printing history

Cool Piece of Printing History

Cool Piece of Printing History

From the Ministry of Type With the wealth of information we find online, it can seem like there's very little to be had from other sources. But every once in a while, I'm reminded that print is still replete with more words, wisdom, and history than we can yet uncover on the internet. Such a reminder came today in the form of a post on “The Romance of Printing” from the equally romantically titled, Ministry of Type. Blogger and all around good thinker Aegir Hallmundur brought my attention to a great old print proto-net titled The Wonderland of Knowledge. From The Wonderland of Knowledge, Aegir scanned a no less than 23-page-long survey of printing history and techniques. Check it out, and check out these great excerpts from the 1930s publication: “For many thousands of years every book that was produced had to be written by a scribe. Then, at last, someone thought of using type, and so changed the world.” […]

Greatest Printing Video Ever

Greatest Printing Video Ever

Those machines are beasts! Ever wonder what the printing industry was like in the U.S. waaaaaaaay back in the day? It was pretty different, as this 1947 video from the Internet Archive shows: Just because so much of this is pure gold, I had to compile a list of the ten best lines in the video: 1. “By means of printing, the fund of knowledge accumulated by man through the ages is available to everyone, rich and poor alike. Printing is essential to education. All the other arts rely on it.” (Boo-ya!) 2. “Printing now ranks fourth among the nation's great industries.” (Oh, for the glory days!) 3. “Hand compositors usually set the large type, called display lines, used in advertisements and other printed matter. Hand composition offers opportunities for artistic expression. Compositors who have the ability to create original ideas are highly paid craftsmen.” (Once there was almost no division between printing and design.) 4. “Large plants employ persons, […]

A Moment in Union Printing History

A Moment in Union Printing History

The first in a series of explorations into the history of great printing and print design. What comes to mind when I say “Rosie the Riveter?” Either an image has instantly popped into your head, or you have no idea what I'm talking about. If you're in this second group, don't worry about it, because one of the most famous pieces of full color printing in history isn't famous because of its name. It's famous for what it represents. “Rosie the Riveter,” to jog those brain grapes for you, is also known as the “We Can Do It” poster. This iconic image was painted by J. Howard Miller during World War II. It represented the role of women in the war effort, more than six million of whom left their domestic kingdoms to take jobs in factories and munitions plants while their men were at war. This image was replicated on full color printing of all types, from posters and […]

Voting Trials and Paper Trails

Voting Trials and Paper Trails

Efforts to eliminate ballot printing from the voting process fall flat. Why? Because all legitimate business and government dealings need a paper trail. There's something special about paper, and I'm not saying that just because I work in the printing industry. Paper proves things, it makes contracts legitimate, and in a world of ever-shifting digitized information, it can be an anchor, just as it was when it was first invented and it played a major role in anchoring the human mind to the written word. The other day, I was getting my car insured, and I was amazed by the amount of paperwork still involved. My insurance agent laughed at my surprise and told me that since they've started doing everything on computers, the amount of paperwork has only grown. This got me thinking about how we can possibly hold legitimate federal elections using only digital information. If that was really a foolproof medium, couldn't we all just vote online? […]

Low Cost Printing is a Cornerstone of Democracy

Low Cost Printing is a Cornerstone of Democracy

The creation of liberal democracy as we know it today is, at least in part, a result of the invention and spread of printing. As such, we may consider printing to be – by it's very nature – a tool of the democratic system. Last week, my colleague Ms. Stewart brought up the topic of using the power of low cost printing to advertise voter support of the current election race. She called this, I believe, “the future of democracy.” As usual, my colleague has brought up an interesting topic while failing to delve into its complexities in such as way as to drive home “the point,” as it were. Admittedly, Ms. Stewart's writings are more often than not muddied by her uncomplicated enthusiasm for our printing services. I can hardly fault her on this enthusiasm, but I am inclined to temper it with my own appreciation for the depth and history of the subject at hand. Which is to […]

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