Quick press

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Simple quick press. Elevation of a simple machine with a so-called railway movement. a drive wheels, b cart rollers, c traverse or carriage connecting rod, d cart rod, e upright rod, f tie rod, g intermediate wheel, next to it the naked cylinder for the color friction. The course of the paper is indicated by dotted arrows.

In contrast to the hand press, a high-speed press is a device that automatically carries out all manipulations of typographic or lithographic printing , with the exception of inserting the printed sheets . In the development of book printing , steam-driven high - speed presses replaced the hand-operated printing presses in the tradition of Johannes Gutenberg from the early 19th century .

History and Development

Koenig's cylinder printing
machine ("double machine")
Koenig's steam-powered cylinder printing machine for printing the Times (1814)

The inventor of the high-speed cylinder press is considered to be the printer Friedrich Koenig (1774–1833), who began working in Suhl ( Thuringia ) in 1803 and in London in 1811 , with the help of the printers Thomas Bensley (1750–1835) and Richard Taylor (1781–1858) ), but especially the mechanic Andreas Friedrich Bauer (1783–1860), who commissioned the first ready-to-use printing press .

It was a letterpress printing machine that still contained most of the components from the old wooden presses . The blackening of the writing (application of the color) was done automatically by the machine with coloring rollers instead of the previously used bales. Koenig replaced the crucible as a counterpressure element with a printing cylinder divided into three fields covered with thin felt , on which the paper was initially held with frames during the printing process and, in later versions, with bands. At around 800 sheets per hour, its performance more than doubled that of the hand press. John Walter (the younger) , the owner of the Times , who saw them at work, ordered two machines for his paper. The patent for this first cylinder printing machine is dated October 30, 1811. The device for a second printing cylinder and a combined roller system are already provided in it.

As early as July 23, 1813, Koenig received a third patent for new improvements that were used in the construction of the machines intended for the Times . These machines were equipped with two printing cylinders, so that the writing on the cart was blackened and printed twice instead of once with each back and forth movement, resulting in a total of 1,100 impressions per hour.

The Times first appeared in high-speed print on November 29, 1814, celebrating the event in an editorial that has since attained historic significance . Bensley had received the first cylinder printing press. They as well as the two Times machines and all of them built by Koenig and Bauer up to 1825 were operated by steam power.

The double machine was followed by the construction of perfecting or complete machines, for which Koenig received his last patent in England on December 24, 1814. These contained a dyeing unit at each end; Also, the cart with the form no longer went through under both printing cylinders, each printing its own form; The printed sheet was transferred from one cylinder to the other by means of cords and a pipe cloth, so that it left the machine fully printed on both sides, hence its name: Complete machine . Its capacity was 1000 double-sided sheets per hour; the first machine was installed in the Bensley print shop in 1816.

Koenig's successes also inspired other designers. In 1813 Richard Bacon and Bryan Donkin (1768–1855) patented a high-speed press in London, but it was never implemented. With her, the writing was not on a single horizontal surface, but on a prismatic , rotating cylinder, which led its various sides, blackened by a roller device, past a second, also prismatic printing cylinder to receive the print.

Bacon and Donkin first used rollers made of syrup and glue instead of rollers made of leather in order to achieve a good coloring; They poured the melted syrup glue mass onto canvas and attached it to the roller cylinder. The process has been used for letterpress rollers for a good 50 years, but very soon the compound was poured directly around the roller cores.

In Donkin's machine, the paper to be printed is fed in on a cloth, from which a gripper ruler lifted it. More momentous competition should arise for Koenig from Bensley, who united with Edward Cowper (1790-1852) and Augustus Applegath and, using insignificant amendments referred to as improvements, stepped himself into building Koenig machines.

Rutt and Napier , two more imitators, soon followed, and Koenig preferred, soon followed by Bauer, to return to Germany, where he converted the buildings of the former Oberzell monastery near Würzburg into a machine factory in 1818. The first four high-speed presses in Germany and at the same time the first products from the Oberzell factory were received in 1822 by the von Deckersche Hofbuchdruckerei and the printing works of the Spenersche Zeitung in Berlin.


