Kettering engineering firm Timsons back making printing presses as book sales soar

Timsons Ltd. was formed in 1896 by Mr. Arthur Richardson Timson

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 7:00 am

A world-renowned Kettering engineering company is back in the printing press manufacturing business after a boost in global book sales.

In the year that they celebrated their 125th anniversary, Timsons Engineering Ltd has announced a joint venture between the company and CPI UK - a leading UK book printer.

The new venture, Timsons CPI Ltd, will see Timsons manufacture the presses and CPI print the books using the machines made in Kettering at their Bath Road and Water Street works and foundry.

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Timsons Engineering Ltd has announced a joint venture between the company and CPI UK

Giovanni Piazza, director of Timsons Engineering Ltd, said: "On this very special anniversary we are delighted to announce the creation of a joint venture between Timsons Engineering Ltd and CPI UK.

"The creation of Timsons CPI Ltd cements our strategic alliance pulling together decades of experience and expertise in manufacturing some of the finest printing presses and printed books in the world.

"Building on our strong relationship Timsons CPI Ltd will manufacture new web offset litho printing presses and associated equipment for the book manufacturing sector.

"Some of the finest printing presses in the world were built by Timsons employees here in Kettering.

The frames are manufactured at Timson's foundry

"This new venture will complement Timsons Engineering Ltd and CPI Books' existing businesses, helping to secure their long-term prospects to the benefit of their respective customers."

The first project of the new venture is to upgrade an existing press to increase CPI UK’s printing capacity to accompany growth in the UK trade book market.

Physical book sales continue to grow with more than 200 million printed books sold in the UK alone in 2020 - the highest number since 2012 - a trend that continues into 2021 and shows no signs of abating.

Mr Piazza added: "Following years of underinvestment, the book printing market is supported by an increasingly aged park of litho presses, and given the continued strength in the book market, there exists a definite need for new web offset litho presses to sustain the global publishing market and secure its manufacturing base into the future.

The T48 press

"Through Timsons CPI, the renewed ability to manufacture new Timsons printing presses is great news for book manufacturers and publishers alike.

"Timsons has a proud history of being at the forefront of training and apprenticeship schemes. The joint venture will compliment our existing business and enable us to continue this into the future."

Timsons Ltd. was formed in 1896 by Mr Arthur Richardson Timson, who initially repaired shoe machinery in the cellar of his parents’ house in Kettering.

After repairing shoe machinery, Arthur Timson started to manufacture to his own designs.

The new presses will be used for the booming book trade

He also began to sell, repair and produce bicycles - which had become very popular in the 1890s.

This led to the development of the “ketterina,” a single-speed motorcycle with a small De Dion engine.

By 1907 the company was also moving into the printing machinery market and after his son Ernest joined him in 1920, Timsons established its reputation as a leading manufacturer of web fed rotary presses, printing letterpress and gravure. Arthur Timson died in 1954.

Timsons CPI Ltd is a joint venture