Presses for ‘Outlander’

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One of the Outlander presses being put through its paces just prior to filming

In 2016 I was approached by the Scottish television film company making the long running historical time travel series ‘Outlander’ based on the novels by Diana Gabalsdon. They needed an eighteenth century printing press for their next filming session. I thought initially that a good mock-up of a press would serve but they said that because of the cost and hold-ups which could result with a failure while filming, I should consider building one which was completely functional. In the end they asked me to build two presses as the story required that the print shop envisaged in the book was to be burned down! It turned out they didn’t just require presses. They borrowed from Reading University a range of print related equipment and had their own workshops construct multiple type cases chases, setting sticks and extraordinarily convincing plastic type. They even had a mock up of the type foundry at the Plantin Moretus Museum in Antwerp and my press which you can see above had a complete eighteenth century room built around it. The lengths that they were prepared  to go in order to appear authentic were quite extraordinary.

The only concession made to the fact that the presses working lives would be very short was that the wood I used was Douglas fir rather than a hardwood. In all other respects they were built very like my previous common presses. Below are pictures of them under construction.

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On completion this was halved to make threads for both presses.
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Presses for Outlander in the workshop awaiting collection
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View of the thread base, spindle boss, bar attachment and top of  hose
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View of the hose, till, platen and bar catch

Next – The one-pull press