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Re: [BKARTS] Hickok standing press - restoration


I read your message with interest.   I acquired back in the '70s from the 
printer and bookbinder in my village an old Hampson,Bettridge & Co. 
standing press, probably made ca 1860-70 .  The address at that date was 
found in a trade directory for London.

It was in filthy condition, but was complete.   The wood was heavily 
blackened and stained, but I was able to clean it down by careful use of a 
belt sander to the clean wood.   I believe it was constructed from chestnut 
and elm.

The metal parts were more problematic.    I had them sand blasted back to 
the bare metal (making sure the square Acme thread was protected) prior to 
enamelling, which removed the remnants of the original enamelling.  The 
threaded portion I managed to find someone with a large lathe to hold the 
piece which allowed me to carefully clean the thread using fine emery paper 
back to the bright steel.   The other screwed part was brass, which was 
cleaned with metal polish and light hand-sanding.     The other metal parts 
were also sand blasted.

Having covered the parts not needing paint the stove enameller then primed 
the metal and applied the final enamel colour -  I used Brunswick Green.   
The name plate I finished by picking out the maker's name and address with 
imitation gold paint.

I have not finished the wood, except for a coat of suitable oil.   I think 
leaving the wood in its natural state is best, rather than painting.   The two 
large coach bolts into the wood holding the platen to the "handle" were 
sanded clean and treated with rust preventer gel (contains phosphoric acid).    
I would use this gel on the metal platen surfaces after cleaning.

If you can find a good tool shop you ought to be able to find a replacement 
bolt and suitable washers.   A good machine shop should be able to tell you 
the type of thread on the missing bolt, or find a nut that fits.   If I was 
replacing them I would give consideration to using zinc plated bolts to resist 

I am not sure when your press might have been made, but the casting 
presumably gives a name and location?    Would a library in that area have 
old trade directories that would enable you to trace the maker and therefore 
the approximate dates?

I cannot give  date for your press, or its rarity.   Wooden standing presses 
with similar handles to yours are shown in Diehl's book (1948) and also 
Cockrells book (1906) and have been around for some 150 years or more.   
The standing press at the auction of Cockrell's Bindery, St Ives, in 1990 sold 
for £2600, but that high price was primarily due to the name association.   

Hope that helps a little

Rodney Fry

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