Solar Printing Press.

Screen shot 2011-01-23 at 2Photo: Printing press driven by the heat rays of the sun.
On  6 August 1882, Monsieur Abel Pifre, a French Engineer, demonstrated the solar engine invented by him at a meeting of the Union Francaise de la Jeunesse held at the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris.
It consisted of a concave mirror 3.5 metres in diameter, in the focus of which there is placed a cylindrical steam boiler equipped with a safety valve.
The steam generated by the reflected sun-rays actuates a small vertical engine of 2/5 horse power driving a Marioni type printing-press.
Although the sun lacked power and the sky was frequently overcast, the press operated continuously from 1.00 pm to 5.30 pm turning out an average of five hundred copies per hour of a journal which was especially made up for the occasion and appropriately called Soleil-Journal.
Previously Pifre had demonstrated that 50 litres of water could be brought to boil in less than 50 minutes, after which the pressure of the steam increased one atmosphere every eight minutes.
There is little doubt that such a solar engine will be a boon to the population of hot areas which so often suffer from a shortage of fuel.
via Metal Type – Solar Powered Printing Press.

The Impact of Printing on Religion c.1600.

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.’
via Print production – The Full Wiki.

The Tramp Printers.

The Tramp Printers: Forgotten Trails of the Travelling Typographers by Charles Overbeck at Eberhardt Press.
Overbeck’s book takes a look at the rise and fall of tramp printers at the turn of the Twentieth Century.
Tramp printers were the original freelancers, traversing the country and sometimes even the world looking for work.
More often than not, tramp printers were union members. Union membership guaranteed printers a job at any shop with a union contract, allowing them the freedom to travel as well as the stability that comes with employment.

The rise and fall of the tramp printers is intertwined with the rise and fall of the bargaining power of labor unions.
Overbeck even argues that printers were integral to the success of labor unions.
Printers formed the first national trade union, the National Typographical Union, paving the way for others.
The strength of these unions delayed the modernization of the print shop, but not enough to keep the tramping tradition alive.
There were definitely a lot of ups and downs to being a tramp printer.
The job itself was not the easiest—printers worked long hours under grueling conditions, often leading to health problems.
Printing culture was also rampant with alcoholism and sexism.
The Tramp Printers tells the story of how printers have been integral to the development of literacy and labor struggles.
In a way, printers are the unsung heroes of the modern age
Source: The Tramp Printers: Forgotten Trails of the Travelling Typographers

The Glory Days of Letterpress.

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The picture above is of a small shop and the owner in Newport, United States.
The wondrous days of letterpress magic and it worked. Inky, greasy, frustrating hot metal I loved it. We all did.
When you walked through the door you knew you were home.
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Above: One of my absolute pet hates was your leading hand, clicker or foreman hanging over your shoulder giving you absolutely annoying and crappy advice.
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Above: And finally, the Toowoomba Chronicle, Aussie east coast provincial newspaper, in the late 1880s.
Note that the lads always had their photos taken dressed up looking like Toffs.

de Kehtam’s ‘Fasiculus Medicine’ first Anatomy Book with Illustrations.

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“For my part I deem those blessed to whom, by favour of the gods, it has been granted either to do what is worth writing of, or to write what is worth reading; above measure blessed those on whom both gifts have been conferred”–Pliny the Elder.
Johannes de Kehtam’s Fasciculus Medicine (printed in Venice in 1500) was the first anatomy book to be printed with illustrations.
Ketham was described as a German doctor living in Italy and may well have been Johann von Kerchheim, a German practising surgery and medicine in Venice during 1470), and who wrote a series of tracts on various aspects of medicine which were then collected into this single bound volume.
6a00d83542d51e69e2017ee57542ac970dThe illustrations are spectacular and to me have a very modern sensibility in their mid-Renaissance woodcut legacy–the look very clear and concise, are well proportioned, nicely labelled, and give plenty of free rein to open and blank spaces on the woodblock.
The only time these images really “fail” is when they appear in colour–a process that would’ve been undertaken privately, by the purchaser of the book, who would have contracted with an artisan to colo r the book.
The images in almost all of the cases of colouring that I have seen just do not match the elegance and brilliance of the original with no color.
Source for all images: NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE,
Read on further via JF Ptak Science Books: First Printed & Illustrated Medical Book (1500)

Early Printing in St Albans, circa 1479.

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Hand-coloured woodcut in a vellum copy of Wynkyn de Worde’s Book of Hawking, Hunting, and Heraldry (Westminster: Wynkyn de Worde, 1496), g3v.
In the background is Sopwell Priory, a cell of St Albans Abbey, where Juliana Berners was prioress. JRL 19668.
The small market town of St Albans in Hertfordshire, 25 miles north of London, was the site of the premier Benedictine house in the British Isles during the Middle Ages.
The Abbey of St Albans supported numerous trades, especially those involved in the town’s main industry, the manufacture of woollen cloth.
There was a weekly market and three annual fairs, which attracted buyers and sellers from all over Hertfordshire and from London.
The Abbey’s prosperity and importance led to the establishment of a printing press in the buildings of the Abbey’s gatehouse in c.1479, making it the only religious house in pre-Reformation England to run an independent printing establishment.
For further Information, click link
http://goo.gl/mRXQwf
via First Impressions | St Albans.