The Columbian printing press cost $400, more than twice the price of a conventional wooden press – and too much for the American market. So Clymer moved to London in 1817. Here, he made a success of his press-manufacturing business.
The Columbian printing press is highly ornamented, but most ornaments have a mechanical function, e.g. the eagle is the counterbalance weight, adjustable by sliding along the main counterbalance lever.
The name ‘Columbian’ is a reference to the United States, as is the eagle as counterbalance weight. With its business success across Europe, the ornaments were adjusted to match national tastes: For Germany the American eagle was turned into a Prussian eagle. French variations included the lion and laurel wreath or globe as a counterbalance weight.
John Ryland Library, Manchester, UK
“The highly ornamented Columbian Press” at Typoretum, a blog about typography, letterpress and printing history http://blog.typoretum.co.uk/)
“Columbian press”, National Museum of American History (http://americanhistory.si.edu/ )