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The Press

The demand for access to news and information in the late 18th century in Britain increased newspaper sales, but the wooden printing presses were not able to keep up.

In 1798 scientist Lord Charles Mahon, 3rd Earl Stanhope found a solution to this problem. 

Lord Mahon invented the first cast-iron press which was double the size of the wooden presses and more durable so could withstand the pressures of repeated prints and keep up with demand. 

Lord Mahon’s design was used to print The Times newspaper for over 20 years making up to 250 impressions (pages) per hour. 

Today it is believed that only around 35 British made Stanhopes are remaining in varying conditions and very few are available for viewing let alone public use.

Significant Importance

The Stanhope press is of significant historical importance due to the success it had in significantly enhancing the worlds capability to mass produce printed material; not only through the use of the Stanhope press but also through the inspiration it gave other inventors who soon after its invention developed other cast iron presses such as the Columbian, Albion and Koenig & Bauer cylinder press. 

Lord Mahon

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Lord Charles Mahon, 3rd Earl Stanhope was one of many British inventors who selflessly used their wealth in the 'Age of Enlightenment' which is evident in his decision not to patent his press design as he wanted others to replicate and develop it further. This was exactly what happened in Europe.

The Stanhope printing press was one of many inventions by Lord Mahon, he also invented the Stanhope lens and led huge advancements of the steam boat.

Stanhope No. 363

Stanhope No, 363 is thought to have been made in 1810 by the original press makers Walker. Lord Mahon was very fond of his press maker Richard Walker. When Charles died in 1817 he left him £200 in his will and all of the tools in the possession of Walker. 

The press was found in disrepair by its current custodian so it is in need of restoration but almost all of the original parts are with the press.

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Our Hope

Our hope is to use some of the funds we are trying to raise through our Kickstarter Campaign to go towards purchasing the Stanhope and moving it to ffowndri, where we will fully restore it and return it to being a press that is adored and is used to press repeat prints.

We have a plan and the support in place to do this within two months of the Kickstarter campaign finishing.

We would love to be the custodians of this amazing press because it is a press that should be shared, demonstrated and used. 

An iron press is the missing link in our press collection and having a Stanhope with such history and importance will aid us massively in our mission to connect people with our print heritage.

Photo above courtesy of Poltroon Press. This is a photo of the actual Stanhope we are hoping to restore and move to ffowndri. This photo was taken in 1984 before the press was left to fall into disrepair.

Photo above courtesy of Poltroon Press. This is a photo of the actual Stanhope we are hoping to restore and move to ffowndri. This photo was taken in 1984 before the press was left to fall into disrepair.


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Kickstarter enables us to properly manage donations / pledges, keep everyone who donates up to date with our progress and offer rewards to those who do support us.

The types of rewards on offer include:

  • £15  Donation - ‘A Tote Full of Hope’ Bag

  • £20 Donation - Hope Print Bundle

  • £65  Donation - Limited Edition Print

  • £75  Donation - Exclusive Poster Workshop

  • £250  Donation - Exclusive Private Workshop for 4 

... along with many others. 

Check out Kickstarter by clicking the button below, to find out more.


EXAMPLES OF THE REWARDS

We have a wonderful range of rewards available for those who support us, all of which have been handmade at ffowndri. Here is an example of some of them:

Ahead of the Curve, Letterpress & Linocut Print

Ahead of the Curve, Letterpress & Linocut Print

Letterpress Printed ‘ A Tote Full of Hope’ Bag

Letterpress Printed ‘ A Tote Full of Hope’ Bag

A Hand Folded & Letterpress Printed 'Hope to do' Pocket Book

A Hand Folded & Letterpress Printed 'Hope to do' Pocket Book