The minting process in England was finally mechanised in the early 1660s, shortly after the Restoration of Charles II. Indeed it has been suggested that the change may have been prompted by the king’s shame at the contrast between the first coins of his reign and those of Louis XIV.
Under the new system, the metal was cast into fillets of the breadth and little more than the thickness of the intended coin. These fillets were reduced by a rolling mill, operated by horses tramping round a cellar below, and from the fillets blanks were punched by a small fly press. The striking of the blanks was performed in a simple and effective screw press, which brought down the upper die onto the blank by the action of a large screw carrying the die in a holder mounted at its lower end. The screw was set in motion by workmen pulling at the weighted end of a long horizontal bar and descended with great force to hit the blank resting on the bottom die. Blanks could be struck at the rate of one every two seconds, but it was extremely tiring and the teams of workmen could not work for long at a time. Even less to be envied was the moneyer, usually young and nimble, who had the task of flicking the newly struck coin away from the dies and putting a fresh blank in its place.