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Re: Nipping Press vs Standing Press nomenclature

One way to tell if your press (whether nipping or standing) was originally a
bookbinding press or a copy press is to look at the threads.

Bookbinding presses need to exert lots of pressure so the threads are nearly

Copy presses didn't need as much pressure and their threads are at a greater

In my experience, most nipping presses have the threads at a greater angle which
indicates they most likely were copy presses in an earlier life.  I have seen a
couple small presses with room for only one book with nearly horizontal threads,

Just looking over the presses in the lab, the nipping presses all have threads
at a greater angle off horizontal than the two standing presses, one of which
originally had room enough for one book before we extended its height.

To learn more, I suggest reading William Streeter and Barbara Rhodes' Before
Photocopying (Oak Knoll Books, 1999), which touches on the history of the
nipping press.

This doesn't really answer the nipping vs. standing press.  I have always called
a small press (platen size less than about 12x16) which can hold one average
size book a nipping press.  Presses which can hold multiple books (say 4 or
more) are standing presses, irregardless of the platen size (although most in my
experience are larger than nipping presses). Presses which fall in between the
one book nipping press and the multiple book standing press are just plain book


 Eric Alstrom      Collections Conservator
 Dartmouth College      Hanover, NH
 603-646-1452      eric.c.alstrom@dartmouth.edu

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