Out of Sorts
Studio & Printery

The Potter Proof Press

In October 2017, I was gifted a Potter Proof Press. Until this time, I had never heard of a proof press, let alone had any clue how to use one.

The press came from an artist in Montreal and after a few mistakes on the movers part (ie. that despite being told it was HEAVY, they showed up with rope and a dolly) was shipped to us in Niagara Falls. It weighs close to 1000lbs, took three very strong/crazy men to move it down into the basement and then required some Egyptian techniques (pieces of old pipe and a broken broom handle), along with an engine hoist, to move it into the room that was being transformed into the studio.

In taking the press apart to move it, we discovered that the serial numbers on the bed, drum and stand all matched and that underneath all that black paint, was a turquoise paint. My long term goal will be to restore it back to its original colour.

In trying to identify the model, I have referred to an online census (https://vandercookpress.info/vanderblog/potter-2/potter-census/_) and the 1923 American Type Foundation specimen leaflet. (http://vandercookpress.info/potter.html).

Although quite similar to the No. 2.0 Press, my press has several distinct differences; different foot pedal, feed guides/grippers on the drum, no ink stand attached to the bed, the main stand is a different shape and the actual size of the bed is marginally smaller than the dimensions listed for the No. 2.0 model.

Further research then confirmed that up until 1914, Potter Proof Presses were made by A.F. Warner & Co. Manufacturing of the presses then changed to Horace Hacker & Co. from 1914, before Challenge Machinery acquired the brand in 1931 and the badges attached to each individual press stipulate the manufacturer.

The emblem attached to the stand of my press would indicate that my press is pre 1914 and thus far I have not uncovered any records of what this particular model design was called.