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Introducing La Triomphante, our resident Belgian letterpress printer and grand old dame

Letterpress / Watermarx

Happy are we to introduce one of the more special members of the Watermarx Graphics’ family of machines, our relic and curiosity ‘La Triomphante’. She’s a Belgian machine built circa 1906 and we have a hunch she may be the only one in Australia (do get in touch, though, if you know otherwise!) Both pedal or power operated, this letterpress ‘clamshell platen’ printing press this means that the machine is designed to perform an action where the platen and bed swing back and forth into each other, creating greater impact which leaves a heavier impression on the paper.

The sales brochure pitches her like this, ” This new platen press that we now offer Belgian printers is unrivalled in the rigidity of its construction, ease of operation and reliability. The impression arms are wrought iron, the frame is cast in one piece and the gears milled with precision enabling the full surface area of the platen to be utilized with ease. The action is well balanced and quiet. A simple impression regulator is located next to the impression throw-off lever. The press has three forme rollers and a duct roller which roll on adjustable tracks.” There’s a bit more about the machine mentioned here.

We’re rather hoping (one of these days) that we’ll get the old girl cranking away. It’s one of the pleasures of being letterpress printers that we grow to love our antique machines. Getting to know their quirks and strengths is part of the pleasure of this dark art. If we can bring retired machines back to life with new technology  like CLIQX,  or find a way for them to get back to doing what they do best – kissing the pages with ink – all the better for us and for you. Each piece of letterpress printing is crafted with our love for your designs and our respect for the rich heritage of craft printing. Imagine the stories that have passed through the likes of our grand old dame, La Triomphante!

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