Anglo-American Arab Platen Printing Machine, 1842-1880

Made:
1842-1880 in Halifax
maker:
Josiah Wade

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Anglo-American Arab platen printing machine, for printing onto small sheets of paper. It is driven by either treadle or power, 1842-1880. Donated to the Patent Office Museum by Wade in 1881.

Inspired by the George Gordon’s Press, the Arab press was invented and patented by 'self-made' Halifax man Josiah Wade in 1872 and is considered the ‘finest clam-shell platen in the world’. Between 1852 and 1979, around 40,000 Arab printing presses were made by Josiah Wade and his company including many made after Josiah Wade's death in 1908. Arabs remain very popular in UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Wade utilised articulated arms for the forme rollers, originally designed by George Gordon, and the unique ink fountain design, as well as the use leathers for the bearers.

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