No 54                      Press Gallery          February, 2009

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The Godfrey Printing Machine Company, Limited
69 OLD STREET, LONDON

Manufactured by
Furnival & Company
Reddish Iron Works, Stockport, Lancs. U.K.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * This machine was patented in 1883 by Englishman, Alfred Godfrey. Patent numbers being;  Great Britain (No's. 1591 and 3895) and  USA (No. 344,265 in 1886).
Some earlier British jobbing platens were built using this 'flattened cylinder' principle, the original design having been devised by American, Stephen Ruggles some 32 years earlier. However, in addition, Godfrey introduced a number of innovative, labour-saving ideas, the most notable being an automatic sheet registering device fitted to a stationary feed board which incorporated automatic left and right 'push' side lays and adjustable front "gun metal" guides. The sheet was then taken by a rotating gripper bar (one of 4) which revolved in 90 increments with the motion of the platen (
1. underneath, 2. up to the top of the platen and printed, 3. dropped into an inclined delivery tray and 4. back to the feed board). This not only saved the printer the burden of having to deliver the sheets manually but also eliminated accidents with the closure of the platen, as did happen on conventional clam-shell type machines.
Other features included: a device for unlocking the platen and turning it 'face up' for ease of making-ready, steel bearers and locating lugs built onto the corners of the platen and bed frame ensuring even impression and accurate alignment. An impression throw-off  and control adjustment were included also.
The rollers, or inkers, of most platens have a downward and upward motion: on the 'Godfrey' they rotated swiftly in one direction only. The ink 'slab', being cylindrical and encompassing three quarters of the flattened cylinder ensured ample ink distribution. An ink ductor roller, which also acted as a distributor, deposited ink on the front part of the 'slab' by rolling backwards and forwards whilst the inkers were elsewhere. Also, another distributing roller 3 inches shorter and with a smaller diameter preceded the inkers but didn't touch the forme. This traveled laterally from one side of the ink 'slab' to the other several times in its cycle, thus superbly distributing the film of ink for the inkers that followed in its wake.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  Details courtesy of  Nick Smith

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