The Vandercook Proof Press.

In the early 20th century, printers were still pulling crude proofs from hand presses and simple galley roller presses that depended on gravity for the impression.
In 1909, R.O. Vandercook was the first to develop a geared, rigid-bed cylinder proof press, a machine capable of providing the industry with high-quality proofs from metal types and photoengravings.
The company’s reputation was built on technical innovation and quality construction, and for the next fifty years Vandercook & Sons set the standard for subsequent manufacturers in the U.S. and Europe.
In the 1960s, when offset lithography eclipsed letterpress as the leading commercial printing method, printers began decommissioning their letterpress equipment (often giving it away).
As a result, Vandercook presses began to be adopted by artists and hobbyists for short-run edition printing due to their ease of operation.
Now widely found in art schools and book arts centers, Vandercooks are arguably the press of choice for fine press printers and book artists.
via Vandercook Time Line – Vanderblog.

Print in Medieval Paris.

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Situated on the River Seine in northern France, late medieval Paris was a great university city and offered printers the opportunity to sell their books to teachers and scholars.
In 1436 the French King, Charles VII, reclaimed the city from its occupiers,the Burgundians who were allied to the English, making Paris the capital of France again.
There was a ready market for Printers in producing legal texts and courtly books such as romances.
Paris was already one of France’s major cathedral towns and famous as a centre of scholarship and manuscript production.
The Sorbonne was founded in 1257, one of seventy colleges listed as part of the university in the Middle Ages.
At the end of the medieval period, the university had become the largest cultural and scientific centre in Europe, attracting about 20,000 students.
Its reputation grew from the prestige of its university masters and the wealth of its libraries, which were equal to that of the pontifical library in Rome.
Read on via First Impressions | Paris.

The Neotype, a Soviet copy of the Linotype.

If Neotype is what I think (a Soviet copy of Linotype / Intertype), then it’s still pretty popular in former Eastern Bloc countries.
The Book Art Museum in Poland has one (model N114 if I remember correctly) and an operating manual as well.
They were made in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg).
Peter the Great, who established the city, originally named it Sankt-Peterburg.
On 1 September 1914, after the outbreak of World War I, the Imperial government renamed the city Petrograd meaning “Peter’s city”, in order to expunge the German words Sankt and Burg.
On 26 January 1924, shortly after the death of Vladimir Lenin, it was renamed to Leningrad meaning “Lenin’s City”.
On 6 September 1991, the original name, Sankt-Peterburg, was returned.
Today, in English the city is known as “Saint Petersburg”.
The factory also made lead and rule casters and headliners, and possibly type casters for old-school founders’ mats.
There was even some work to copy the Monotype system, but the precision required to make the casting machine/mould was so high that the Russians couldn’t do it.
Rumour has it that they managed to make a keyboard (typesetting machine), but I’ve yet to know the details.

Source: Jim King R.I.P. – Photo Memorial – Help Needed

The Peterborough Print Museum.

Most people would know of the magnificent collection of wooden type housed in the Hamilton Wood Type Museum, Two Rivers, Wisconsin in the United States.
Also, A lot of Old Guvvers would realise that the Government Printing Office in Adelaide had a terrific collection of priceless wooden type which magically disappeared when it was put up for auction. Only the wooden type cases remained.
Well it’s a pleasure to let you know that the Peterborough Print Museum (pictured above) in Peterborough, South Australia has the best collection of wooden type that I have personally seen since my Old Guv Days.
Thanks must go to Mary Zimmermann and Judy Evans for the Photographs and the wonderful work that they do along with their History Group Committee members in maintaining and displaying all the fascinating history of this charming old Print Shop.
Some samples of the wooden type can be seen below:

 

 

Print Shop Address: 9-11 Jervois Street, Peterborough.

Open for Tours: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – 10 am to 2 pm. or by Appointment.

Contacts:

Judy Evans 0408 220 248; Heather Parker 0400 461 100; Mary Zimmermann 0427 188 023.

Entry: $5 per person.

Rod Parham

A Short History of Postcards.

wishyouwerehere-675x460Postcards are extremely popular to collectors because they portray a lot of subjects, from picturesque landscapes to portraits of famous people. They can even portray various forms of art, architecture and events.
Postcards may also be considered as indicators of history, but it all depends on the determining factors that a certain postcard portrays.
There are lots of people who appreciate the value of postcards, which is why many of them collect postcards as a hobby.
Postcard collecting is technically known as deltiology, and is now considered one of the popular collectible hobbies.

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Theodore Hooke posted the first picture postcard in 1840. It was a hand painted postcard depicting the post office and its workers (see above).
Apparently, it was Theodore Hooke himself who posted it as a practical joke, as it featured caricatures of the postal office workers themselves.
The American postal card was first conceptualised and patented by John P. Charlton in 1861. He eventually sold the rights to Hymen Lipman, who added borders to the postal cards.
These cards though, did not contain images and were known as “Lipman’s Postal Cards”.
A few years later, Leon Besnardeau made another picture postcard version. The postcard, became the first picture postcard in Britain.
It depicts emblematic images on one side of the postcard. However, there is no existing evidence indicating Leon Besnardeau mailed this postcard without an envelope. The postcard contains an inscription reading “War of 1870. Camp Conlie. Souvenir of the National Defence. Army of Brittany”.
A year after Britain’s first picture postcard was created, the first picture postcard that served as a souvenir came from Vienna. The following year, the first advertising card was distributed in Great Britain. In 1874, the first German postcard became available to the public.
In 1873, Morgan Envelope Factory was the first to develop the American postcard. In the same year as well, John Creswell, who was the postmaster during that time, presented the first pre-stamped postcards.
The main function of these postcards was to make a convenient means for people to easily send notes.
Two decades later, the post office created the first postcard souvenir to inform the masses of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. This boosted the sales of the postcards. In 1880s as well, the cards depicting other forms of images became extremely popular. This has led to the “Golden Age” of postcards until the 1890s.
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Postcards became popular especially during the early 1900s, when postcard publishing companies printed images of buildings and other structures.
In 1908 alone, there were approximately 700 million postcards mailed. Almost two decades later came the “white border” era. This era featured postcards with white borders around them.

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Eventually the “white border” era was replaced by the “linen card” era, which took place in the early 1930s. These linen cards feature a texture similar to linen cloth. This ‘linen card’ trend lasted until the 1950s.
via Overnight Prints

The Nebitype, the Typesetter from Hell.

1967t01The Year was 1968. I was completing my composing apprenticeship with the Griffin Press, Marion Road, Netley.
My foreman was Alf Freeman, a bald Englishman who had come from England to originally work at the Government Printing Office.
Alf had left after a couple of years for the Griffin.
There I met Nick Penn, Colin Rawlings, Rod Baker, Ted Powell, Ken Simpson, Doug Long and Norm Morcombe all who went on to work at the Old Guv from the 1970s onwards.
However, the point of this tale is to get you to look at the above typecasting machine, the Nebitype.
It was made by the Nebiolo Company of Italy. The Nebitype was a line casting typesetter that spewed a single lead printing slug around 40 picas in length.
It was vaguely similar to the Ludlow Typesetter.
But there the similarity ended, unlike the Nebitype the Ludlow was a very reliable American typesetting machine.
But there was a problem with the Nebitype during its casting cycle and I suspected there was something up when the tradesmen refused to work it.
It was left up to the apprentices, especially the new ones, like me!
The Nebitype had a mind of its own and would often spray molten lead into the air.
Luckily, there was a comp. called Ken Costello (a ballroom dancing champion) who showed me the Nebitype survival plan.
You would place the setting stick in the jaws of the machine and then everyone would scatter.
Ken Costello had a rope tied to the casting handle and the other apprentices would hide behind a typesetting frame for safety.

Meanwhile, Ken would wave a red warning flag to keep people away.
Before hiding you tugged the rope, uttered a short prayer and the machine would shudder into action.
Did it work properly this time? Was the floor covered with molten lead?
It certainly made life interesting in the Griffin Press comp. room.
derwombat