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Andrew Campbell

CAMPBELL, Andrew, inventor, born near Trenton, New Jersey, 14 June, 1821. He received a common-school education, and at the age of twelve was left an orphan. After a year's experience as a farmer's boy, he was apprenticed to learn the trade of car-tinge-making at Mattawan, New Jersey, but, as he was only allowed to work on stormy days, he ran away to Trenton, where he learned to make brushes. At this time, early in 1837, he made his first invention, the brush-drawer's vise, which is now universally used. In April, 1837, he started for the west, and after a journey lasting over five months, part of which was made on foot, he reached Alton, Illinois, where he again apprenticed himself to a carriage-maker. He went to St. Louis in 1842, and for a time resumed the brush business. During his residence there he aided in the construction of the first omnibus ever used in St. Louis, and also designed and built in 1846 the "Great Western," the largest omnibus ever seen on a common road, which seated easily 50 and often carried 100 at a time. It was the first monitor top vehicle ever built. In 1850 he removed to Paducah, to put into operation some box machinery, but was induced to go into bridge-building, and constructed over Cedar river, Iowa, the longest single-span wooden bridge ever erected, it being 558 feet between abutments. He removed in 1851 to Linneus, Missouri. Prior to this time his attention had not been specially devoted to printing-presses, although in 1844, while in St. Louis, he repaired an old press belonging to the "Republican," and later the presses of the "Statesman" in Columbia, Missouri, one of which was the first press west of the Mississippi, having been taken originally to St. Louis in 1808. At Linneus, his attention was called to the fact that George Bruce, of New York, offered $1,000 for a press that would print 500 copies an hour, and could be sold for $500. The solution of this problem occupied him for some time, but, on corresponding with Mr. Bruce, he found that the time had expired in which to submit his plans. The world's fair, held in New York in 1853, afforded him the opportunity of visiting the metropolis, and he devised a lathe capable of turning fifty match-boxes a minute, which was disposed of at the exhibition. While in New York he submitted his plans to the leading press-builders, but failed to convince them of their value. He then invented a machine intended to feed forty sheets a minute, which he persuaded A. born Taylor & county to build for him. He entered the employ of this firm as foreman of the printing-press factory, and continued with it until 1858, meanwhile becoming familiar with the details of manufacture and inventing numerous devices, among which was the endless band-fly used on the Bullock press. During these years he built presses for Harper Brothers and Frank Leslie, among which were the first ever produced in this country with table distribution; and the first automatic press ever built he set up for Mr. Leslie in 1857. A year later he began business for himself, and in 1861 brought out his country-newspaper press, which was the first registering power-printing press for color-work ever invented. This press, for simplicity of construction, thorough distribution, clearness and beauty of impression, and perfection of register, was far superior to anything then made. In 1866 he invented his two-revolution book-press, and in 1868 his art-press for fine illustrations. Later he constructed for J. C. Ayer & county the first super-imposing press, with which it was possible to print 120 almanacs a minute, and on which 7,000,000 impressions have been taken from one form without perceptible damage to the plates. In 1876 he contracted to build for the Cleveland "Leader" a press from which 12,000 copies could be printed in an hour, and constructed the first press ever built that printed, inserted, pasted, folded, and cut in one continuous operation. He has since made numerous improvements in his presses, and his patents, numbering nearly fifty, are applied to every branch of press-building.

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