Portable Printing Presses (page 2 of 2)

Civil War Field Printing

Portable Printing Presses (page 2 of 2)

Cincinnati Type Foundry’s Army Press, first manufactured in 1862

Henry Barth of the Cincinnati Type Foundry designed this cylinder printing press, known as the Army Press, for use by the armed forces during the Civil War. To make up for lost business early in the war, the Foundry also manufactured bullets for the state of Indiana and Gatling guns used in the New Orleans campaign.

The Cincinnati Army printing press was listed as “resembling the modern common hand press in having ways, bed, tympan and fisket” and a rotating cylinder that, unlike Adams’s press, moved with the press bed.

Advertisement for the Army Press from the Cincinnati Type Foundry Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, about 1862

The Cincinnati Army printing press was advertised for small country newspapers as “the cheapest reliable device we know of for printing a country paper of small circulation.” It was also later described as "very convenient in the printing-offices attached to many camps during the late war . . . [with a name] derived from its adaptation to the use of movable army printing–offices . . . ."

Like other portable presses sold at this time, J. G. Cooley’s New York Cabinet printing press was sold with accompanying equipment in more than one size. This 1862 advertisement for the Cooley press calls for its use by “small country printers, merchants, druggists, grocers, bankers, and the army and navy &c.”

The advertisement states: “Gen. McClellan, upon the recommendation of Capt. Irwin, of his staff, who was detailed especially to examine it, ordered two complete offices for his head-quarters, Col. Ferris, of the Conn. Fifth, has one; Col. Mix, of New York Cavalry, has one; Gen. Burnside has one; Gen. Porter, one; Rev. G. D. Crocker, Chaplain of Ira Harris Brigade, has one; Capt. Tallmadge has one at Fortress Monroe . . . .”