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Old 04-29-2010, 02:13 PM
davem davem is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Newburyport MA
Posts: 2
Thumbs up Jacob Perkins Printing and Engraving Plant

Hi Everyone

My name is Dave and I am overseeing the restoration of the Jacob Perkins Engraving and Printing Plant in Newburyport MA. This plant was in operation beginning in 1808 through the 1830's and produced the majority of paper money used by banks through out New England and beyond. Perkins, America's most prolific inventor in the early 19th century, was the inventor of the steel plate sideography process and the "checkplate" anticounterfiting process. After emigrating to England in 1819 his firm there printed the first postage stamp, the Penny Black.

The Historical Society of Old Newbury acquired the Perkins building several years ago in very deteriorated condition and has spent over a half amillion dollars on its stabilization and renovation.

It is our intention to turn the Printing Plant an demonstration entity printing facsimile notes and other engravings. In addition, we hope to become the defacto repository for Perkins information, ephemera, notes and related 19th century engraving and printing tools.

As a result we are looking for appropriate 19th century tools, presses and equipment for usage and display that will illustrate the state of the engraving and sideography art. We would appreciate any and all advice, leads to presses, Perkins notes and ephemera, related early books, process descriptions, early photos etc.

You can contact me via email at:


or directly through this forum.

Looking forward to corresponding with all of you and learning about the fine art of engraving.



Please visit us at www.newburyhist.com
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Old 03-12-2015, 09:36 AM
David@PenParke.com David@PenParke.com is offline
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Houston
Posts: 1
Default Re: Jacob Perkins Printing and Engraving Plant

I wish you great luck in pulling together the Perkins Plant. I'd love to come see it.

Given your position, I wonder if you might be able to answer a question.

BACKGROUND: I understand that during most of the 19th century and much of the 20th, banknotes were printed from plates created by Siderography. Simplified, I think this involves these processes: 1) engrave a plate, 2) harden that plate (with temperature/quenching), 3) Press an un-hardened (softer) steel plate into the First Plate, so that the steel gets pressed into the Grooves, thereby creating an Embossed version, 4) harden the Embossed version and 5) Press the hardened Embossed Version into (multiple) new un-hardened steel plates to create De-Bossed images, then Harden the De-Bossed versions. Step 5 can be performed many times (don't know how many).

HERE's the QUESTION: It would seem that using an Embossed Roller to make new plates would entail wear-and-tear on the Embossed Roller. To me, that suggests that the First Plate Created for a New Note would be the SHARPEST version, with the clearest and crispest lines printed. Is that true? If so, do First-Plate PRINTED Notes earn a premium price in the marketplace because their Embossing is nicer, their printing finer & sharper?

I am a new Collector of Currency, and would like to accumulate the best banknotes my budget will allow, and if that means buying notes from the first plates, I'd like to know that.

David Moore, Houston, David.Moore@BlingGuard.com
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Old 03-23-2015, 08:13 AM
JJ Roberts's Avatar
JJ Roberts JJ Roberts is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 1,927
Default Re: Jacob Perkins Printing and Engraving Plant

Davem,I would like to see pictures of the printing plant,I spent over 42 years in the trade both in letter press and offset. J.J.
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