From the Archives: The Printing Press

Last week, Alexandria Van Voris wrote about the STS 301: Technology and Culture class held in the Archives & Special Collections.  As part of that class each group set a line of type for our Collins Press.

Setting a line of type involves using a composing stick to assemble metal movable type into the line.  Students quickly picked up on the need to focus not only on selecting the correct letters, but also paying attention to the order and direction each letter was placed in the composing stick, and the spacing between each word.


Wilhei. Handsatz. Photograph. Wikimedia Commons. Wikipedia, 30 August 2009. Web. 22 October 2013.

This gave students the opportunity to experience how the majority of our printed material has been created.  After using both the printing press and the typewriters at different stations, students were quick to point out that the typewriter would not be as effective as a printing press at mass production.

The following week our printer-in-residence was kind enough to offer a demonstration of the printing press while printing the lines STS 301 had set.  Each group was given 5 minutes to set the line selected by Professor Amy Fisher, I can’t do that, Dave.


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