Albion Press

The Albion Press was invented by Richard Cope in England in the early 1820's. The press was noted for its lighter weight, ease of use, and quicker, shorter pull than the other presses of the time. When Cope died in 1828, the executors of his estate (J&J Bartlett) continued his press manufacturing company by having John Hopkinson (Cope's foreman) run the business. For a while all three names were on the press. However, from 1840 onward, the company was known as "Hopkinson & Cope." The word "Albion," another name for England, was probably choosen to distinguish it from its chief rival from United States, the " Columbian." The Albion was in production until the 1940's.

The Albion Press in the McCune Collection was manufactured of iron and steel at London in 1852 by Hopkinson & Cope. It received the number #3294. It is a demy sixe, 24 x 18 inches at the platen, stands 6 foot six inches and weighs just under 2000 pounds.

The press was bought by Dr. McCune, upon the advice of Roger Levenson of the Tamalpais Press at Berkeley. It was purchased from Hewitt Bros. of Field St, London. Dr. McCune secured the press in a close race with the University of Texas. Luckily, his serendipitous cablegram arrived in time for him to obtain the press. The Albion Press, a Brayer ink-table, and an unclothed 18 inch roller cost Dr. McCune $1040 F.O.B. San Francisco; freight and erection added $300. He received the press in July 1968.

During the next few years, Dr. McCune hand-printed many broadsides and booklets on this press, and this continued until his stroke in 1971. He donated the press to the Vallejo Public Library along with his book collection. All these items were placed in the special collections room of John F. Kennedy Library and are an integral part of the McCune Collection. The Albion Press has been reconditioned and the McCune Press Society has been formed as a sub-group to the McCune Committee to encourage use of this fine press.


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