William Clowes (printer)

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William Clowes (January 1, 1779 – January 26, 1847) founded a printing firm, William Clowes Ltd., in London in 1803.

The firm rapidly expanded, and became the largest printing firm in the world.

In 1870, the firm amalgamated with William Moore, a Beccles printer who also owned the Caxton press.

The firm led the field in the development of monotype composition.

In 1984 William Clowes Ltd. opened their Printing Museum to commemorate the granting of a charter to Beccles by Queen Elizabeth I.

The museum houses a large collection of composing, printing and binding equipment, memorabilia and books, including a pivotal type caster invented in the United States by David Bruce in 1838, and a Columbian Press, invented in 1898 by George E. Clymer of Philadelphia.

The Clowes printing factory moved to Ellough, near Beccles, in 2005. The original factory was demolished to make way for a new Tesco supermarket.

The company in 2004 invested in a new Timsons T48 coldset web press and their share of the consumer book publishing market continues to grow.


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