The Washington press differs from the Columbian and Albion in that a very simple toggle joint provides pressure to the platen and on each side of the platen are coil springs which raise it to open position.
The Washington hand press is the invention of Samuel Rust, an American who first produced his press in 1821. In 1834, R. Hoe & Company took over his firm and continued to make the Washington. Many firms manufactured the Washington, some well into the 1900′s. It was the last style of hand press made in the United States.
This press was made and sold by Palmer & Rey of San Francisco, the first successful Far West typefounder. (71 inches high)
I’ve been looking into a number of aspects about the newspaper business in the Old West lately, including business models, ethics, and content strategies. My interest is historical parallels to today’s communication disruption and the paradigm shift in journalism and news media. This press, the Washington Hand Press, was the technological material equivalency of a wordpress or another personally manageable content management system.
It was behind hundreds of pioneer newspapers. They were moved from town to town and run in tents. But most interestingly, the newspapers were rarely, if ever, the money making business. The press itself was. Printers fought for the contracts to print legal notices, land information, wanted posters, and other such information. Many newspapers actively lobbied to get county seats moved where their presses were. Many editors even fabricated news to fill space.