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Book Printing, The Hard Way

When Golden Krishna e-mailed me a few weeks ago submitting the ShamWow! piece I did what any global citizen would and I googled his name. Clicking through his web site I came across a great video Golden found of what printing looked like in 1947. I took the legally-audacious liberty of borrowing the video and making it more easily accessible here. So, if like me, you are curious about what printing was like before digital-to-plate technology, I recommend spending ten minutes watching the following video.

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
PUBLISHED ON Jun.13.2008 BY Armin
Raymond Prucher’s comment is:

Finally, something useful on the web;) Thanks for sharing, Armin. This is perfect for the classroom.

On Jun.14.2008 at 08:04 AM
Andy Malhan’s comment is:

Many (most) presses in India are doing a large part of the binding process manually - 60 years after you guys had automated it!

I just called my entire staff in to see this video and they were rapt with attention.

Thanks Armin, great post!

On Jun.14.2008 at 10:37 AM
craig malmrose’s comment is:

This was a wonderful trip back in time. Sixty years later, it still takes me weeks to do the same thing using Vandercooks and nipping presses.

I sent this to all of my students so they can be thankful they're working in the 21st century.

Got any more?

On Jun.15.2008 at 10:38 AM
Kevin M. Scarbrough’s comment is:


On Jun.15.2008 at 08:33 PM
Mark Notermann’s comment is:

Hey Craig, how about Frederic Goudy cutting some type ? (courtesy TypeCulture)

On Jun.16.2008 at 03:46 AM
Renée’s comment is:

Where's the contemporary counterpart for me to watch how it's done today?

On Jun.16.2008 at 11:48 AM
cielo’s comment is:

Wow! This footage is great!

On Jun.16.2008 at 01:38 PM
KOB’s comment is:

For a modern book production process diagram, see Funnel Inc.'s work for Webcrafters:
Link: Link


On Jun.16.2008 at 11:41 PM
Andrew J Klein’s comment is:

I'm sure some of my class will fall asleep, but there are watching this tonight!

On Jun.17.2008 at 02:51 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Of course, with all of this heavy machinery, there needs to be some imagery of smokestacks belching out coal soot... while the workers are taking a lunch break eating their peanut butter and asbestos sandwiches...

And yes, this was a time when men were men, and women were... girls. :\

Snarky comments aside, this little movie shows how much phototypesetting and then the personal computer have radically changed our profession.

It would be cool to see how old-school color separations and printing were done, and yes the lost craft of stripping.

On Jun.18.2008 at 07:38 PM
Héctor Muñoz’s comment is:


On Jun.19.2008 at 01:46 AM
B.McGuigan’s comment is:

I love that it's produced by Encyclopedia Britannica Films. I remember those guys coming to my door to hock the books.

On Jun.21.2008 at 04:30 PM
Lorenzo’s comment is:

WOW! This is great!

On Jun.23.2008 at 03:04 PM
Tom Biederbeck’s comment is:

Awesome ... think I saw this on a rainy day in grade school. But there's something wrong from the opening words: "This man is an author." Clearly, he is not an author. He doesn't appear drunk, & there are no signs of anguish in his carriage.

On Jul.24.2008 at 06:18 PM
johno’s comment is:

What a wonderful find. Absolutely brilliant to see the Linotype at work.

On Jul.24.2008 at 08:15 PM
molly’s comment is:

A. How did we ever get so many books?!?
B. How can you not have the utmost respect for books after seeing this process. Unbelievable.

On Sep.20.2008 at 09:16 PM
Golden’s comment is:

Looks like Vimeo pulled the video! Don't worry,
click here for a simple page to view the video
on my updated portfolio site. Also, I Love Typography was a few months behind the trend, but posted their own find from, oddly, also 1947.

On Feb.14.2009 at 05:38 AM