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entry #9: Museum of Printing History

This post is dedicated to the little Houston gem that is the Museum of Printing History. I had low expectations walking into this quiet building, but was quickly blown away by the variety of presses, letter type and historic newspapers. I remember that I spent the first 5 years of my career working in the printing industry. It’s a hard place to work—the ink fumes and the papercuts blinded my eyes from my original passion for paper.

There is something very sensual about a letterpress and a stack of soft paper. The old  presses were ornately decorated with curvy lines.  I could sense the 80-year-old sweat of the typesetters who would set each letter one at a time.

The museum is more than an exhibit. It offers workshops in so many different types of printing, woodcut, letterpress, lithography, paper making, silkscreen, book binding and more. Their extensive collection of technology included one of the first copy machines from 1959. The Xerox 914 was the first successful commercial plain paper copier. It could make 136 copies per hour, the only problem was it tended to catch fire when overheated. So, Xerox provided a small fire extinguisher along with the copier.

If you find yourself in Houston, with a few hours left in a humid afternoon; wander on down to the Museum of Printing History and share my love of paper & ink.

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