Posts Tagged ‘R Hoe & Co’

Printing Press Trivia

March 26, 2009


These are some random “printing press” items I ran across while searching for printing related topics. Previous related posts :  The Poetic Printers, Robert Hoe of R. Hoe & Co., and Richard M. Hoe: Celebrated Inventor.

A citizen of Connecticut has invented a printing press, which he claims will strike off four thousand copies of the New Testament per diem, or four hundred copies of a newspaper per minute.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Sep 27, 1867


The first printing press ever taken West of the Missouri was established by the Mormons at Independence, in 1832.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Aug 13, 1868

Robert Hoe, the printing press inventor, began life as a Leicestershire (England) mechanic, and came to New York in 1815.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Dec 31, 1868

Not satisfied with the great advances in the printing press, R. Hoe & Co. are at present engaged in perfecting a press on the principle of printing both sides at once from a continuous roll of paper.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Oct 21, 1869


The well known press builders, R. Hoe & Co., have instituted an industrial school in their manufacturing establishment, convinced that the efficiency and success of their corps of workmen would be greatly increased if they possessed a good English education and a thorough knowledge of the fundamental principles of mathematics and mechanics.


The course of study embraces grammar, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, reading, writing, drawing, composition, the ten science principles and Overman’s Mechanics. The classes in these various branches recite once a week, the recitation being an hour in length. The lessons given are long, but the apprentices have ample time out of work hours not only to prepare them but to reflect upon and study their practical applications. All the apprentices, numbering upward of a hundred, are compelled to go through this course of study, and as the term of apprenticeship ranges from five to seven years, they have time to become proficient in every branch taught, so that when their apprenticeship is over they have a thorough English and technical education so far as mechanics is concerned. Everything is furnished gratuitously, the best of instruction, text books, and drawing materials; and the annual outlay required is very trivial compared with the valuable results already attained.

Daily Gazette and Bulletin (Williamsport, Pennsylvania) Jan 19, 1875


THE will* of the late George P. Gordon, the inventor of the printing press that bears his name, and who left an estate valued at $800,000, has been contested in the King’s county Surrogate’s Court, New York, and refused admission to probate on account of insufficient execution. It seems to be an easier matter to make an intricate piece of machinery than to legally give away the profits of it. Millionaires must feel disgusted with themselves as they contemplate the fun their taking-off gives rise to.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Apr 11, 1878

George Gordon, aged 68, died Jan 27, 1878 at his farm near Norfolk, VA.

*This will contest was not settled until 1897, after the heirs had all passed away.


Pioneer Women Journalists.

Of the 37 newspapers in the American colonies at the time of the Revolution, says E. Cora Depuy in The Household Realm, several were owned and managed by women.

The first newspaper published in Rhode Island was owned and edited by Mrs. Anna Franklin and established in 1732. She and her two daughters wrote the items and set the type, and their servants worked the printing press. For her quickness and correctness Mrs. Franklin was appointed printer to the colony, supplying pamphlets to the colonial officers. In 1772 Clementine Rind was publishing a paper in Virginia called the Virginia Gazette, favoring the colonial cause and greatly offending the royalists. Two years later Mrs. H. Boyle started a paper under the same name, advocating the cause of the crown. Both were published at Williamsburg, and both were short lived.

In 1773 Elizabeth Timothy started a paper in Charleston. After the Revolution Anna Timothy became its editor and was appointed state printer, which position she held for 17 years. About the same time Mary Crouch started a paper in Charleston in vigorous opposition to the stamp act. She afterward moved it to Salem, Mass., and continued its publication for many years.

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Feb, 21 1898

For more, read Women in Newspapers at the Matilda Joslyn Gage website.

Samuel Pennypacker

Samuel Pennypacker

All the newspapers of Pennsylvania, regardless of party, have joined in the crusade against Gov. Pennypacker on account of his signing the new libel law. It is quite possible that they will find that they are protected under the clause of the Pennsylvania constitution which says that “the printing press shall be free to every person who may undertake to examine the proceedings of the legislature or any branch of government, and no law shall ever be made to restrain the right thereof.”  That is very broad and seems to cover amply such cases as those designed to be hit by the new law. It would be most logical if the law were declared unconstitutional.

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) May 18, 1903

Richard M. Hoe: Celebrated Inventor

March 24, 2009



A Name That Will Remain Inseparably Connected with the Development of the Printing Press — The Simple Device Which Brought Him Fame.

The recent death of Col., Richard M. Hoe in Florence, Italy, closes the career of one whose name is known wherever the newspaper is used to spread intelligence. He was senior member of the firm of printing press makers, and one of the leading inventors and developers of that great lever of public opinion.

Col. Hoe’s father was the founder of the firm. He came to this country from England in 1803, and worked at his trade of carpentry. Through his skill as a workman he was sought out by a maker of printer’s material named Smith. He married Smith’s sister, and went into partnership with Smith and brother. The printing presses of those days were made chiefly of wood, and Hoe’s skill as a wood worker was valuable to the firm. In 1822 Peter Smith invented the hand press, of which we give an illustration, and which will be recognized by many an old printer, though many are in use to this day.


