Field Trip to The International Printing Museum


Last week our office took a long lunch and went on a field trip to the International Printing Museum in Carson, CA. Our jobs rely on computers and printers so why not gain some perspective of how it all began. Lucky for us, the museum is only 15 minutes away from our office! Sara, the museum manager, gave us a very insightful tour of the history of printing and the printing press.

Here are some fun facts we learned –

  1. The Chinese were the real inventors of printing, using a process called 'carved type printing'.
  2. It was not until hundreds of years later (1450) that 'printing' was introduced to Europe by Johannes Gutenberg and the printing press.
  3. Gutenberg's real claim to fame was the invention of mechanial moveable type, allowing customization and efficiency.
  4. The saying 'Knowledge is Power' comes from the church and wealthy class being the only ones who could own books and read. (Before the days of the printing press)
  5. A unique metal blend was used to create the type - a combination of lead, tin, and antimony.
  6. The printers and their apprentices were hated by the church because the church no longer had control over exactly what the bible said.
  7. The Columbus Press (the 1st United States Press) was not used in the United States because it was too expensive and heavy. It was introducted right after the American Revolution. However it was very popular in Britian.
  8. Presses were originally wooden until the Industrial Age when they could be constructed out of metal.
  9. Thomas Jefferson and Mark Twain were both printers.
  10. The museum has the largest collection of printing devices in the United States, making it a popular resource for Hollywood filmmakers.

Hopefully we can go back soon to try using the printing presses ourselves!

THE INTERNATIONAL PRINTING MUSEUM

315 W Torrance Blvd., Carosn, CA 90745

www.printmuseum.org