Saturday, April 14, 2012

I learned something new ... or, perhaps, old

Behold the Colonial Williamsburg Printing Office and Post Office. Watching all the work that went into printing a newspaper back in the olden days was fascinating. Those dark round balls are rocks, wrapped in cloth and covered in leather. Mr. Printer Man dips them in ink and then rubs them evenly over the plates. Then he presses the paper onto the plate.

He told us that no one threw a newspaper out in those days, and certainly didn't share them. If you were lucky enough or wealthy enough to get a paper in the old days, you saved it and kept in your own archive. Books were even more labor intensive and therefore more rare.

Thomas Jefferson was a great lover of books and collected as many as he could find. When his family home burned down in the 1770s, it was the loss of books that upset him most. He set about amassing a new collection of books and was so proud of them, attached so much value to them, that he took the unusual step of getting two separate insurance policies -- one for Monticello and its contents, one solely for his personal library.

1 comment:

  1. I've never seen the printing process from Colonial times. Although I do teach about the significance and importance of the printed word.


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