Archive for December 7th, 2011

5 things I have learned at the National Print Museum

7 December 2011

By Lisa Griffith

I have just started a new job teaching Culture and Heritage Studies at the National Print Museum which is located in Beggar’s Bush Barracks on Haddington Road. I  have never worked at a museum before and it’s quite exciting to be able to integrate teaching into a museum but also to be able to practically teach students about printing while looking at the machines that produced such wonderful texts. I have a research interest in print culture, particularly the King’s Printer in the eighteenth century, but I had not thought too extensively about the machines themselves before coming to the museum. Here are five things that I have learned in my first four weeks about the museum and printing that I thought I would share with you.

1. Gutenberg’s press used the same idea and technology as a wine-press. Moveable type was not the wholly genius part to his creation. He used the model of the screw-type wine-press of the Rhine region to press the paper onto the inked up type. Perhaps we should all be drinking more wine in honour of this? We do not know exactly what Gutenburg’s first press looked like or even his exact method as there were constant alterations and improvements made to the process but the wine press idea was there from the start.

2. The next major innovation in the setting of type did not come along until over four hundred years later with the invention of the Linotype machine in 1884. Read more