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History of The Printing-press (502).- "I am preparing a work about journalism and wish to ask if you can tell me where I can obtain a brief history of the printing-press from early years up to the present age." Answer.- In the year 1902 Robert Hoe, of New York city, published a short history of the printing-press and of the improvements in printing machinery, from the time of Gutenberg to the present day, which will assist you in your work.
-The Inland Printer, Volume 44
An excerpt from the beginning of the book:
ABOUT the year 1450, Gutenberg was engaged in printing his first book from movable types. No method of taking A m. the impressions simpler than that employed by him can be imagined, unless it be with a "buffer," or by means of a brush rubbed over the paper laid upon the "form" of type, after the manner of the Chinese in printing from engraved blocks. His printing press consisted of two upright timbers, with cross pieces of wood to stay them together at the top and bottom. There were also intermediate cross timbers, one of which supported the flat "bed" upon which the type was placed, and through another a wooden screw passed, its lower point resting on the centre of a wooden "platen," which was thus screwed down upon the type. After inking the form with a ball of leather stuffed with wool, the printer spread the paper over it, laying a piece of blanket upon the paper to soften the impression of the platen and remove inequalities. This was the machine which Gutenberg used. The mechanical principle embodied in it was found in the old cheese and linen presses ordinarily seen in the houses of medieval times.
Were Gutenberg called upon to print his Bible to-day he would find virtually the same type ready for his purpose as that made by him, no change having taken place in its general conformation; but he would be bewildered in the maze of printing machinery of the beginning of the twentieth century.
The simple form of wooden press, worked with a screw by means of a movable' bar, continued in use for about one hundred and fifty years, or until the early part of the seventeenth century, without any material change. The forms of type were placed upon the same wooden and sometimes stone beds, incased in frames called "coffins," moved in and out laboriously by hand, and after each impression the platen had to be screwed up with the bar so that the paper which had been printed upon it might be removed and hung up to dry.
The first recorded improvements in this press were made by William Jensen Blaew, a printer of Amsterdam, some time about 1620. They consisted in passing the spindle of the screw through a square block which was guided in the wooden frame, and from this block the platen was suspended by wires or cords; the block, or box, preventing any twist in the platen, and insuring a more equal motion to the screw. He also placed a device upon the press for rolling in and out the bed, and added a new form of iron hand lever for turning the screw. Blaew's press was introduced into England, and used there as well as on the continent, being substantially the same as that Benjamin Franklin worked upon as a journeyman in London, early in the last century.
'Hand Art' is about everything you can make with hand tracings: dragons, frogs, dogs, aliens, ducks, cats, monsters, skunks, peacocks, people and, yes, turkeys. Since every creature needs essential details, we included essential-detail-makers: googly eyes, glue, pompoms and crayons. The book itself is crammed with handfuls of inspiration and handy ideas developed by our staff of art experts, kindergarteners all.
Klutz was incorporated in 1977 in Palo Alto, California, by three friends from Stanford University. They began by selling sidewalk juggling lessons along with a trio of no-bounce bean bags. A week's effort earned the group $35. 'It was then we realized the sky was the limit.'
John Cassidy, the English major of the group, put the instructions in book form and titled it Juggling for the Complete Klutz. Darrell Lorentzen, the business major, wrote up the original business plan and the other partner, B.C. Rimbeaux, was assigned the task of getting a bank loan. Mr. Rimbeaux was a psychology major.
The first 3,000 books were distributed via bicycle and backpack, and sales grew from there. 'It really was a failed scam,' explains Cassidy, who remains the creative force of the company. 'Our dream was to do a book on juggling, sell a bazillion in a couple of days, buy an island and retire. It didn't work out. After a year of steady, unspectacular sales, we found ourselves staring down the barrel of a career.'
Today, how-to books from Klutz come packaged with the tools of their trade (from juggling cubes to face paints to yo-yos), and are designed for doing, not just reading. 'We think people learn best through their hands, nose, feet, mouth and ears. Then their eyes. So we design multi-sensory books,' Cassidy says. The appeal of this hands-on approach is borne out by sales figures; Klutz is a fixture on U.S. book and toy bestseller lists, and is available in 24 countries around the world.
Having expanded the offerings to include Klutz Toys, Klutz Kits, Klutz Buckets, Klutz Guides and, in 2001, an educational product line, Cassidy seems to have an unlimited supply of ideas. The inspiration? 'I marinate myself in children,' he says. 'Some years ago, I created a few. With the help of my wife' (Nancy Cassidy, the voice behind the gold-record-winning KidsSongs recordings).
In 2002, Scholastic Inc., the largest children's book publisher and distributor in the world, acquired Klutz. For those of you who collect corporate mission statements, here's the Klutz credo: Create wonderful things, be good, have fun.
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