At the Iron Handpress Studio we have access to antique presses from different musea and private collections around the world. From Erik Desmyter’s private collection we typically use the 3 most important early 19th century iron handpresses: the Stanhope press (invented 1803), the Columbian press (invented 1813) and the Albion press (invented around 1820). It is exceptional to have such 3 completely restored cast iron handpresses of more than 150 years old, still in working condition and available at a letterpress and fine-art printmaking studio.

Inking by hand of a woodcut (hand-cut & engraved in a medium density fiber relief block) with a rubber inking roll for traditional blockprinting on a counterweight Albion cast iron handpress.

Erik Desmyter pulling the bar of a counterweight Albion cast iron handpress made by J.P. Lejeune from Brussels (ca 1840s). The lion counterweight on top of the press is lifted at every pull of the bar. At the left side we see a Columbian iron handpress from the 1850s with an eagle as counterweight.

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Detail of a print (left) by Stanley Agoraz and the corresponding part of the relief block (right) routed in MDF (Medium Density Fiber) as used for traditional relief or letterpress blockprinting on an iron handpress. The above Composition XIV by Stanley Agoraz was routed 5mm deep in an 18mm thick 50cm x 35cm medium density fiber plate and then printed on 65cm x 50cm paper with a counterweight Albion cast iron handpress.