Introduction

Senior Mechanical Engineering Design Customer Proposal:
Design and Construction of Early Printing Press

This project offers an interesting challenge in complex design and practical application. A working model of a press is required in Special Collections/University Archives to demonstrate the process of printing by hand. The final product would be a scaled-down, portable, wooden hand press based on the design of the original Gutenberg, to be used in presentations. Audiences range from students studying the art and craft of hand printing, to campus visitors. Applications for the academic curricula extend across disciplines, and involve hundreds of Bucknell students, some of whom make their own books.

The rare book collection is rich in examples of the history of printing. There are examples produced in the 15th century, as well as landmark works from each era, following through to award-winning late 20th-century private press imprints.

Specific requirements for the design include: Exacting standards for replication of all working parts; high visibility for each press component; ease of use; medium weight factors for transport, storage; absence of any printing medium that could transfer to extremely valuable materials; long-term reliability.


Adviser: Mechanical Engineering Professor Thomas Rich
Historical Consultant, Co-Advisor: History Professor Ann Tlusty
Printing Consultants: Barnard Taylor, Proprietor, Press of Appletree Alley; Ann de Klerk, Press Associate