Definition of Platen

What is a Platen?

A platen is a basic mechanical device used in various machines, including printing presses and typewriters, to create and transfer images or text onto paper. It acts as a platform or surface on which the paper is placed in order to make a clear impression.


The word “platen” comes from the Dutch word “platte,” which means flat. It was first used in the early 19th century when letterpress printing was commonly used.

Everyday Life

Although platen is not a term commonly used in everyday conversations, it can be found in various machines that we use regularly without even realizing it. For example, old typewriters, especially manual ones, have a platen that holds the paper and rolls it as we type. Similarly, printing presses use a platen to apply ink and print images or text onto paper.

Synonyms and Comparison

A platen can be compared to a tabletop or a surface where you place objects to work on them. In printing, it is similar to a stamp or roller that leaves an impression on paper.


In simple terms, a platen is a flat surface or platform used in machines like printing presses and typewriters. It helps in creating clear impressions of text or images on paper. So, next time you see an old typewriter or a printing press, remember the important role played by the platen!


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