Here’s another lesson in the continuing and forever-expanding series on not judging by appearances: the following terrific images were found in a very tall and slender, stiff and demure 1920’s publication celebrating the Thomson Printing Works of London (and Glasgow, Dundee, and Manchester).
The calf-bound book has the feel of an antique wallet, and even though the binding is sumptuous the cover is imprinted “A memento of a visit to the Thomson Printing Works, Dundee, Glasgow, Manchester”, which made it a rather expensive give-away–if that is so it was probably given only to the special few and not to the great unwashed. (My copy belonged to H.L. Mencken, who kept it until 1935 when he gave it away).
Anyway Thomson was a busy printing house/publisher, sending out millions of pieces, and the illustrations in the publication gives the reader an idea of the heavy hardware that went into the process. It is all very impressive. Also the photos of the human aspect of the firm–the crowded work and editorial and etc. rooms–well, it gives you an idea of the closeness and noise of the place as it might have been on a late summer afternoon in 1928.
[And by the way, I just checked WorldCat for this title and there’s only one copy listed–National Library of Scotland–which means the thing is pretty rare, and which also means that these terrific photos have probably not been shared very much at all…
I wonder how much just the metal type weighed in the composing room?