Cumberland County Historical Society

Cumberland County Historical Society: 21 N Pitt St, Carlisle, PA 17013.

Gaskell (1970, page 28, USA 9) writes: “Built by J. Goodman of Philadelphia, possibly in 1787; if so, it is probably the oldest surviving American-made press. Gallows restored.”

Video: “Cumberland County Historical Society Museum Docent Yvonne Davidson on a tour of the Permanent Collections of the Museum before it changes in 2018.” (April 12, 2017) The printing press is shown in the background from 40:45 onwards, and is presented between 47:37 and 48:10.

Reference 1: “In 1913, Mrs. Bauman, …, indicated her willingness to sell the press, and a subscription was raised among the friends of the Hamilton Library at Carlisle for its purchase.”  … “The Goodman press is unique, among all presses known anywhere, in having the hose placed diagonally; in having four girts in stead of two or three; and in having rachets-and-pawls to secur the girts. It is the earliest existing press in America to show the 4-bar metal hose instead of a wooden box-like hose.” (D.W. Thompson (Winter 1955). ‘Oldest American Printing Press.’ the Dutchman, Vol VI, No 3, page 33).

Reference 2: “Overigens moet erop gewezen worden dat in Carlisle, Pa., USA, een waarschijnlijk in 1787 in Philadelphia gebouwde pers bewaard wordt, waarvan de, overigens geheel anders geconstrueerde, bus-kraag ook diagonaal geconstrueerd is.” [Roughly: “It should be noted that in Carlisle, Pa., USA, a press probably built in Philadelphia in 1787 is kept, of which the, otherwise entirely differently constructed, hose is also diagonally constructed.”] (Frans Janssen (1977). ‘Over houten drukpersen’  Page 17.)

Reference 3: “The press was built in Philadelphia, circa 1787, by John Goodman. The press was owned by printer Joseph Bauman, in Ephrata, Lancaster County, in the early 1800s.” (Stephen O. Saxe (1991). ‘The Goodman Common Press, The Oldest American-Made Press’. Printing History, the journal of the American Printing History Association. Whole Number 25, Volume 14, No. 1).

Reference 4: “The odd one out was built by John Goodman of Philadelphia some twenty years before the others. Goodman’s press shows some of the features that were to be characteristic of American presses, and it is tempting to believe that his was the prototype for the later ones.” … “John Goodman built his first trial press in 1786, copying it from one allegedly imported from Scotland.” (Page 44). … “John Goodman’s press is at the Hamilton Library in Carlisle. The name ‘J. Goodman’ is stamped on the hose. In most respects it is like an English press, perhaps rather larger and lighter-built, but in details of the cheeks, gallows and hose it breaks with English tradition. The cheeks have long uninterrupted mortises between the head and till. From traces of the missing gallows – the feet and two rows of notches cut into the plank behind the feet – one can see that it was not typically English. And the hose is an open cage of iron instead of a wooden box. It is made of four iron pillars connected at the top and bottom by square plates through which the spindle passes. The spindle is not gripped by an adjustable garter at its neck, as it would be on an English or Dutch press. Instead, the toe of the spindle is pierced by a thick iron pin projecting at each side under a ring washer which in turn supports the hose. The cage of the hose is turned forty-five degrees to the rest of the press and the wooden till is bowed out slightly to accommodate its corners. At first appearance Goodman’s hose looks something like a Blaeu hose, but is probably truer to describe it as a rendering in iron of the English box-hose.” (Page 45) (Elizabeth Harris (1972). ‘The American Common Press’. Journal of the Printing Historical Society. 8. 42-52).