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A Visit to the Museum of Printing

Elizabeth Haven Hawley

Restored Columbian hand press, volunteer Tim Dunn at typewriter (Elizabeth Haven Hawley)

Museum of Printing ★ Haverhill, Massachusetts

 Frank Romano and a full staff at the Museum of Printing welcomed more than 40 people associated with “Good, Fast, Cheap: Printed Words & Images in America before 1900” for a post-conference tour on Sunday, October 8. Near the museum’s entry, an eagle-crested Columbian, resplendent with gold details and the lever-and-weight system that maximized the machine’s impression force, hinted at the equipment in the galleries. The contents did not disappoint!  [Read more]

Cylinders Alive!

Elizabeth Haven Hawley

1859 Hoe

The 1862 Hoe cylinder press at Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto. (Stephen Sword)


Stephen Sword: “Skills and Mechanization: The Transition from Hand Press to Cylinder” ¶ Jeff Pulaski: “After the Iron Press: The Grasshopper”

 1:30 pm saturday, october 24 ⋅  track 2

Technological change has no natural imperative, regardless of how logical such shifts might seem in hindsight. The time and place must provide a foothold, with securement facilitated rather than assured. Presentations by Stephen Sword and Jeff Pulaski conveyed a firm sense of the role of flesh-and-blood printers in the adoption of cylinder and country press designs in the nineteenth century.  [Read more]

Bringing Back the Old Ways

Elizabeth Haven Hawley


Position of the forme for the first pull, tympans and frisket omitted for clarity.


Richard Lawrence: “A New Wooden Press for Everyone to Try: The Dürer Press”  ¶ Stan Nelson: “Printer’s Ink Balls: Their History and Use” 

10:45 am saturday, october 24 ⋅ track 2

Alix Christie’s keynote lecture on her book Gutenberg’s Apprentice whet the appetite of conference attendees for clues about the mysteries of the master’s craft in its early years, and papers by Richard Lawrence and Stan Nelson did not disappoint. Their talks about the reconstruction of a historically accurate wooden press with wooden screw and the evolution of ink ball design offered superb details for those with a close interest in printing practices and experiential education. [Read more]

Twentieth-Century Paper in Circulation

Elizabeth Haven Hawley

Session IV, Panel 1. “Print paper ought to be as free as the air and water”: American Newspapers, Canadian Newsprint, and the Payne-Aldrich Tariff, 1909–1913,” presented by Geoffrey Little ¶ “Forest/ Trees/Paper /Documents: Proposals for Papermaking at the U.S. Government Printing Office,” presented by George Barnum.

Paper mill in Kapuskasing, Ontario, n.d. Library and Archives Canada.

This session brought together the serendipitous pairing of Geoffrey Little and George Barnum for a panel titled Twentieth-Century Paper in Circulation. Paper played a key role in debates over U.S. tariffs and the growth of the U.S. Government Printing Office (US GPO). Papermaking thus became an important point of engagement for working out tensions between robust cultural discourse, government publication and commercial opportunities for profit. The two well-researched presentations highlighted how manufacturers, politicians and government officials negotiated the meaning of papermaking in a capitalist republic with an increasingly strong central government. [Read more]