The North American Hand Press Database

The North American Hand Press Database, a project of the Ad Lib Press, was begun in 2000 through the merging of four lists of hand presses located in the United States and Canada. The database is in the form of three tables in Microsoft Access, and records the location of the press, the type of frame and model of press, the date of manufacture and serial number, the platen and bed dimensions, and a photo of the press. Not all of this information has been made available for all the current entries, but as additional information becomes available it can easily be added.

For the purpose of the database the working definition of a hand press is a flat bed press with a horizontal platen operated by manually pulling or pushing a lever to press the platen against the paper, which is in contact with the inked image resting on the bed of the press.

The North American Hand Press Database presently records over 1100 hand presses at about 900 locations in North America, ranging from the first press imported to the British colonies to recently-built reproductions of early hand presses. Information from the database is used for historical research, to assist press owners in restoration of their presses, and to help researchers locate examples of early presses for study.

The PDF-version of the database is available here.