Gutenberg, Father of Printing.

Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (1395-1468) was a German blacksmith, goldsmith, printer, and publisher who introduced printing to Europe.
His invention of printing using moveable type started the Printing Revolution and is widely regarded as the most important event of the modern period.
It played a key role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment, and the Scientific Revolution and laid the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses.
Gutenberg was the first European to use movable type printing, in around 1439.
Among his many contributions to printing are: the invention of a process for mass-producing movable type; the use of oil-based ink; and the use of a wooden printing press similar to the agricultural screw presses of the period.
His truly epochal invention was the combination of these elements into a practical system which allowed the mass production of printed books and was economically viable for printers and readers alike.
Gutenberg’s method for making type is traditionally considered to have included a type metal alloy and a hand mould for casting type.
Read on via Biography of Johannes Gutenberg.

The Lagonda Platen, 1947.

Lagonda Platen 1947
The Lagonda has attrac­ted a lot of atten­tion — it’s one of those machines that few people have seen and had attained an almost myth­ical status.
The machine was installed in the 1950s, while Gary Arber was in the Royal Air Force, but it was never very pop­u­lar.
The feed mech­an­ism is driven by a long, single bar run­ning from left to right and it was very difficult to operate.
The Brit­ish Printer write-up of the Lagonda sug­ges­ted they could be run side-by-side, but the way the motor hous­ing is posi­tioned leads me to believe that this could never have been done in practice.
Gary Arber’s Letterpress Print Shop.
The visitor’s first impres­sion is the wealth of objects — every­where.
Each sur­face is filled with enga­ging and inter­est­ing things.
Sta­tion­ery, eph­em­era, odds-and-sods from the print works itself.
This ground floor is Gary Arber’s shop win­dow and the place to deal with cus­tom­ers.
NOTE: The machinery from Gary Arber’s shop is now held as a collection at Catseye Press UK.
via Blog | British Letterpress | A UK-centric view of letterpress printing.

The forgotten ‘Typographer’ 1829.

Among William Austin Burt’s numerous inventions were the typographer in 1829, which was a predecessor to the modern-day typewriter.
The “typographer” was the first constructed and operating typewriter anywhere according to Burt.
Burt searched far and wide for an appropriate name for his invention, but reluctantly settled with “typographer” which ultimately became “typewriter.”
It consisted of a wooden box and at one end there was a swinging lever for impressing.
The typeface letters were mounted on a short sector attached on the underside of the lever.
Pressing down with pressure imprinted the letter selected on the paper.
When a page was full it was torn off like a paper towel, as the paper was on a large continuous roll. One could print both upper and lower case letters.
1024px-W_A_Burt_typographerThe first writing machine Burt built did not live up to his expectation, so he built an improved version six months later that wasn’t much faster.
The improvements were mostly in looks and appearance for marketing the machine to investors.
While Burt’s typographer generated a lot of interest and did a very good job of typing clear and neat letters it did not become a commercial success.
The typographer was “born out of season” and was before its time, so no market was found for his typewriter or the patent in his lifetime.
Read more via William Austin Burt – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Chandler and Price Paper Guillotine.

Chandler Price GuillotineChandler & Price was founded in 1881 in Cleveland, Ohio, by Harrison T. Chandler and William H. Price.
They manufactured machinery for printers including a series of hand-fed platen jobbing presses, as well as an automatic feeder for these presses (the Rice Feeder).
They also made paper cutters (Guillotines) as well as book presses, and assorted equipment.
Despite dominating the industry in the 1930s, by the 1950s the offset printing industry had eclipsed the world of movable type printing, and only Chandler & Price and Brandtjen and Kluge continued to make open platen presses (named Gordon after the original inventor).
Chandler & Price had bought the patent for the Gordon after the inventor’s death. Chandler & Price, the Company ceased production of presses in 1964.
The New Style Press made by Chandler & Price was such a popular press that The Practice Of Printing: Letterpress and Offset by Ralph Polk, the standard textbook for thousands of high school printing programs in the middle of the 20th century, used the press as its example when teaching students the basics of press operation.

Beautiful Vintage Print Ephemera.

Print Ephemera is generally material designed and printed to be useful or important for only a short time, especially pamphlets, notices, tickets and the like
So, it just wouldn’t be right would it, if the print companies didn’t indulge in a bit of advertising of their companies using high grade ephemera
Here’s some great stuff from years gone by…
Via Sheaff: Ephemera

Joseph Moxon, Royal Printer, 1627-1691.


Joseph Moxon (8 August 1627 – February 1691), hydrographer (mapper of oceans)  to Charles II, was an English printer of mathematical books and maps, a maker of globes and mathematical instruments, and mathematical lexicographer.
He produced the first English language dictionary devoted to mathematics.
In November 1678, he became the first tradesman to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Between the ages of around 9 and 11, Moxon accompanied his father, James Moxon, to Delft and Rotterdam where he was printing English Bibles.
It was at this time that Moxon learned the basics of printing.
After the First English Civil War the family returned to London and Moxon and his older brother, James, started a printing business which specialized in the publication of Puritan texts, with the notable exception of A Book of Drawing, Limning, Washing or Colouring of Mapps and Prints of 1647 which was produced for Thomas Jenner, a seller of maps.
In 1652, Moxon visited Amsterdam and commissioned the engraving of globe-printing plates, and by the end of the year was selling large celestial and terrestrial globes in a new business venture.
He specialized in the printing of maps and charts, and in the production of globes, and mathematical instruments made of paper.
In January 1662, he was appointed hydrographer to the King, despite his Puritan background.
His shop at this time was on Ludgate Hill ; afterwards, in 1683, it was ‘on the west side of Fleet Ditch,’ but always ‘at the sign of Atlas.’
Moxon’s 1683 book, Mechanick Exercises, provides descriptions of contemporary printing methods that have proved useful for bibliographers.
via Joseph Moxon – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.