Printing Press

Happy Fourth of July!

For the first time in American history, I made my way 3 hours north from New York City by bus to visit Boston. With zero expectations to cloud my mind, I was delighted by the walk through colonial America via the city’s historic Freedom Trail; a route entirely embedded in the pavement throughout the city, hitting the most iconic landmarks of what remains from the birth of The United State of America.

Near Old North Church, where lanterns were hung as a signal to Paul Revere on the night of his ride, lies The Printing Offices of Edes and Gill. It’s here, where you can see a live demonstration of how a printing press works. Gary Gregory, the printmaster, produces copies of The Declaration of Independence, the same kind that were produced in Philadelphia in order to distribute throughout the then 13 states after it was officially signed.

Behind the printing press you’ll see a case which houses all the letters for type, that are arranged, not alphabetically, but by popularity; the most popular being in the center. This case is also the source of our terms ‘uppercase’ and ‘lowercase’. The uppercase letters having been stored in the top case and the lowercase letters in the bottom. The printer would set the type without looking at the letters, trusting that the apprentice placed them correctly and feeling for a nick, which allowed him to place correctly into the form; upside and backwards.     

Behind the printing press you’ll see a case which houses all the letters for type, that are arranged, not alphabetically, but by popularity; the most popular being in the center. This case is also the source of our terms ‘uppercase’ and ‘lowercase’. The uppercase letters having been stored in the top case and the lowercase letters in the bottom. The printer would set the type without looking at the letters, trusting that the apprentice placed them correctly and feeling for a nick, which allowed him to place correctly into the form; upside and backwards.

 

Boston made the announcement to the public on July 18th, from the east balcony of the Old State House; the oldest remaining public building in the city, a backdrop for the Boston Massacre.

Watch a demonstration of Gary Gregory's work HERE