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Surviving Liberty Presses

Information presented here is based upon postings to the Letterpress E-mail Discussion List, the 2007 Journal of the Printing Historical Society article by Erik Desmyter and Bob Oldham, my own searches on the Internet, and e-mail messages from owners and observers of Liberty platen presses. LetPress messages are referenced by author and date.

Manufacturing dates are estimated from the serial number, using an average of 385 presses built per year from 1860 to 1886, and 273/year afterward.

Owner / Location Model Serial No. Mfg. Date Further Information
 
The first group of presses has an oval plate mounted on the counter-weight that lists only Degener as the manufacturer, and only the original patent. The serial number is not surrounded by a shield.
The Farmers' Museum
Cooperstown, New York, USA
2 610  1861 - 1862 Ted Shuart (LetPress Oct 22, 2004)
The Farmers' Museum
Ed Regan
Rensselaer, Indiana, USA
  728  1861-1863 from Erik Desmyter
Greene County Historical Museum
Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, USA
2 1151  1862 - 1864 from Bob Oldham
Greene County Historical Museum
Private collection
Oklahoma, USA
  1156  1862 - 1864 from Erik Desmyter
Ball State University
Muncie, Indiana, USA
3 1165  1862 - 1864 Detailed report
Ball State School of Art
Brune Printing Company
Paulding, Ohio, USA
2 1180  1862 - 1864 Dave Brune (LetPress Sep 25, 2009)
YouTube video
Federal State Museum of Hesse
Darmstadt, Germany
2 1518  1863 - 1865 Detailed report
Federal State Museum of Hesse
Private collection
Indiana, USA
  1589  1863 - 1865 from Erik Desmyter
International Printing Museum
Carson, California, USA
4 1638  1863 - 1865 from Erik Desmyter
International Printing Museum
Central Print
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
2 1640  1863 - 1865 Central Print
Instagram video
David Carpenter
Warsaw, Missouri, USA
2 2194  1865 - 1866 David Carpenter (LetPress May 8, 2008)
 
There is a significant gap in serial numbers, so we don't know when the manufacturer's name switched to Degener & Weiler. At last report, the following press was dismantled in storage and unavailable for examination. According to a 1985 exhibition catalog the press was made by Degener and Weiler, New York.
Bowne & Co. Stationers, South Street Seaport Museum
New York, New York, USA
3   Steve Saxe (LetPress Oct 30, 1996)
Erik Desmyter (LetPress Oct 24, 2004)
South Street Seaport Museum
 
The next group of presses have a shield on the crank shaft listing the manufacturer Degener & Weiler of New York and London. All three Degener patents and the extension are included in the shield. These were probably manufactured between 1874 and 1877.
Haliburton Highlands Museum
upper Ontario, Canada
2 6140  1875 - 1877 from Erik Desmyter
Hailburton Highlands Museum
Mystic Seaport Museum
Mystic, Connecticut, USA
2 or 2A 6293  1875 - 1877 Detailed report
Mystic Seaport Museum
Ted Salkin
Healdsburg, California, USA
2A 6706  1876 - 1877 Detailed report
Bob Oldham (LetPress May 19, 2005)
 
Weiler bought out the Degener family's interest in the company during 1877. The following press lists the manufacturer as F. M. Weiler of New York and London. The original patent and its extension are included, but the 1870 and 1872 patents are not listed.
International Printing Museum
Carson, California, USA
2A 6918  1877 - 1878 Detailed report
International Printing Museum
 
The following presses list the manufacturer as F. M. Weiler of New York. (London was dropped.) All three patents and the extension are included. An 1887 ad notes the press is available "with or without throw-off, purchaser's choice."
Göta Svensson
Holmsund, Sweden
3 8173  1880 - 1882 from Göta Svensson
Private collection
France
2 8210  1880 - 1882 from Erik Desmyter
Deutsches Technikmuseum
Berlin, Germany
2A 8546  1881 - 1883 from Erik Desmyter
Deutsches Technikmuseum (German Museum of Technology)
History San Jose
San Jose, California, USA
3 8574  1881 - 1883 Detailed report
History San Jose Print Shop
Patrick Goossens
Antwerp, Belgium
2A 8739  1882 - 1883 from Erik Desmyter
Druckereimuseum "Benary-Speicher"
Erfurt, Germany
  8826  1882 - 1884 Detailed report
Druckereimuseum "Benary-Speicher"
Germany   8853  1882 - 1884 Offered in a Nov 25, 2006, auction
Platen Press Museum (Paul Aken)
Zion, Illinois, USA
2A 8950  1882 - 1884 Detailed report
Earliest known press with a throw-off, patented in 1886.
Father Miguel O'Reilly House
St. Augustine, Florida, USA
2A 8965  1882 - 1884 from Erik Desmyter
Father Miguel O'Reilly House Museum
Private Collection
Belgium
2A(?) 9003  1882 - 1884 from Erik Desmyter
No throw-off
Muzeum In ynierii Miejskiej w Krakowie
Cracow, Poland
  9090  1883 - 1884 Picture by Martyn Kramek
No throw-off
Muzeum In ynierii Miejskiej w Krakowie
Private Collection
Belgium
2A 9118  1883 - 1884 from Erik Desmyter
No throw-off
Drukkerijmuseum Meppel
Meppel, Netherlands
9157  1883 - 1885 Detailed report
No throw-off
Sarah Verroken
Lessines, Belgium
2A 9223  1883 - 1885 Detailed report
No throw-off
Plombe et Encre
Chavannes-près-Renens (near Lausanne), Switzerland
  10059  1885 - 1887 from John Cornelisse
Association d'Encre et de Plomb
 