The following section describes the basic functionality of the historical high-speed press. In the heyday of high-speed presses, there was a general distinction between flat-forming machines and round-forming machines and, in the case of flat-forming machines, again in horizontal and vertical (position of the clamped printing form) or, according to the functional principle, in stop cylinder (also holding cylinder), one-turn, two-turn or swing cylinder presses . The first known forms were horizontal flat-forming machines with a stop cylinder design. Special forms in flat-form machine construction were multi-color presses and mixed forms in semi-vertical construction.

The term high-speed press was originally only used for one type of machine, later the letterpress machine was added as a supplement and ultimately all types were again summarized under high-speed press .

The mechanism of the high-speed press consists first of all in a four-walled frame connected by cross braces, in the upper part of which the printing cylinder lies in bearings in the middle, while beneath it, sliding on rails, the cart, i.e. the foundation supporting the written form (a smooth iron plate in a horizontal position), is driven back and forth in order to obtain the coloring required for printing from the inking apparatus by superimposing the same applicator rollers. The movement of the cart is known as hypocycloidal linear guidance and is based on the principle of the Cardanic circles .

The coloring can be done either by means of table coloring or cylinder coloring. With the former, the paint particles are evenly distributed by rubbing them on paint tables in front of or behind the foundation. In the case of the latter, it only happens on a number of superposed rollers, which, depending on their number and position, are referred to as single or double (translated) coloring.

At the end of the 19th century, the number of applicator rollers was increased from two to four and the overlaying rollers increased accordingly in order to achieve a finer and more even coloring.

The main features of the high-speed press have undergone significant modifications with their expansion and the numerous manufacturers who have turned to their construction. A very important improvement was the replacement of the feed belts with movable clamps ( grippers ) attached to the printing cylinder , in which the paper to be printed is placed in order to counteract the frequently occurring creasing, and with the use of punctures (steel pins fastened in the cylinder) a completely precise one To enable the pages to fit together (keeping tabs).

From then on, the high-speed presses equipped with a gripper device were referred to as gripper machines, in contrast to the cord machines that had been in use until then, which have since been completely out of use. The moving mechanism of the cart was also changed; it still differs in the pivot or crank, railway and circular movement, the latter one of the most important improvements made by Bauer.

Two-color printing

Sir William Congreve built a machine to carry out the Congreve printing named after him, which although not widely used, deserves mention as the first machine for two-color printing.

This was achieved in a different way through the two-color machine originally designed by Koenig und Bauer (KoeBau) and designed by Koenig's first son Wilhelm. The paper is printed on it twice in succession, with the cylinder rotating twice, from separate, mutually complementary forms, whereby after the first impression it is held firmly in place until it has received the second impression; the congreve machine automatically separated the two plates to be printed, then combined them again after they had been colored separately and only then released the print.

Scandinavian press was the name given to a high-speed press invented by the Swede Holm and first built in England around 1840, which, like Koenig's first printing machine, was based on the platen, ie plate pressure system; the fact that at that time the high-speed press with cylinder printing did not yet understand how to achieve the fine work and especially the illustration printing with all the requirements corresponding to perfection may have been the reason for its construction. The Scandinavian press has many parts of the hand press; the table coloring device is automatic, the cart is moved either by an eccentric disc on a curved pivot shaft or by a rotating drum with a diagonal channel in which a "fish" runs underneath the cart; the crucible rises and falls in solid guidance. Initially only for one shape, later it was built twice, with one shape on each side, but built in such a way that both sides as well as each one can work independently of the other.

The simple Scandinavian press delivers 500 to 700, the double up to 900 prints per hour; they are still often used in England for fine works with or without illustrations; in Germany, where cylinder printing has always been given greater care, it has only found limited distribution. In order to meet the increasing demands of newspaper printing, some sheets were forced to have their typeset made two to four times, which increased their production costs quite extraordinarily.

Efforts were therefore made to increase the efficiency of the machines, and as early as 1828, after Koenig zu Oberzell refused the order due to overemployment, Applegath in London took over a four-cylinder high-speed press for printing the "Times" with a capacity of 4,000 copies in the hour to build; But in 1846 Little went to the public in London with a perfected four-cylinder printing press that made it possible to print 6,000 copies an hour.

