Firefly Press

At my high school, we had a small, old-fashioned printing press. I was allowed to use it once – but under careful supervision, because it was deadly.

It had a big flywheel which was gradually spun up to speed by a treadle, and which regulated the rhythm of the ink rollers picking up the ink, rolling it over the type, and the type coming up and being pressed onto the paper. You had to put the successive sheets of paper in by hand, but you didn’t want to leave your hand there too long because the flywheel had a lot of momentum, and it wouldn’t have stopped simply because there was a hand between the type and the paper…

But I loved it, and that brief half-hour experience made quite an impression on me, fortunately only metaphorically!

So I loved this 6-minute documentary about a small press in Massachusetts, which celebrates all aspects of printing the old-fashioned way.

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© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser