Nearly 400 years after the birth of letterpress printing in Europe, a press came ashore with early settlers in New Zealand.
William Colenso (1835), was the first real New Zealand book printer with his “Stanhope” press, creating Maori and general ecclesiastical items.
A drawing of the original Stanhope press design. None of these are known to exist today.
Samuel Revans published the first newspaper “The New Zealand Gazette”, in 1840 near the Petone foreshore.
Printing is the medium which reflected the growth of this new country (170 newspapers came into existence by 1870) to meet the communication and information needs of a growing colony.
The development of letterpress printing in New Zealand can justly be said to mirror our nation’s history, we are determined that the principles and processes should not be lost.
via The Printing Museum.
A New World
Credit: Giulio Casserio. Frankfurt, 1656.
Copperplate engraving. National Library of Medicine
A frontispiece portrays five anatomists posed around a cadaver.
The globe at the top of the illustration, turned toward America, reveals how the anatomists saw themselves: as exploring a “New World” of science.
Pictured: Johannes Gutenberg, Germany.
Here are some old and enduring Technical terms relating to early books and printing.
Black-letter: A name (which came into use around 1600) for the form of type Gothic used by early printers, as distinguished from the ‘Roman’ type, which later prevailed.
Blockbook: A book in which each page was printed from a single block of wood, onto which both text and images were carved in reverse. Although it is often thought that blockbooks preceded the invention of printing from movable metal type, most surviving examples date from the period 1460 to 1480.
Breviary: A book containing the texts used to celebrate Divine Office each day by members of monastic orders and clergy, consisting of Psalms, Collects, and readings from Scripture and the lives of the Saints.
Catchword: A word printed at the end of a quire (a section of folded pages in order) to indicate the first word of the next page; if the catchword does not tally with the first word, this suggests that a leaf is missing, or that the quires have been bound in the wrong order.
Chase: A rectangular metal frame into which a forme, or body of type is locked, using wedges or quoins, ready for printing.
Colophon: A statement at the end of a book containing some or all of the following: name of the work, author, printer, place of printing, date. It is sometimes accompanied by a printer’s device or mark. This information was later carried on the title page.
Compositor: A person who sets, corrects and distributes type.
Pressman: The work of a person operating a hand-press.
Distributing type: Returning the individual sorts to their cases, after they have been printed. Often shortened to ‘dissing’.
Forme: The forme is the body of type, locked by the compositor into a frame called a chase, ready for printing.
Font: A complete set of upper- and lower-case letters, figures, punctuation marks and symbols, cast in one size and typeface. Typically a font would contain sufficient type to enable a printer to set several pages at one time.
Galley A three-sided shallow metal tray onto which type is transferred from a composing-stick for holding composed matter before it is split up into pages.
Galley proofs are proofs on long sheets of paper, of composed matter before it is made up into page.
Source: First Impressions | Glossary
Samuel Hartlib, (pictured above) who was exiled in Britain and enthusiastic about social and cultural reforms, wrote in 1641 that “the art of printing will so spread knowledge that the common people, knowing their own rights and liberties, will not be governed by way of oppression”.
For both churchmen and governments, it was concerning that print allowed readers, eventually including those from all classes of society, to study religious texts and politically sensitive issues by themselves, instead of thinking mediated by the religious and political authorities.
It took a long long time for print to penetrate Russia and the Orthodox Christian world, a region (including modern Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria) where reading ability was largely restricted to the clergy.
In 1564, a White Russian brought a press to Moscow, and soon after that his workshop was destroyed by a mob.
In the Muslim world, printing, especially in Arabic or Turkish was strongly opposed throughout the early modern period (printing in Hebrew was sometimes permitted).
Indeed, the Muslim countries have been regarded as a barrier to the passage of printing from China to the West.
According to an imperial ambassador to Istanbul in the middle of the sixteenth century, it was a sin for the Turks to print religious books.
In 1515, Sultan Selim I issued a decree under which the practice of printing would be punishable by death.
At the end of the century, Sultan Murad III permitted the sale of non-religious printed books in Arabic characters, yet the majority were imported from Italy.
Jews were banned from German printing guilds; as a result Hebrew printing sprang up in Italy, beginning in 1470 in Rome, then spreading to other towns. Local rulers had the authority to grant or revoke licenses to publish Hebrew books.
It was thought that the introduction of the printing medium ‘would strengthen religion and enhance the power of monarchs.’ The majority of books were of religious nature with the church and crown regulating the content.
The consequences of printing wrong material were extreme. Meyrowitz used the example of William Carter who, in 1584, printed a pro-Catholic pamphlet in Protestant-dominated England.
The consequence of his action was torture and hanging.
The widespread distribution of the Bible ‘had a revolutionary impact, because it decreased the power of the Catholic Church as the prime possessor and interpreter of God’s word.’