Set on a rotating cylinder

Before him, Rowland Hill had tried in 1835 to construct printing machines with conical letters, the set of which was placed on a rotating cylinder. However, since he chose the diameter of the cylinder far too small, what Applegath and Hoe later carried out failed him . In 1846 Applegath received a patent for a high-speed press, in which he no longer placed the type forms to be printed on a horizontal foundation, but instead, by attaching documents with conical column lines and screws, placed them from the outside of a large vertical cylinder measuring 200 inches in circumference , which also had smooth surfaces between the type shapes to rub in the paint.

Around this large type cylinder stood, also vertically, eight printing cylinders and between them the inking and distribution rollers as well as the apparatus for inserting the paper, which was placed horizontally in a circle at the top, but which was brought into a vertical position by the mechanism and conveyed for printing. With each revolution of the inner type cylinder, eight sheets were printed on one side. The capacity of this high-speed press has been estimated at 12,000 impressions per hour.

She served for printing the "Times" until 1862 Hoesches called Lightning - or mammoth presses was replaced.

Writing plate

Hoe in New York carried out Applegath's method of placing the typesetting on a cylinder in such a way that he laid the cylinder horizontally, with the now invented and perfected paper stereotype being very advantageous.

With the help of these, it was possible to cast curved writing plates from the previously created typesetting that exactly corresponded to the segments of the writing cylinder. Hoe put up to ten impression cylinders and their inking rollers around his horizontal writing cylinder, and since the former could be driven at a speed of 2000 revolutions per hour, such a high-speed press produced up to 20,000 prints per hour.

In Germany, too, the newspaper industry had made progress at the same time. As early as 1832 Koenig and Bauer had offered to build quadruple machines, thus declaring printing on endless paper possible, but apart from executing such plans “because there are nowhere conditions in which the high speed that can be achieved with this is particularly advantageous would grant ".

It was not until 1847 that the Kölnische Zeitung received a four-fold high-speed press designed by Bauer with three printing cylinders, of which the middle one printed the form back and forth, but the outer one only each, so that each double path of the document resulted in four impressions. It delivered 6,000 prints an hour and was operated by four people inserting the paper (feeders). The printed sheets were initially laid out by hand, later using a mechanical device. The boom was a kind of rake with intermittent movement, as it had already been introduced on other machines based on the American model.

In France, where the first high-speed press was introduced from England in 1823 and where the German inventors made significant deliveries until the outbreak of the July Revolution, Marinoni was the first to pursue high-speed press construction energetically and with great success.

He devoted all his care to the wider distribution of machines by simplifying them and offering them cheaper offers, but also did not neglect the construction of large, fast-working high-speed presses for newspaper needs; From the fourfold, which others (namely Alauzet) built next to him, he switched to the rotary press , which, according to the same principle as the Hoesche Mammut Schnellpresse mentioned above, did not print from typeset but from semicircular stereo plates, but in the rest of its construction differed greatly that differentiates and achieved high printing speeds, especially by reducing the size of the printing cylinder.

Rotary letterpress printing machine (view). Rotary letterpress printing machine with folder (Walter system). Constructed by Maschinenfabrik Augsburg for printing Meyers Konversations-Lexikon .

Printing from continuous paper

But both Marinoni's and Hoe's great high-speed presses had shortcomings in the large number of operating personnel required and in a very complicated system of guide belts which often became a nuisance in the rush of newspaper printing; The use of so-called endless paper when printing on suitable rotary machines provided a remedy, the latter so-called because of the uninterrupted, always in one direction rotation of the plate (stereotype) cylinder and the impression cylinder, which never stand still, as with other systems or return. The printing of endless paper was attempted in America as early as the 1840s, where the letterpress machine was brought into direct connection with the paper machine, and later Auer tried printing roll paper on ordinary machines in Vienna; but in both cases neither lasting nor favorable results were obtained.

