Saturday, January 16, 2010

Letterpress Printing, Metal Type and Amateur Journalism

I haven't talked about printing and presses here yet, but one of my hobbies is letterpress printing. I'm not talking about it right now because my press is inaccessible in the garage, and until I get it set up to use, I won't be able to have much to say.

However, you can learn more from several of the links in my sidebar under "Other Sites of Interest", and also by reading a couple of on-line publications:
The Metal Type Newsletter and The APA Journal

The work is soothing, precise, and solid. The results are permanent, lasting, memorable.

This stuff is heavy equipment for people who never dreamed they could be smitten with a machine. But oh what beautiful machines they are, and their contribution to our world is incalculable.

If you don't have a printing press, but still prefer the permanence of hard copies of your writing, the AAPA might be for you. The American Amateur Press Association is an organization that furthers independent amateur journalism. Its members may be writers, poets, artists, printers, or publishers. All produce works in small editions: some photocopied, some mimeographed, some printed on a computer printer and some set in type and printed letterpress on an old hand-pulled Kelsey - some even produce pdf files suitable for end-user printing. These works are gathered together each month in bundles and sent out to each member, all across the USA and to some foreign lands.

Organizations like the APA and the AAPA were the precursor to blogs. Then as now, ordinary people needed a way to share their writing and thoughts with the wider world, and such organizations (there are others as well still in operation) filled that need quite nicely.

I love the internet and it is a blessing to all of us, but there will always be a need for the printed word. Each has its place and it is all good.

*The photo is of an etched copper plate, bearing a Thomas Carlyle quote "May Blessings be upon the Head of Cadmus, The Phoenicians, or Whoever It Was that Invented Books."


  1. That etched copper plate is truly beautiful. Joann

  2. Thanks Joann! I can't remember now where I got that (at a sale somewhere I am sure). It was made for decorative purposes and is not one of the copper plates used for printing, as it reads "properly". Those used for printing always have the writing backwards.

    I keep thinking that copper is coming back in style but it is taking its own sweet time getting there!



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