Thursday, April 23, 2009

Poco Proof Press No. 1534

If you look back to the post “You’ve Got A Line Gauge, Don’t You?” you’ll see that the last line of copy reads: printed on Poco proof press No. 1534.

Well, pictured above is Poco proof press No. 1534 with the printer himself (ca. 1982) inking a rule by hand.

I had two presses before I got the Poco, but the first press that I used seriously was the Poco. I attached grippers and guides to the cylinder. I also rigged a hinged, sloped feeding table with a side-guide. As the press was designed for pulling newspaper proofs from a galley and would print on the return, the feeding table was hinged so that it could be lifted up and allow the gripper-mechanism to clear on the return stroke. Also you will notice a blank sheet just behind the dead line; on the return stroke I lay that over the form so that the tympan would not get printed.

I was spoiled, of course, having first learned to print using a top of the line Vandercook SP15 with automatic inking. Unfortunately the Poco did not have automatic inking, and I had to learn how to ink by hand, with a brayer running on removable roller bearers (also shown).

But more about inking by hand in some future post.


jimeigo said...

Lovely Blog. Just discovered it this morning--from a tip on the letpress list. Longtime writer and fledgling letterpress printer here. I too return to Solt's anthology frequently, but most of all to An Anthology of Concrete Poetry edited by Emmett Williams. (I studied with Williams at CalArts, though not concrete poetry.) I've only worked on Vandercooks over the last year that I have been taking classes. Do you still use the Poco? What other presses do you use, and when--what are their specialties? Cheers -- Jim Eigo

Paulette said...

Thanks for writing about printing, Phil. Didn't know you studied with Duncan- lucky you!

I'm the proud owner of Poco Proof Press No. 1943. It's a wonderful machine and the movable bed is what makes it special. I've used it to print etching plates on a magnetic base with light felts. If you pack the base and the cylinder properly, you can get it all to fit well and make a proper impression. A nice substitute for an etching press when using smaller plates.

Powpourri said...

I was directed to your website after a post on I am new to letterpress and just got my first poco proof press #0. Your system looks so amazing and I wondered if you would be willing to share a list of supplies I would need to create this set up and a possible closer image? What do you use to cover your cylinder that is so shiny? Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated and I would even be willing to compensate you for your teachings. I really love this press and would like it to be my main press but I am really struggling with registration. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration! Brandi

Lynn said...

Hi Phillip,
I'm in awe of your work! I, too, have a Poco #0 (need to find the serial number) I would like to learn more about your setup with the bearings for the ink roller and the slanted feeder table and the mechanism to register on the cylinder (which I can only imagine). The photo is just not enough to learn from. I wasn't clear on what part is hinged. I love my Poco and really want to bring out the best in it!!