The Presses

Columbian Printing Press 

The focus of the Book Arts Lab is McGill's Columbian Press, an 1821 American iron hand-press lavishly ornamented and topped with a golden eagle. Our press has been dated to 1821, the same year as the founding of McGill University, and believed to be the oldest of its kind in North America. Read more about the 2019 restoration of the press and its history in this Library Matters post.

Farley Proofing Press

This proofing press dates to the 1960s, and was made to allow printers to quickly proof their work for typos and layout issues, before starting the print run. In the Book Arts Lab, it allows us to quickly produce keepsakes, like bookmarks and postcards, which would be too small to print on the Columbian.

Pearl Press

Golding Pearl Press (Boston), manufactured 1912. This is our newest acquisition, purchased in 2020 from Don Black Iron Works and restored by Albert Kwon. 


Photograph of a platen press

Albion Press

The Albion is a British iron hand-press invented c.1823 by R. W. Cope of London. Inscribed on the head of frame is "Hopkinson & Cope, Finsbury, London". On the left side, we see the royal coat of arms cast in iron, and the word "PATENT" inscribed on the left side of the press frame. The Albion located in the Colgate Room of Rare Books and Special Collections is a compact model designed for field press operations. Date of manufacture is between 1837 and 1843.

Stanhope Press

The Stanhope is British iron hand-press, invented ca. 1800.  McGill’s Stanhope is an early model with a serial number 374, stamped with Stanhope and Walker’s name. It has a manufacture date situated between 1813 and 1824. This press is not currently on display, as it requires restoration.

Washington Press

The Washington is an American iron hand-press c.1825. McGill’s model was purchased in 1956 from the widow of painter and Group of Seven member, Frank Carmichael. This press is not currently on display, as it requires restoration.



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