In 1843, Richard invented a rotary printing press that placed the type on a revolving cylinder, a design much faster than the old flatbed printing press. It received U.S. Patent 5,199 in 1847, and was placed in commercial use the same year. In its early days, it was variously called the "Hoe lightning press," and "Hoe's Cylindrical-Bed Press," and was later developed into the "Hoe web perfecting press."
In 1870 he developed a rotary press that printed both sides of a page in a single operation. Hoe's press took a roll of paper five miles long, which was put through the machine at the rate of 800 feet (240 m) a minute. As the sheets came out, they were passed over a knife which cut them apart, and then they were then run through an apparatus which folded them for the mail or for carriers. These completely printed and folded newspapers were delivered as quickly as the eye could follow them.
Early on, Hoe added the production of steel saws to his business and introduced improvements to their manufacture. In 1837, he visited England and obtained a patent for a better process of grinding saws. In connection with his factory, Hoe established an apprentice's school where free instruction was given.
Hoe was a Freemason, and died in Florence, Italy. His nephew, Robert Hoe (1839–1909), wrote a notable Short History of the Printing Press in 1902 and made further improvements in printing.
Hoe lived with his wife, Mary, on a vast 53-acre estate, called Brightside, in the Morrisania / Hunt's Point section of the Bronx. The estate was sold in 1904 by his family to developers speculating on the subway extension into the Bronx. His mansion was located at present day Printers Park at the corner or Aldus Street and Hoe Avenue in the Bronx. The newly reconstructed park opened in April 2010, equipped with a play structure inspired by the rotary printing press.