Common Press Project

Help us build a Full-Scale Replica Common Press!

The Cincinnati Type & Print Museum is undertaking the ambitious project of building a fully functional replica of an 18th century “Common” Press to pay homage to William Maxwell, the first printer in Cincinnati.

Who is William Maxwell?

Maxwell was originally from either New York or New Jersey, and tried to set up a printing business in Lexington, Kentucky, without much success.

Maxwell moved to Cincinnati in 1793, and began printing a newspaper called The Centinel of the North-Western Territory that fall. (The first issue can be seen to the right.) He also worked closely with the government of the territory, and printed the book Laws of the territory of the United States north-west of the Ohio in 1796.

Maxwell sold his printing business around 1796 to focus on his political career.  In 1803, he became a Representative to the First General Assembly of the newly formed State of Ohio.

While we will never know exactly what Maxwell’s printing press looked like, it was likely similar to those imported from England at the time. Our project used photos of surviving English presses, as well as the 1978 schematics of the Smithsonian's "Franklin Press," as references to create our own design.

(Courtesy of the Ohio History Connection)
CAD Rendering of our Press Design

Project Summary

The goal of this project is to use traditional materials, coupled with modern engineering and manufacturing techniques, to produce a press that is as close as possible to the one used by Maxwell.

It is our hope that this press will become a centerpiece for the Cincinnati Type & Print Museum, and be used to tell the story of Cincinnati’s printing history for generations to come!


Donate to the Project

We cannot do this without you! Our goal is to raise $35,000 to make this project a reality.

Anyone who contributes to the project (no matter the amount) will be listed below, and receive updates as we go along. Your name will also be listed on a plaque on the press itself! We hope to have a grand unveiling later this summer.

Thank you to our donors!

Jason Burgher

Sidney & Laura Juliani

Greg Gajus

Leslie Demoret

Adam & Tara Walton

Andrew Schall

Robert Brandsetter

Brenda Bencsik

James & Kelly Knapmeyer

Kristina Arwood

David Laurash

Bryan Hamilton

Meet our Project Team

Gary Walton, CT&PM Founder

Jacob Simpson, CT&PM Curator

Marshall Ivey, Project Lead

Clay Babcock, CAD Engineer