Aad Steg-nik vs. Frank Johnson.

Picture Courtesy of Barry O’Donnell: When asked by Grant Hofmeyer for a photo of Aad Stegink, this was the best I could do. Aad is the man arrowed towards the back of the pack. Frank Johnson is the man with the suit and arrow in the front of the machine room staff
During 1974 it became evident that even though the new plant at Netley was designed as a letterpress printing facility, photo litho. would be an emerging printing format.  Wise minds in the South Australian Government had determined that.
Government Printing would co-locate with Lands Mapping at the Netley complex, giving us two Government Printers for a few months.
Aad Stegink arranged with Lands Mapping to do a secondment to the machine area to learn about the offset/litho. printing process until the move to Netley,
Frank Johnson (Machine Room Overseer) only found out about this from the Government Photo-Lithographer.
Frank  Johnson was never very good with remembering staff names and loudly announced to the Machine Room in general,
‘How did Steg-nik arrange a stunt like this?’ 
The rest of the story is history as letterpress was squeezed into a corner with only Ray Belt and John Fletcher running a few machines.

Joseph Moxon, Royal Mapper and Printer, 1627-1691.


Joseph Moxon (8 August 1627 – February 1691), hydrographer (mapper of oceans)  to Charles II, was an English printer of mathematical books and maps, a maker of globes and mathematical instruments, and mathematical lexicographer.
He produced the first English language dictionary devoted to mathematics.
In November 1678, he became the first tradesman to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Between the ages of around 9 and 11, Moxon accompanied his father, James Moxon, to Delft and Rotterdam where he was printing English Bibles.
It was at this time that Moxon learned the basics of printing.
After the First English Civil War the family returned to London and Moxon and his older brother, James, started a printing business which specialized in the publication of Puritan texts, with the notable exception of A Book of Drawing, Limning, Washing or Colouring of Mapps and Prints of 1647 which was produced for Thomas Jenner, a seller of maps.
In 1652, Moxon visited Amsterdam and commissioned the engraving of globe-printing plates, and by the end of the year was selling large celestial and terrestrial globes in a new business venture.
He specialized in the printing of maps and charts, and in the production of globes, and mathematical instruments made of paper.
In January 1662, he was appointed hydrographer to the King, despite his Puritan background.
His shop at this time was on Ludgate Hill ; afterwards, in 1683, it was ‘on the west side of Fleet Ditch,’ but always ‘at the sign of Atlas.’
Moxon’s 1683 book, Mechanick Exercises, provides descriptions of contemporary printing methods that have proved useful for bibliographers.
via Joseph Moxon – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Peterborough Printing Works Museum.

Peter Plowman and I have returned from yet another visit to the Printing Works at Peterborough.
After that visit it is worth making some observations and constructive suggestions about this valuable resource in the historic town of Peterborough..
There are a few things that still mystify me about the Compliance Rules that cover the running of the Museum Project.
The first is that nothing in the production area should be touched and  be left exactly as it was on the day that the owner left in circa 2000.
Considering that the gentleman who owned the Print Shop was not well at the time and just shut the doors and walked away from his business suggests that the plant was not properly operating when he left.
When you take a hard look at the composing room it all becomes obvious.
There are galley racks full of ‘standing matter’ in an appalling state.
But in the midst of the dust and scattered pieces of lead and wood there is a treasure and it’s the high quality Foundry Type that in the normal course of events would have been ‘dissed’ (distributed) back into their wooden typecases.
This was a normal procedure in the housekeeping of the Composing Room.
Likewise, Peter Plowman has spent many hours cleaning the guillotine and removing 17 years of grime, oil and dust. Peter has also attempted to bring the Heidelberg Letterpress Cylinder up to scratch.
Seriously, the policy of “Hands Off” does not make any sense at all and in the long run will damage the site’s tourist potential for Peterborough.
Both Peter and I hope the Management Committee will review their “hands off” policy and come up with a more practical and workable management plan.
Rod Parham, former State Secretary of  the Printing Union in South Australia.

Wooden Type, beautiful and never out of Fashion.

8325515017_830100991b_bContent Courtesy of Professor David Shields of the Rob Roy Kelly Collection, University of Texas Austin.
Wood has been used for letterforms and illustrations dating back to the first known Chinese wood block print from 868 CE.
The forerunner of the block print in China was the wooden stamp.
The image on these stamps was most often that of the Buddha, and was quite small. Provided with handles to facilitate their use, they were not unlike the modern rubber-stamps of today.
In Europe, large letters used in printing were carved out of wood because large metal type had a tendency to develop uneven surfaces, or crack, as it cooled.
In America, with the expansion of the commercial printing industry in the first years of the 19th century, it was inevitable that someone would perfect a process for cheaply producing the large letters so in demand for broadsides.
Wood was the logical material because of its lightness, availability, and known printing qualities.

Mass Production
Darius Wells of New York invented the means for mass producing letters in 1827, and published the first known wood type catalog in 1828. In the preface to his first wood type catalog, Wells outlined the advantages of wood type.
Wood type was half the cost of metal type, and when prepared by machine it had smooth, even surfaces, where the possibility of unequal cooling caused large lead type to distort.
Up until that time, the usual procedure was to draw the letter on wood, or paper which was pasted to the wood, and then cut around the letter with a knife or graver, gouging out the parts to be left blank.
Wells, however, introduced a basic invention, the lateral router, that allowed for greater control when cutting type and decreased the time it took to cut each letter.
In 1834, William Leavenworth made his contribution to the wood type industry with the introduction of the pantograph to the manufacturing process.
He adapted the pantograph to the Wells router, and the combination formed the basic machinery required for making wood type on a production basis.
via What Is Wood Type? – Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum.

Early Printing in St Albans, Hertfordshire circa 1479.

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
via First Impressions | St Albans.

The ever Reliable Chandler & Price Letterpress

In 1881 Cleveland, Ohio, USA was a major industrial center and home to a fledgling company run by Harrison T. Chandler and William H. Price.
Like other printing equipment makers of the day, the Chandler & Price ‘old series’ letterpress was based on the Gordon Jobber design whose patent had expired. Unlike the others though, a C&P press was truly built to last.
It became the pressman’s favorite and the 3/4 ton beauties were soon found in print shops across the nation.
With most of their competition eliminated, the improved C&P New Series letterpress range was introduced in 1911.
For the next 50 years, society and business was fueled by literature produced on C&P machines. By the mid 20th Century, with the rise of offset lithography, letterpress printing became a thing of the past. Chandler & Price made their last press and closed in 1964.
Computer imaging transformed the graphic arts industry even further beyond recognition from the 1970s through the new millennium.
Some letterpress machines were kept in operation by a handful of traditional craftsmen. Commercial printers also used them for scoring, perforating, numbering and die-cutting. Most presses that were not sold for scrap sat unused collecting rust and dust caused by the new digital era.
Today, a revival is taking place. With sturdy trucks and sturdier backs letterpress machines of all descriptions are being salvaged, saved and restored by hardcore creative individuals everywhere.
via Introducing the Chandler & Price Letterpress – Chandler & Price.