Leslie William “Lex” Claybourn (1883–1956) was a printing process pioneer who was issued over 200 U.S. patents. Like Horace Hacker and R.O. Vandercook, Claybourn worked to improve photoengraving and process plates and to reduce makeready. In 1921, he established Claybourn Process Corp. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which made, among other machines, a multicolor press that printed from curved electrotype plates.
Relevant to our interests, his company also built proof presses with reciprocating beds and stationary carriages, comparable to Hacker presses, and also the first power carriage proof press in the U.S. circa 1926. (Vandercook introduced its first power carriage the 325A P in 1931.) CPC was bought by C.B. Cottrell & Sons in 1937*, which continued to used the Claybourn name but stopped the production of proof presses.
In 1932, Claybourn published the informative booklet, The Printer and the Future: All industry faced with demand for greater efficiency … New Standards of Printing Practice Inevitable. He also contributed to the 1933 Penrose Annual with the article “Operating Modern Machinery: Its Future and Advantages to Employer and Employee.” He was the 1952 Recipient of the Lewis Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award, which is still presented by the Printing Industries of America. Though born into a prominent family, Claybourn died in poverty.
See this previous post about a hand-cranked Claybourn at the Museum of Printing History in Houston, Texas.
*The same year Hacker Mfg. was acquired by Vandercook. Likely, both fell victim to the recession that erased the economic gains ushered in by the New Deal.