Rotary letterpress printing machine (elevation). a sheet guide rollers, b forme cylinder, c printing cylinder, d distribution rollers, e application rollers, f naked rollers, g naked and distributing rollers, h distributing rollers, i the so-called. Lifting rollers, k ductor, l dirt cylinder, m cleaning spindle, n the two cutting cylinders, o sheet abrasion rollers, p drive wheels. - The course of the paper is indicated by arrows. For machines that have an automatic delivery instead of the folder, the latter is located in room A.
Double or twin rotary machine for the Lübeck ads from the Schnellpressenfabrik Frankenthal Albert & Co., Akt. Ges. In Frankenthal (1904)

This was only achieved by the American William Bullock (see Bullock machine ) with his rotary machine, in which the stereo plates are attached to two large cylinders for perfecting, onto which the paper comes directly from the roll, and from where it is sent through a peculiar delivery Strap, avoiding all straps, is removed and put down. This high-speed press, which had only found distribution in America for newspaper printing, produced 12,000 to 15,000 copies per hour.

In England in 1862 the American Wilkinson exhibited a model of a machine for printing endless paper at the World Exhibition in London. This is said to have served the later builders (1867–1872) of the Walter press, so named after the owner of the "Times", who provided the means to construct this machine, as a model for their high-speed press. Like most high-speed rotary presses, they can run from 10,000 to 12,000 copies an hour. The successors of the Walter press in England include the high-speed press ("Prestonian") built by Bond and Foster in Preston.

The first rotary machines on the continent for printing endless paper, two Walter presses were in the printing of, press set up in Vienna in 1873, and the construction of this Walter press has followed the "Maschinenfabrik Augsburg" in making their rotary engine in all essential parts with the introduction of important improvements.

The Augsburg rotary presses were the first to be used continuously for printing and which proved themselves in the process; Evidence of this is for example Meyer's Konversationslexikon , most of the last editions of which were printed on it in the 19th century. Their capacity is also 10,000 to 12,000 finished sheets per hour.

Rotary press for commercial printing

Maschinenfabrik Augsburg has celebrated an even greater triumph by adapting the rotary press for good commercial printing. At the suggestion of the Stuttgart publisher Eduard von Hallberger , it undertook its construction in 1878 and completed it the following year, while at the same time in London for the owner of the Illustrated London News , Ingram, rotary presses for printing the English illustrated world paper in the mechanical engineering company of Middleton and Comp. were made in London.

A machine of this type, which was presented at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1878, was not yet ready for production, just like the commercial rotary press from the Parisian company Alauzet; but they were later perfected and now favorable printing results were obtained.

In the Augsburg rotary press, a large roll holds the endless paper, which is fed via a guide roller between three small pairs of rollers covered with felt and filled with steam, where it is supplied with the moisture required for printing. Then the paper steps between the printing and plate cylinders lying vertically on top of each other, in the middle the printing cylinders covered with thin felt, above and below the plate cylinders, next to or above and below them are troughs with which printing ink is always supplemented by a pumping mechanism and moreover each nine rollers for picking up, triturating and applying the color to the stereotype plates .

With its S-shaped passage between the two pairs of cylinders, the paper receives front and back printing quickly one after the other (the purpose of the roller visible behind the printing cylinders is to keep them clean and to prevent the ink from soiling, i.e. contamination of the paper during reverse printing) and is then passed between two perforating cylinders (in the picture the cylinder pair in the middle), where it is pierced in such a way that the sheets are only loosely connected. As it exits, two ribbon lines of unequal speed receive the now divided sheet, completely separate it from the subsequent sheet and lead it to the other end of the machine, either brought by double delivery to two delivery tables, or, as on our machine shown, again from one to be taken up with another tape line, which first leads it down vertically until a blunt knife presses it between the first pair of rollers of the folding machine and guides it onto the horizontal table, where it is again pressed between rollers and receives the second fraction (quart); a third pair of rollers can finally give it the third fraction (octave) before it is printed and folded on the delivery table. Such folding machines are also attached to their rotary machines by other machine factories.

