lots of exercise! Have a good week – very cold here, heading your way I’m afraid


  1. Easy Peasy Quick Ink | scribblah - March 31, 2019

    […] often print small blocks at home as I can do them by hand and don’t need to use the fabulous Columbian press at Swansea Print Workshop. This is how I set up a little inking station without fuss or […]

Please Leave a Reply. Thank You.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: