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Printing History 25 Coming Soon

Left: Sample cover for a Bible, which would have been carried by a book agent to give customers a sense of their options when purchasing a bespoke Bible. (Zinman Collection of Canvassing Books at the University of Pennsylvania) Right: An idealized engraving of the work of the Bible Society in disseminating scripture, by Asher Brown Durand (1796–1886). (New York Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Printing History 25, produced by the team of Brooke Palmieri, editor; Michael Russem, publication designer; and Katherine Ruffin, Vice-President for Publications, is being mailed to APHA members this week.  [Read more]

Life on Mars?

Zoe Webb

Thomas Bewick, “Cameleopard” block from A General History of Quadrupeds, eighth edition, 1824. (Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah)

Friday, October 26. “Imperfect Iterations: Duplicate Iconography in Wood Engraving Blocks,” Todd Samuelson ✧ “Postage Stamps on Handmade Paper: An Early Collaboration of Function & Necessity,” Robert Cagna   ✧ “Resisting Paradise: The Craftsman Press Archive,” Sonia Farmer 

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ISO: Dyed Edges of Vintage Paperbacks

From the Contact form:

I’ve noticed that quite a few mass-market paperbacks, generally printed in the 1950s-’80s, have dyed page-edges, e.g. red, blue, yellow, and maybe green coloration. Do you know what chemicals were used in these dyes, and whether any of them are toxic and present a handling issue?

Jeremiah Goertz

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ISO: Ball (?) Printing Co., NYC ca, 1920s-30s

Via the Contact form:

I found this group photo that includes my grandfather (front row, second from the right). I know that he worked for a printer in New York in the 1920s and 30s. They have a sign in front of them that is too washed out to read except for the word “Ball” and a graphic, possibly a union bug. Was there a Ball Printing Company in NYC in the 1920s? —Sarah Bringmann

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ISO: Hektograph

From the Contact form:

My husband and I have an antique Hektograph from the 1880s. I believe it is a dry copy press? The only things I’ve gathered from it are that it’s made by the Hektograph Mfg. Co., the inventors (Rudolf Husak and Vincent Kwaysser from Austria) were the first the receive the US patent for it when it was first made. I was hoping to understand more about this specific Hektograph itself, the inventors and company. Thank you!   Athena Kabana

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ISO: Use of Color in Farm Publications

Form the Contact form:

I’m writing a history of the use of photos in American farm publications. I’m trying to pin down when the first editorial and advertising COLOR photos appeared in a farm publication. Any idea where I might go to research this question?  

Jim Patrico

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ISO: Stereotyping at NYT

From the Contact form:

I’m writing a dissertation on newspaper buildings, using the NY Times as an example, and had a quick question about presses. The New York Times had a Hoe’s lightening press when they started in 1851. Would they have used the stereotyping process at this time? If not, when did that start? The first time they mention it being done was in their 1889 building, but I think it was done long before that.
Thank you so much,

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ISO: History of Legally Binding Printing Methods

From the Contact form:

I am working on a research project and I was curious about the history surrounding impact print. I remember there being a debate at one time as to whether or not non-impact print such as ink jet was considered legally binding, and for a time only impact print such as from a typewriter was considered legally binding due on immutability. I cannot find any information about this online and would be very happy if you could help shed some light.

Spencer Allen

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ISO: Poster Production Methods

From the Contact form:

I am curious how a poster was reproduced in the early half of the 20th century. Specifically, how was the winning poster of a contest reproduced? My best guess is lithography, but exactly how did they get the original artwork to a reproducible form. Did the artist or other craftsperson recreate it on the stone or was there a means of transferring original work? Or was there another process entirely?

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ISO: Development of Music Notation

From the Contact form:

Is there any written or known history on the influence of the printing press and standardizing the look/shape of the symbols used in music notation and the criteria used?

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