The 18th Common Press & Our Reproduction

Thomas Gent’s Press at Scarborough Museums Trust

Our journey to build a reproduction wooden common printing press began in Scarborough with a press that once belonged to Thomas Gent. Thanks to collaboration and consultation with staff at Scarborough Museums, we were granted access to the fragmented remains and kindly loaned the press so we could transport it to York and use it to aid the building of our reproduction. In the future we hope to display it alongside our reproduction, and thereby create a unique teaching tool.

Our Plans

We took detailed measurements from the press and used them to produce plans for our working reproduction.

The Gent Press at Scarborough Museums
The Gent Press at Scarborough Museums
The Gent Press at Scarborough Museums 2
The Gent Press at Scarborough Museums
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Measuring the Gent Press
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The plan for the till
Preserving the 18th Century Wooden Common Press

Rebecca Rochat, an MSc Digital Heritage student at the University of York, is currently working to preserve the early 18th press as part of her dissertation research. She has used digital imaging documentation (photogrammetric 3D recording) to create a digital reconstruction of all 60 fragmented pieces of Gent’s press. A methodology is currently being tested to achieve the most accurate digitization of each fragment, some of which are in an advanced stage of deterioration.

3D scans coming soon.

Assembling our Reproduction Press

The plans we created by measuring Gent’s press were sent to the Wonder of Wood in Settle and used to create the wooden frame of the press. You can read more about this process on our blog.

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Production underway at the Wonder of Wood

On 19th of January 2019 the wooden frame was delivered. The wooden components of our press were assembled in only 12 minutes — a testament to the work of the Wonder of Wood and the accuracy of the plans created by Seth and Carla.

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The cheeks in place
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A close up of the till
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The assembled wooden frame
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The assembled wooden frame
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Our reproduction press closely resembles this old photograph of the Gent press, taken when it still stood. All details from the original 18th century press can now be seen in our reproduction press.
The Next Steps

So far we have the wooden frame, but we still require the skills of a blacksmith and a machinist to complete the press. We hope to have this work completed by December 2019.