One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The plate in a small letterpress printing press which presses the paper against the type.
- ‘The pressman pulled on the bar, causing the platen to press the tympan on the inked type and taking the impression.’
- ‘Its 207-ton moving platen is the third largest nodular iron casting in the world.’
- ‘Expect to spend at least a grand on one, if not more, depending on the size of the heat element and platen.’
- ‘All these prototypes were shaped into panels of various commercial thicknesses with a steam-heated platen press.’
- ‘The first power-driven platen press was developed about 1822.’
2The cylindrical roller in a typewriter against which the paper is held.
- ‘I'd set it up on the desk in my bedroom and feed a couple of sheets of paper down behind the platen roller.’
- ‘Strangely I feel this too with the early poems, a sense of deliberation, you can almost hear the typewriter keys hit the paper on the platen.’
- ‘Crack open any inkjet, and you'll find the same parts - paper feed, platens, optical tracking tape, and so on.’
Late 16th century: from French platine ‘flat piece’ from plat ‘flat’.
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