The Imperial arming press is based on the Imperial printing press invented by John Cope and Joseph Sherwin in 1827. The Imperial press was a competitor to the Albion press, and was designed by two former employees of R. W. Cope, the inventor of the Albion press. Like the Albion, the press was based on a toggle mechanism, but it was not a simple copy of the Albion. The toggle was located in the head of the staple, not in the piston, and leaf springs were used to lift the platen.
In 1932 Cope, Sherwin & Co designed the Imperial arming press. The first version of the arming press used the same mechanism as the printing press, mounted in a C-shaped staple for better access to the work area. By the last half of the 1840s, the C-shaped staple design was abandoned, and the arming presses were built using the same staple as the printing presses.
Our press was made in 1852, around the time the partnership between Sherwin and Cope ended.