Historical images of printing works

Historical Printers & Printing, in Pictures (pt. 2)

Historical images of printing works

In part 2 of our pictorial look back at historical printing works, machinery, tools and the printers themselves, we now bring you the second batch of ten vintage illustrations. This time there is even a dog which appears twice – see if you can spot it. Of course if you missed the first ten, click here — they’re well worth a look and are a fascinating look into how the industry used to be.


Fig 11* (above): Believed to be a rotary lithographic printing machine, tended by workmen, some wearing paper hats (date unknown).


Fig 12 (above): Printers at work, circa 1770.
Scan courtesy of Daniel Chodowiecki.


Fig 13 (above): Engraving of a printing press by Heinrich Zeising and Hieronymus Megiser (1627). Photo courtesy of Wolfgang Sauber. Licensed via GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0.


Fig 14 (above): Printer, screw press & letterpress components – and, we think, a dog! (1613). Image by Hieronymus Megiser, scan courtesy of FotothekBot.


Fig 15 (above): Fresco of the first printing press opened in the Bavarian countryside, printing the first German book (1461). Image by Ferdinand Rothbarth. Scan courtesy of Mattes.
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Vintage print room

Historical Printers & Printing, in Pictures (pt. 1)

Vintage print room

In an unusual departure from our usual ’21st Century’ blog posts, we go back in time and take a pictorial look back at historical printing works and all the weird and wonderful pieces of machinery they used ‘way back when’. Many of the illustrations are woodcuts or engravings and depict workshops, people, tools, printing presses and outfits of the time— many from hundreds of years ago. There is even a steam-driven banknote printer and a multi-level 6-cylinder press which we find mind-boggling! We think the images are fascinating.

Here are the first ten illustrations – next month we’ll follow up with another ten so come back soon. Enjoy!


Fig 1 (above): Printers operating the press on the left and inking the type on the right.*


Fig 2 (above): A printer’s workshop (date unknown).*

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