After the War

Civil War Field Printing

After the War

In the late 19th century, the inexpensive and portable tabletop printing press continued to be useful to the armed forces, particularly the army across the frontier of the American West. Merchants, young hobbyists, and other amateur printers also continued to make use of the portable press for labels, fliers, and the like.

Printing press inventors and manufacturers continued producing machines with the ability to print larger and faster runs, with improvements such as self-inking and self-feeding apparatuses. Much smaller presses, some less than a third the size of the early portable presses, became more popular, especially to young amateurs.

The original portable presses continued to have a following for a short time after the war. A post-war advertisement for the Cincinnati Type Foundry’s Army printing press reads: “This is the cheapest reliable device we know of for printing a country paper of small circulation. We made [the press] in about 1862 for use in camps, where lightness and simplicity were the great desiderata. When the occasion which called them into existence was at an end, we dropped them from our list of manufactures, but printers who had seen and used them would not give them up, and there was a moderate call for them for many years . . . [and we finally] changed the sizes to fit standard newspaper measures . . . .” The Cincinnati Army printing press was sold into the early 20th century.

The Lowe printing press patentee died in 1865, but patent rights had in the meantime been sold to three different owners and interest in and use of the press continued. An 1865 ad for the Lowe Press reads: “The presses are so popular with the people, that printing offices are springing up from them in all sections of our land.”

A testimonial from the editor of the American Journal of Education promotes the use of the press for education purposes and “the habit of correct spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and paragraphing.” Another testimonial from a professor at Tufts College reads: “ We are using [the press] at the college for printing circulars, recitation bills, labels for books in the library, and labels for minerals in the cabinet….”

The Adams Cottage printing press was also still being advertised as late as 1878, but the Cooley Cabinet printing kits seems not to have survived much past the end of the war.