In Germany, the construction of rotary machines for endless paper was also started by the "Koenig und Bauer factory in Oberzell" and by Hummel in Berlin. In Austria it was first built by Sigl in Vienna. In France, Marinoni turned to the same by converting his previous, single sheet-fed rotary press to print roll paper, but soon abandoned this and switched to a simpler construction that was closer to the Walter press, while Charles Derriey , also in Paris, made a wide variety of presses Has applied shapes and designs to his rotary machines. Alauzet in Paris was the first to achieve the most significant results in the construction of rotary machines for mass printing.

Different formats

The last improvement in the construction of these giant high-speed presses is their adaptation to the printing of various formats. Up to now it was not possible to print on them a different format than the one corresponding to the cylinder circumference, since the sheet had to adapt to this when it was unwound from the paper roll in order to be cut off from the paper web in the specified size after printing. This limitation, which made the use of rotary machines, especially in book printing with changing formats, almost impossible, has been overcome by the Koenig and Bauer company in Oberzell. She has constructed a machine that automatically cuts the paper from the roll before printing, whereupon a pneumatic device holds the sheet in the required position on the first impression cylinder, but after printing it pushes it off and feeds it to the second impression cylinder, where it is also pneumatically is held and finally delivered to the execution apparatus. It is this significant advance in rotary press printing that makes it possible to use them extensively in factory and commercial printing .

Further developments

In addition to the endeavor to provide the book printing companies with the means to run the newspaper industry, there has also been an approach in the opposite direction: the small business should be enabled by means of suitable high-speed presses to dispense with the old, slow manual press altogether, and yet good, but to be able to deliver quickly. The so-called accident machines served this purpose .

On a third page, attempts have been made to give the book printing business greater circulation through the high-speed press, by building such for printing more than two colors.

The Paris exhibition of 1878 showed a large number of such attempts, but by no means could the problem be regarded as solved by them. It was not until the owner of a graphic establishment in Leipzig, AH Payne , succeeded in developing a high-performance high-speed press for multi-color printing, which was carried out by the machine factory of Koenig and Bauer in Oberzell and which was subsequently greatly improved.

With the great development of high-speed press construction for letterpress printing, it had to be surprising that lithographic printing remained without a high-speed press for a long time. The first to build one was Smart in England, whose machine was patented in 1846 and who, with the exception of the laying and laying out of the paper, carried out all the manipulations of lithographic printing, including the wetting and wiping of the stone, automatically.

He was followed in 1851 by Sigl in Vienna and Berlin, and in France by Huguet, Voirin; Since then, the construction of such machines has become just as widespread as that of the high-speed letterpress presses, to which, incidentally, they are almost identical in their basic form. Rotary presses were also built for copperplate printing by Guy in Paris, who demonstrated two copies of different designs at the Paris Exposition of 1878; then for collotype printing by Schmiers, Werner and Stein in Leipzig and finally for lithographic printing of zinc plates, invented by Schlotke in Hamburg, built by Klein, Forst and Bohn in Johannisberg a. Rhine . In terms of speed, however, they can hardly be compared with the rotary presses for letterpress printing, although in this respect they also achieve very significant advantages compared with the results of ordinary press printing.

See also


  • Fischer and Wittig: The fast press . (3rd edition), Leipzig 1878.
  • Bachmann: Guide for machine masters on high-speed presses . (2nd edition), Braunschweig 1873.
  • Waldow: Auxiliary book for machine masters . Leipzig 1886.
  • Goebel: Friedrich Koenig and the invention of the high-speed press . Krais, Stuttgart 1883.
  • Andreas M. Räntzsch: Printing machines: The history of the education and communication machine from 1812 to 2012 , Druckwerk, Göppingen 2012, ISBN 978-3-942749-06-0 .
  • Walter Wilkes: high-speed letterpress presses and endless rotary presses of the 19th century . Techn. University, Darmstadt, ISBN 3-88607-152-9 ( table of contents ).

Web links

Commons : Quick Press  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Hans Bolza : Friedrich Koenig and the invention of the printing machine . In: Technikgeschichte , 1967 Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 79-89
  2. RetroBib - Reference to the end of the 19th century .: Meyers encyclopedia, Volume 14 P. 585 , publisher of the Bibliographic Institute, Leipzig and Vienna, Fourth Edition, 1885 to 1892