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Howard Iron Works Museum donates rare press to the Gilmore group

June 7, 2024  By PrintAction Staff

Robert (Bob) Gilmore, chair and owner of the Gilmore Group of Companies, with the donated press at his Ottawa headquarters.

The Howard Iron Works Museum, Oakville, Ont., gifts the Gilmore Group of Companies a rare and unique printing press.

The Columbian iron press, manufactured in London, U.K., in 1887 by Messrs. V & J Figgins, was the first printing machine to do away with the typical Gutenberg-era wine screw and instead use a unique set of levers to impart the needed pressure. Invented by Philadelphian George Clymer in 1813, the Columbian was the first printing machine to be built of iron in mass production.

The Columbian press is considered the most ornately decorated printing machine ever made. It features the American eagle, Joves’s lightning bolts, and the horn of plenty cast in bas-relief. It was installed throughout Europe until the early 20th century. It was used to print every type of newspaper and book throughout the 19th century, but only about 400 of these machines survive today.


Based in Ottawa, the Gilmore Group was founded by Robert E. Gilmore in 1983.

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