“The Smelly Melting Pot.”

This is not me. The bloke pictured here is about nine inches taller than me, handsome and built like a “brick shithouse”. One of my first jobs of a morning when I entered the “dog box” which we called the Comp Room at National Paper Industries. Port Road, was to switch on the Lead melting […]

Adelaide’s Weekend Newspaper “The Mail.”

The Mail was founded in 1912 by Clarence Moody. Moody initially set up three newspapers – the Sporting Mail, Saturday Mail and the Mail. The first two titles lasted only two years and five years respectively. The Mail went into liquidation in late 1914. Ownership passed briefly to George Annells and Frank Stone, and then […]

Printing in Medieval Venice c.1490s.

Venice, from the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493). JRL R1786. Medieval Venice was a major city state and an important trading port where East met West. Situated on a marshy lagoon at the head of the Adriatic Sea, for centuries it had traded extensively with the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim World. By the late thirteenth century, […]

The Madness of Hot Metal Piecework.

I WAS working on an Intertype at the Walthamstow Guardian when I managed to get a ‘Grass’ on the Sunday Telegraph (this meant working the Saturday as a casual operator) through a fellow operator who put in a word, knowhatimean? It was a real closed society when I started, no-one told new people anything and […]

Melbourne printing museum goes under the hammer.

The biggest event to occur in a generation or more was the auction of the Melbourne Museum of Printing at the end of November. While Australia has a great number of printing museums scattered around the country, there has only really been one that could lay claim to being a national printing museum: the Melbourne […]

The Peterborough Times Print Museum.

Photo: Ray Belt instructs Peter Plowman on the technical aspects of  running the Heidelberg Cylinder. Our trip to see the “Petersburg Times Print Museum” in the South Australian country town of Peterborough was a huge success. Why was it called the “Petersburg Times?” The paper was started in the nineteenth century at a time when […]

Caxton’s printing of The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer.

Portrait of Chaucer from the William Caxton printing of the Canterbury Tales. Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London in the early 1340s. His father, John, was a wealthy wine-merchant who held a minor position at court. In 1385 Chaucer moved to Kent, which he represented as a Member of Parliament for three years. Although he […]

Hot Metal Type Pictures.

One panel of a folder for a tea merchant. This is an amazingly creative piece of work, with letters formed from “printers flowers” and border elements, and the letters made structural parts of a scene constructed in Oriental style metal type elements: Combination Chinese Border Series 91, Patented January 18, 1881 by MacKellar, Smiths & […]

Everard Digby’s The Art of Swimming 1587.

lllustrations from Everard Digby’s De Arte Natandi (The Art of Swimming) published in 1587, considered the first English treatise on the practice. Divided into two parts, the first is largely theoretical (Digby wrote in Latin, though it would be translated into English by Christopher Middleton eight years later). The second part is concerned with practical […]

Albrecht Pfister, Printer and Publisher c.1400s.

Daniel in the lion’s den, from the Historie von Joseph, Daniel, Judith und Esther (Bamberg: Albrecht Pfister, 1462), f.19r. JRL 9375. Pfister is an even more shadowy figure than Johann Gutenberg, and what is known of him comes from analysis of the nine editions he is generally thought to have printed. Trained as a cleric, […]