Richard M. Hoe, inventor, rotary printing press

Richard March Hoe  (September 12, 1812 – June 7, 1886) was an American inventor from New York City who designed a rotary printing press and related advancements, including the “Hoe web perfecting press” in 1871; it used a continuous roll of paper and revolutionized newspaper publishing.

Mr. Hoe was born in New York City. His father and uncles established a steam-powered manufacturing plant for printing presses and at the age of fifteen, Richard joined the company. He led the company after his father’s death in 1833. He is most well known for his invention in 1843 of a rotary printing press: type was placed on a revolving cylinder, a design that could print much faster than the old flatbed printing press. It received a patent  in 1847, and was placed in commercial use the same year by the Sun newspaper in Baltimore.

In 1870 Hoe developed a rotary press that printed both sides of a page at once, called the “Hoe web perfecting press.” The press used a continuous roll of paper five miles long, fed through the machine at 800 feet (240 m) a minute. It then passed over a knife cutting pages apart.

Play structure designed to look like paper going over the rollers in a printing press.

It then passed to the next machine which folded the pages for easy delivery. The press produced 18,000 papers an hour and was used the first time by the New York Tribune. He continued to improve the press, eventually creating the Hoe Lightning press, the fastest printing press of its time.

The Hoe family lived in the Bronx  in what is now known as Printer’s Park. The Park is located at the former site of his mansion, at the corner on Aldus Street and Hoe Avenue and contains  a jungle gym that looks like an old printing press.

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NYC tour guide -- licensed and starred with Dept of Commerce

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