This press was finally supplanted by the Washington press, invented by Samuel Rust in 1829. From the manufacture of the Smith presses, Hoe made a fortune, as the inventor died a year after securing his patent, and the firm name was changed to R. Hoe & Co. The demand for hand presses increased so that then years later it was suggested that steam power might be utilized in some way to do the pulling and tugging necessary in getting an impression. At this time the late Col. Hoe, one of the sons of the founder of the house, was an attentive listener to the discussions in regard to the possibility of bringing steam power to aid the press. Young Richard M. Hoe was born in 1812. He had the advantage of an excellent education, but his father’s business possessed such a fascination for him that it was with difficulty he was kept at school. He was a young man of 20 before his father allowed him to work regularly in the shop. He  had already become expert in handling tools, so that he soon became one of the best workmen. He joined with his father in the belief that steam would yet be applied to the printing press, and the numerous models and experiments they made to that end would, in the light of the present day, appear extremely ridiculous. In 1825-30 Napier had constructed a steam printing press, and in 1830 Isaac Adams, of Boston, secured a patent for a power press. These inventions were kept very secret, the factories in which they were made being guarded jealously. In 1830 a Napier press was imported into this country for use on The National Intelligencer. Old Maj Noah, editor of Noah’s Sunday Times and Messenger, was collector of the port of New York in those days, and being desirous of seeing how the Napier press would work, sent for Mr. Hoe to put it up. He and Richard succeeded in setting up the press, and worked it successfully.

The success of the Napier press set the Hoes to thinking. They had made models of its peculiar parts and studied them carefully. Then, in pursuance of a plan suggested by Richard, his father sent his partner, Mr. Newton, to England for the purpose of examining new machinery there and to secure models for future use. On his return with ideas Mr. Newton and the Hoes projected and turned out for sale a novel two cylinder press, which became universally popular and soon superseded all others, the Napier included.

Thus was steam at last harnessed to the press, but the demand of the daily papers for their increasing editions spurred the press makers to devise machines that would be worked at higher speed than was found possible with the presses which the type was secured to a flat bed which was moved backward and forward under a revolving cylinder. It was seen then that if type could be secured to the surface of a cylinder, great speed could be attained.


The above diagrams illustrate Sir Rowland Hill‘s method of accomplishing this. The type was cast wedge-shaped; that is, narrower at the bottom. A broad “nick” was cut into its side, into which a “lead” fitted. The ends of the “lead” in turn, fitted into a slot in the column rules and these latter were bolted to the cylinder. Anyone who knows anything about type will see the difficulty of using such a system. The inventor, Sir Rowland Hill, the father of penny postage in England, sunk, it is said, L80,000 in the endeavor to introduce his method.

In the meantime, Col. Hoe had succeeded to his father’s business and was giving his attention largely to solving this problem of holding type on a revolving cylinder. It was ??? ???? 18?? that he hit on the method of doing it.

After a dozen years of thought the idea came upon him unexpectedly, and was startling in its simplicity. It was simply to make the column rules wedged-shaped instead of the type.


The above diagram furnished by Mr. S.D. Tucer, the surviving head of the firm of Hoe & Co., is a facsimile of the original drawing in their office. It was this simple device, by the introduction of “lightning presses,” that revolutionized the newspaper business of the world, and made the press the power it is. It brought Hoe fame and put him at the head of press makers. His business grew to such dimensions that he has in his employ in his New York factory from 800 to 1,500 hands, varying with the state of trade. His London factory employs from 150 to 200 hands.

And yet the great daily presses craved still faster presses. The result was the development of the web press, in which the paper is drawn into the press from a continuous roll at a speed of twelve miles an hour. The very latest is a machine called the supplement press, capable of printing complete a paper of from eight to twelve pages, depending on the demand of the day, so that the papers slide out of the machine with the supplements gummed in and the paper folded ready for delivery.

Of late years many other remarkably ingenious presses of other makers have come into market, but still the genius of R.M. Hoe has left an indelible mark in the development of the printing press.

The News (Frederick, Maryland) Jun 19, 1886

Robert Hoe of R. Hoe & Co.

March 23, 2009
Hoe Web Press

Hoe Web Press


One of the Celebrated Printing Press Manufacturers Breathes His Last.

NEW YORK, September 14. — Robert Hoe, of the firm R. Hoe & Co., printing press manufacturers, died at his residence in Tarrytown at 7:30 A.M. yesterday, at the age of seventy years. [Mr. Robert Hoe was born in New York city in 1814. His father, Robert Hoe, was an Englishman. In 1803 he founded in New York the great business which for many years has been known as that of R. Hoe & Co. Robert Hoe, Sr., was the first man in the United States who made saws of cast steel, and the first in New York to drive the machinery in his factory by steam. In 1805 he began the manufacture of printing presses, and in 1827, that of cylinder presses. In 1841 the business went into the hands of his three sons, Robert (the deceased), Richard and Peter. Richard was the inventive genius of the concern, but a great deal of the firm’s success depended on Robert’s sound business management. The presses of the Hoe establishment have a world-wide reputation. They are used not only throughout this country, but in England and Europe. The deceased was a well-known figure in New York. He had a beautiful residence in Tarrytown, where his last days were spent.]

The News (Frederick, Maryland) Sep 15, 1884

A couple of interesting, related links:

The Poughkeepsie Journal, the second oldest newspaper in the U.S., has a virtual tour. The Foyer is awesome. If you click  on the rectangle furthest  to the right and top, (of the picture at the above link,) you can click on the men in the mural. Robert and Richard Hoe are in the middle of the picture.

Next, an issue of Graham Magazine, published in 1852, has the following article with lots of pictures: PRINTING MACHINE, PRESS, AND SAW WORKS. R. HOE & CO. Click the link above.