A perfect printing machine…


In 1902, my letterpress was manufactured by the Chandler & Price Company in Cleveland, Ohio, and I’ve often wondered about all the places it has lived since then. I’ve tried to imagine the printers who have worked with it and, marvelling at how beautifully it runs after 107 years (107!), I’ve been thinking more and more about the skills of the men who built it.

The 1902 Chandler & Price Printing Press catalog, titled “The Chandler & Price Press … A Perfect Printing Machine” gives an interesting (and charming) insight into the way these presses were built. Take a look:

“Specializing is the secret of perfection in any line of work, and this is especially true of machine construction. Every machinist who works on the Chandler & Price Press is a specialist, that is, each part is perfectly made by an individual who does nothing else the year round. He is never put on other work… The several parts thus being made by specialists, the assembled machine must be perfect in its operation – perfect parts must make a perfect whole.

“Each part when finished must meet the standard of measurement to the smallest fraction of an inch. Should it fail in this it is condemned immediately. No part is ever ‘made to do’. Accuracy in every detail is essential.”

In 1902 my C&P 8×12 had a list price of $165, and the company’s literature boasted, “Over 15,000 in use. Every one satisfactory.

{Chandler & Price illustration from the 1902 catalog, courtesy of Industrial Objects Infobahn}


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