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Percy David Hedderwick papers relating to printing press inventions


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Percy David Hedderwick was a Scottish inventor who was born on September 30, 1849 and died on February 13, 1920. The son of James Hedderwick (1814-1897), the proprietor of the Glasgow Citizen and theEvening Citizen, he was an engineer by profession. He invented an advanced rotary press in 1870 which resulted in two patents: patent No. 1581 of May 31, 1870 for "improvements in printing and in the machinery or apparatus employed thereof…Automatic stopping of the machinery…Using blasts of air in laying printed sheets," and patent No. 1958 of July 11, 1870 for "A new or improved apparatus for counting paper in sheets, and in the application thereof to printing machines."

According to a document in which Hedderwick describes his "double web machine" and the need for advances in newspaper printing, he states that he was "connected with the Press all [his] life, and had every opportunity for studying the principle and the practice of Printing, [his] father being the proprietor of the Glasgow Evening Citizen, the circulation of which has hitherto only been limited by the speed of the machinery employed," (box 1, folder 4). He studied the problem for four years before determining that "two webs of paper could be printed by a single set of type on stereotype cylinders." Hedderwick describes the resistance to his invention, citing the concerns of the newspapers and refuting them point by point. At the end of his document, he states that "the daily working expenses, time, and labour [would] be much less in every respect than with single web machines to perform the same duty."

Hedderwick married Ida Nelson, and together they had five children.

This collection documents Hedderwick's efforts to patent his inventions and introduce them into the market. The collection includes correspondence as well as patent publications, descriptions, and plans. The correspondence in this collection primarily concerns the purchase of the patents for Hedderwick's designs. In 1875, Mr. W.E. Newton purchased Hedderwick's patent No. 1581. In 1876, Newton wrote that he received a report claiming Hedderwick's patent was invalid because it was based off of a machine patented a year earlier. Hedderwick responded refuting this claim. In another letter, Michael Hunter of M. Hunter & Son was granted the right to exclusively manufacture and sell the press for fourteen years. Correspondence in this collection also contains questions from potential buyers of Hedderwick's Double-Web Machine, written plans for which are included in this collection.

Researchers will find handwritten plans for the Double-Web Machine along with Hedderwick's description of the need for the product and responses to the industry's concerns about the product. There are also published patent documents relating to Hedderwick's designs, a cabinet card photograph of Hedderwick's press, printing samples, a blueprint for "Fudge Box for Order No. 8343 'Nottingham Guardian,'" and an oversized advertising brochure about the "Patent Web Printing and Folding Machinery, manufactured by Northern Press & Engineering Co., Limited."

Sold by Book Mark, 2016

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Kelin Baldridge
Finding Aid Date
2016 December 7
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

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Blueprint for "Fudge Box for Order No. 8343", 1905.
Drawer 55 Folder 2
Correspondence, 1875-1883, undated.
Box 1 Folder 1
"Double-Web Machine" plans and handwritten description, 1874.
Box 1 Folder 4
Patent publications (including: Specification of Percy David Hedderwick. Apparatus for Distributing Types, Provisional Specification. "Improvements in Printing Machinery," and "Hedderwick's Patented Improvements in Rotary Web Printing Presses"), 1887-1905.
Box 1 Folder 2
"Patent Web Printing and Folding Machinery" advertising brochure featuring products manufactured by the Northern Press & Engineering Co., Limited in South Shields, England (the V Fold Former and Annand's Patent Late News Device), after 1891.
Drawer 106 Folder 1
Photograph of [rotary web newspaper printing press], circa 1870s-1880s.
Box 1 Folder 3
Printing samples (Glasgow Citizen banner and Evening Citizen page spreads), 1864-1882, undated.
Box 1 Folder 5

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