George E. Clymer

From Academic Kids

George E. Clymer (1752-1834) was the inventor of the Columbian Printing Press.

He was born in Philadelphia, USA, and invented his printing press in 1813. Because there seemed little interest in his invention in the United States, he left for England in 1817 and started to manufacture his press there. However, he emphasised the origin of the idea by naming it "Columbian", Columbia being a poetic name for the United States.

The press itself is aesthetically interesting. To symbolise the production of newspapers, the press's frame is decorated with a winged caduceus surrounded by snakes; the rod of Mercury, the messenger of the Gods in Greek mythology; dolphins as symbols of wisdom. The counterweight is in the form of a white-headed eagle, the heraldic beast of the USA - a further reminder of the idea's origin. The eagle holds in its claws the cornucopia or horn of plenty, also the olive branch, a symbol of peace. The Press is often affectionately referred to as "The Eagle".

Surviving examples of the Columbian Press can be found in many museums:

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