Yesterday I had the privilege of seeing 1900 printing presses in action at a Victorian Street full of shops in Shropshire. All workers were dressed in costume of the period plus you had the opportunity to change current money into cash of the day at the local bank so you could spend ‘old’ coins in the shops used during the Victorian era.
We took a ride aboard a horse drawn carriage to explore the site so that we could decide in the time we were there what shops to visit. For instance, my OT wanted to see the foundry and blacksmith. For 50p ‘future money’, we had a very bumpy, but fun experience as the wooden wheels of the carriage slid occasionally on the gravel and the lack of shock absorbers was clearly evident!
The printer supplies printed paper bags for all the shops from the bakery to the pharmacy, sweet shop and post office.
The worker of the presses gave me demonstrations on the various machines he had around his workshop including a ‘chopper’ which in its time produced 1600 impressions an hour! Judging by his demo, this would have been dangerous work if you imagine twelve-year-old employees being let loose on the machines.
He explained to a small group of children that they would have had to pass a reading test and showed some fun texts to test their ability of reading including trying to read the message on this print setting plate:
Can you read what it says?
Another test was to see how good their grammar was:
which one is correct:
a) The yolks of the eggs is white
b) The yolks of the eggs are white
The adults watching were amused when none of the children picked up on the fact that yolks are yellow because they were looking for the grammar error (is/are).
Another test he gave them (which I’ve seen done before as a teacher) was a coloured chart of colour words.
The word would show as RED but the lettering would be in YELLOW. An example of this can be found listed as ‘words optical illusion’ at http://funeyetest.com/words-optical-illusion/
The visit to the 1900s printers and a lino studio set in a place called ‘Jackfield’ or ‘Jacquesfield’ (which I found amusing as my name is Jacques!) has urged me on to get a studio sorted out, but for now, I’m using a side yard – which is better than nothing.
Now back to sorting out my printing space to do some gelli-printing 🙂