Worldwide hand press database

Worldwide hand press database

An inventory of surviving hand presses and their locations

Welcome to the Worldwide hand press database which brings together information on the location and characteristics of over 2,200 currently existing hand presses. It has been compiled by the printing technology historian Bob Oldham to facilitate historical research, to assist press owners in restoration of their presses, and to help researchers locate examples of early presses for study.

Search the Worldwide hand press data base

The data has been collected over a period of more than twenty years in the course of visits to museums and other institutions where hand presses are displayed or even used, by searching on the Internet, and by compiling information provided by friends and colleagues who saw and photographed or described individual presses. Because of this ‘scattershot’ method of collecting some of the records are incomplete, but over the years many initially scanty records have been filled out with data from various sources, notably from museum professionals whose collections include hand presses.

It should be emphasised that the Worldwide hand press data base is an ongoing project. The help of interested strangers and friends has enabled the growth of both the quantity and the precision of the data recorded, and we hope that users will help make the database a better resource by helping fill in the gaps concerning the presses already partially recorded and about unrecorded hand presses that fall into the hand press category. Many press collections remain unrepresented or under-represented because they have not yet come, or been brought, to our attention. As more presses are added to the database it becomes easier to understand the variety and the numbers of particular kinds of presses, and how techniques developed, spread and in turn influenced later developments.


If you know of any presses that are not currently in the database, or have any suggestions that would help to correct or enrich existing data, please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.