A young man from Strasbourg, Johan Carolus, had his Gutenberg moment in 1605.
The proprietor of a successful news agency, each week he would scrutinise the letters, news reports and despatches that passed through this busy city and produce from them a hand-written digest of news, which he copied for subscribing clients.
Struggling to keep up with demand, he had recently bought a printing press and put a proposition to the city council. He would turn his weekly newsletters into print if the council would grant him a monopoly.
To Carolus this probably seemed a relatively routine legal transaction. Like Johannes Gutenberg 150 years before, Carolus was seeking to deal with a situation where demand had outstripped supply by mechanising an existing process.
In Gutenberg’s case this involved replacing manuscript books, copied one by one, with a technique for producing several hundred copies. Carolus proposed to do the same for news.
Since the invention of printing in Europe in the 15th century, publishers had gradually broadened the market by experimenting with new forms of books.
Among them were an increasing number of pamphlets dealing with current affairs: wars, battles and natural disasters.
But these news pamphlets were occasional publications, printed when great events caused a spike in public interest.
Those who required a regular digest of news – diplomats, merchants or officials, such as members of Strasbourg’s town council – turned to news agencies like that of Carolus, which offered a weekly subscription service.
These newsletters, which originated in the great Italian news hubs of Rome and Venice, were highly regarded but expensive. Carolus now proposed to broaden their appeal and lower their cost by having them printed.
The Albion Press at Museum Victoria is a table model hand lever press.
The original Albion Press was invented in Great Britain around 1820 by Cope (who died in 1828).
The Albion at the Museum was manufactured in 1859 by the company Hopkinson and Cope.
It was donated by the Victorian Government Printing Office in 1979.
Its previous use is unknown but a similar press was used at the Post Office in Melbourne and was offered to the Printing Office in 1862.
It appears to have been used by the Government Printing office for minor jobbing work and proofing of galleys.
A forme was placed on the iron bed of the press and inked by roller or ink ball; a sheet of paper was placed on the open tympan (packing used to equalise the type pressure) the frisket (strong paper used to prevent the non printing areas of the forme appearing on the impression) was closed down over the tympan to hold the paper in place and the whole folded down over the type forme, resting slightly above the inked type.
The bed was then wound under the platen by a handle attached to a central rounce (handle) under the bed, the handle when pulled forward brought the platen down and an impression was taken.
The handle was pushed back and impression lifted and the bed wound back out, where the tympan was lifted off, frisket was lifted off and the printed sheet removed.
Pre-industrial Manchester: The south-west prospect of Manchester and Salford by John Harris, c.1734.
Today we think of Manchester as the world’s first industrial city and a crucible of industrial revolution in the nineteenth century.
But in the fifteenth century it was a prosperous market town on the banks of the Rivers Irwell and Irk.
It had a manor house and a collegiate church (which became the cathedral in 1847) and there was an embryonic textile industry with Flemish weavers and cloth merchants attracted to the town.
The domestic buildings associated with the collegiate church and the cathedral itself are all that remain of the medieval buildings of the town.
During the Reformation the domestic buildings fell into disrepair and suffered further abuse and neglect during The English Civil War.
The buildings were renovated during the seventeenth century by the gentleman-merchant Sir Humphrey Chetham, and in 1653 he founded Chetham’s Library, the oldest surviving public library in Great Britain, in the restored buildings.
The first book printed in Manchester was John Jackson’s Mathematical lectures read to the Mathematical Society in Manchester, printed by Roger Adams in 1719.
Bruce McCallister (1881-1945) was a letterpress tramp printer who came out to California from South Dakota to find work.
He arrived in San Francisco in 1906 on the day of the Great San Francisco Earthquake, and soon after made his way to Los Angeles where he found work at Senegram Printers.
In 1912, he formed a partnership with letterpress printer, Frederick Young who emigrated to the states from England.
Their timing dovetailed nicely with the Los Angeles real estate boom and by 1919, they dominated the advertising field with many colorfully printed promotional materials. McCallister was a fine pressman, salesman and innovator.
He launched an in-house bindery and a separate screen printing department to meet the demands for colorful sign and poster printing.
In 1927 McCallister hired a young typographer and book designer, Grant Dahlstrom and pursued the printing of fine press books.
Their first book together, The History of Warner’s Ranch and Its Environs was chosen as one of AIGAs 50 best-designed books of 1927.
A second AIGA award was received for the design and printing of California Hills and Other Wood Engravings by Paul Landacre in 1931.