M. M. Keltons's Son. Engraving Proofing Presses

nancy sharon collins's picture

Previously posted on this blog has been the story of the engraving proofing presses. Since that time they were completely dismantled, steam-cleaned and the individual parts and fittings sand blasted. The parts were immediately "oiled" with silicone to prevent rusting in the extreme, south Louisiana humidity, the frame and screw handle with inertia-weight—that looks like a dumbell with a big steel ball on each end—were coated with a primer then painted. It was so humid the primer wouldn't dry so we had to leave them up in Alexandria, LA, until dry.

My husband brought them home yesterday and—with our 2-ton shop crane, dolly, ramps and brute force—into the cool, humidity controlled studio where he is polishing the brass fittings.

Daniela Marx, head of graphic design at Loyola University New Orleans, was here yesterday for an AIGA New Orleans board meeting and I treated her to a sneak peak at some of the spiffed-up parts (like the massive steel screw that attaches to the handle).

According to "Engraved Stationery Handbook", Robert N.Steffens published by The Cronite Co., Inc., New York City, 1950, "This type of press was developed years ago" and "is rarely used any longer. It was designed to stamp the 1/2" thick engraving dies we use creating social stationery.

Note the name and how similar it is to Kelsey and Kelton, both manufactures I have seen for small letterpress presses.

The Cronite book is the only reference I have yet found to this type of press, if anyone knows more about them, please share.

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