Antique Press Powered by Live Steam

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A Babcock country press from the 1880s.
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A broadside on display at Printers’ Hall. Early printers composed elegant, elaborate pieces like this to demonstrate their skills to customers.
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Setting up the Babcock, with a 2-page spread on the composition table in the foreground. The process requires a deft touch and infinite patience. “You’re running a thin sheet of newsprint through cast iron machinery,” says pressman Jim Daggs.
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Another broadside at Printers’ Hall.

Printers’ Hall, located in the Heritage Museum on the grounds of the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, recreates a working print shop of the past.

The Threshers Bee, an 8-page newspaper, is published daily during the annual show on a Babcock cylinder press. Live steam is piped from the stationary steam boiler to a vertical engine connected to the Babcock.

The exhibit includes an 1870s hand press, various platen presses, cylinder presses and handset type, in addition to a wealth of related equipment such as folders, bindery equipment and perforating machine. In addition to The Threshers Bee, Printers’ Hall generates various printed materials used at the reunion. FC

For more information: Midwest Old Threshers Reunion, Sept. 3-7, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa; (319) 385-8937;
Watch the Printers’ Hall Babcock press in action on Farm Collector‘s YouTube channel: “Babock Press at Printers’ Hall.”
Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
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