In 1813, printer Robert Harrild (1780-1853) joined the debated raging inside the London printing community as to the use of rollers rather than balls to ink a printing plate. The majority of hand-printers preferred inking balls but Harrild’s demonstration of his new roller was so successful that rollers became compulsory in every print shop throughout the city. Harrild established a company, located at 25 Farringdon Street, to manufacture the rollers and eventually all kinds of printing equipment.
His advertisements boasted: “Harrild and Sons’ Manufacture … have on sale every article connected with printing machinery; type, presses, machines…” Shortly before his death, Harrild’s rollers and Paragon platen press were exhibited in the Crystal Palace during the Great Exposition of 1851. His sons continued to run the company well into the twentieth century.
Graphic Arts recently acquired two of their equipment catalogues: Catalogue of Printing Machinery and Materials with Selected Type Specimens, ca. 1895, and Harrild & Sons’ Complete Illustrated Catalogue of Printers, Bookbinders’ & Stationers’ Machinery & Materials, 1892. Note in particular the machine to fold newspapers.