Sunday, April 19, 2009


Yesterday, Wikipedia provided information on the George Clymer Columbian Press, one of which is located at Quyle Kilns in Murphys.
Pam Quyle very graciously sent me more information on the press, which follows:

Hello Mary, The press is an 1825 George Clymer Columbian Press. Clymer patented the press design before the war of 1812. It is considered an American invention. However, the Colonial printers rejected it preferring the ease of mobility (and cost savings) of the wooden press (getting out of town before being tared and feathered...) Clymer took his wooden prototypes and moved back to England in 1817 and set up a foundry outside of London and produced the cast iron presses there for many years. They sold very well in Europe where print shops stayed in one place. Clymer changed the ornamentation on the presses from year to year. First changing the coiled serpent of the thirteen colonies for a sea serpent and adding a cornucopia of fruits around the brass face plate, and offering other counterweights other than the American Eagle . (The French however preferred the American motifs as they were geared up for revolution also. ) The presses sold throughout Europe and were widely copied. The press we have here in Murphys was sold to a print shop in Nottingham England in 1825 and is one of 12 remaining made by Clymer himself. Paul Quyle (Pam's father) heard it was for sale (in 1962) through an English printing friend, and cabled a bid of two hundred dollars for it which they accepted, boxed it and shipped it to us. Six of his presses have been brought back to the Americas and the other six are still in Europe. In California there are 5 presses, one at UC Davis, ours and three at a printing museum in Los Angeles. The sixth one is at the university at Reno Nevada. Clymer died at age 80 in 1834. The Columbian press continued to be manufactured for many years after his death. However every year shows progressively less ornamentation and the presses became strictly utilitarian. Our press is in perfect working order and sits in our pottery show room in Murphys where it's story entertains (and surprises) our guests daily. Eventually we plan to donate it to a library who will cherish it as we have. The Smithsonian had one on display for many years and just closed their printing section and sent theirs to that printing museum in LA. (Humph!) Thanks for your interest, sincerely Pamela Quyle

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Where on earth is Essex Chronicle's Columbian Press?

You can see a photograph and also a video of our beloved press that disappeared eight years ago...

If you can help please do!!