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.


Fig 16 (above): A newspaper printing works, 1877. Scan courtesy of ‘Ernst Wallis et al’.


Fig 17* (above): Men working at a printing press, proofing copy, inking, and setting type (c.1580).


Fig 18* (above): A letterpress printer at work at the printing press, with associated tools alongside. And there’s that dog again! (Date unknown).


Fig 19* (above): Intaglio printing taking place (left) with prints hanging up to dry (right). Date unknown.


Fig 20* (above): Engraving showing men operating the printing press and inking printing plates, with prints drying above. (Date unknown).

There are some amazing contraptions there showing incredible ingenuity. Some of the outfits are interesting too!

For rather more high-tech printing facilities and services, do get in touch with Firstpoint Print. We offer large format printing, litho printing and digital printing services. Firstpoint Print has 3 central London branches: Clerkenwell EC1, Victoria SW1 and London Bridge SE1 and offers its services to London, the South East, the UK and beyond. Firstpoint Print also, of course, has a full in-house design and artwork service which is particularly convenient for those customers who do not have their own graphics facility. Learn more on the main website.


Featured image at the top: Etching, by George W. Childs, of the press room of what was then the new Philadelphia Public Ledger Building, 1867.
* Author: Wellcome Library, London. Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.