The press with serial number 10226 has a plaque listing 9 patents dated Nov 1885 to Aug 1887. Presses that included the innovations represented by these patents (including noiseless gripper motion, triple combination fountain, and new throw-off) were marketed as "New Style Noiseless" Liberty presses. The throw-off came on all presses.
Kulturhuef (Musées Arts Cinéma)
Grevenmacher, Luxembourg
  10221  1887 - 1888 Picture from Monika Jakobs
Kulturhuef (Musées Arts Cinéma)
Junin, Bunos Aires, Argentina   10223  1887 - 1888 Instagram Picture from Pablo Fogareta
As of May 2014, the press was still in use
Jamie Ferguson
New South Wales, Australia
2A 10226  1887 - 1888 Detailed report
Heritage Museum
Libby, Montana, USA
3 10354  1887 - 1888 J. Mike Powers (LetPress Apr 23, 1999 and Nov 23, 2001)
Heritage Museum
Tempo Srl
Belluno, Italy
2 10415  1887 - 1888 Detailed report
Museum for the Printing Arts
Leipzig, Germany
2A 10424  1887 - 1888 Museum for the Printing Arts
 
The following presses show the manufacturer as F. M. Weiler of New York and Berlin. No patents or extensions are listed.
HIRGO (Hoger Instituut voor Grafische Opleiding)
Gent, Belgium
2A 11883  1892 - 1894 Erik Desmyter (LetPress Aug 5, 2001)
Royal Library's Museum of Book Printing
Brussels, Belgium
2 or 2A 11897  1892 - 1894 Detailed report
Royal Library
Luis Nunes
Penalva do Castelo, Portugal
2A 12026  1892 - 1894 Detailed report
Municipal Library of Penalva do Castelo
Erik Desmyter
Gent, Belgium
2A 12274  1893 - 1895 Erik Desmyter (LetPress Aug 5, 2001)
Briar Press On-Line Press Museum
Maasmechelen Municipal Library
Maasmechelen, Belgium
12938  1896 - 1898 Detailed report
Maasmechelen Municipal Library
Niall Cook
United Kingdom
4 13171  1897 - 1898 Niall Cook (LetPress Apr 27, 1999)
Drukkerijmuseum Strobbe
Izegem, Belgium
2 or 2A 13263  1897 - 1899 Detailed report
Private Collection
Belgium
  13952  1899 - 1901 from Erik Desmyter
Private collection
Belgium
2A 14442  1901 - 1903 from Erik Desmyter
Bibliotheque Universitaire Moretus Plantin
Namur, Belgium
2(?) 14463  1901 - 1903 from Erik Desmyter
Museum of Industrial Archaeology and Textile (MIAT)
Gent, Belgium
3 14525  1902 - 1903 Detailed report
Museum of Industrial Archaeology and Textile
Herwig Kempenaers
Turnhout, Belgium
2A 14631  1902 - 1904 Detailed report
Historische Drukkerij Turnhout
Private Collection
Belgium
2 or 2A 14697  1902 - 1904 from Erik Desmyter
Private collection
Belgium
  14923  1903 - 1905 from Erik Desmyter
Private Collection
Belgium
3 or 3A 15290  1904 - 1906 from Erik Desmyter
 
Serial numbers and descriptions have not been reported for this final group.
Genadendalse Drukkery/Printing Works
Genadendalse, South Africa
    from Helen Evans (on Briar Press)
Genadendal Mission Station
1905-1906 Underground Printing House
Moscow, Russia
    Detailed report
Eduardo Lovo
El Salvador
    In 2010 Eduardo sent a picture and said he was
"organizing a Printing Museum in El Salvador";
this video may be related.

The following are Liberty-like presses made by other manufacturers:

Owner / Location Manufacturer Further Information
Kner Printing Industry Museum
Gyoma, Hungary
J. Anger and Son
Vienna, Austria
Detailed report
Erik Desmyter (LetPress Jul 11, 2004)
Books from the Gyomai Kner Press exhibit
Book Art Museum
Lodz, Poland
J. Anger and Son
Vienna, Austria
from John Cornelisse
Serial # 13312; Size: 42x50 cm
Book Art Museum
Museum of Industrial Archaeology and Textile (MIAT)
Gent, Belgium
Henri Jullien
Brussels, Belgium
YouTube video
Museum of Industrial Archaeology and Textile
Giuseppe Casazza
Lendinara, Italy
J. H. Rust & Co.
Vienna, Austria
Detailed report
Print shop on display

If you come across a Liberty press or can provide further information on the ones listed here, please let me know. Here are some tips on how to identify a Liberty press.


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