subject of education

something on my mind. im 40. non graduate , printing in the 80’s and 90’s.printing to me was a quick trade school, my brother did it and i followed. being around alot of printers we re not the brightest bunch, ive seen alot and that statement is true to the 80 90 00, but physically i’m a genius with ink ,color ,insane for straightness,allignment, physical attributes to printing,and a love for letterpress now. is there common ground between the educated, maybe english students who fell into this trade, which some would consider a ruff and tuff business (crappy) and the laborer. as i still see some uneducated carrying this industry and seen one die in a shop where he lived rip charlie brown sj. i also try to enshrine people like john repetto, charlie brown, allan stump ,bob green montague spragens, ltr press only jeronimo s litho , just habitual from a city. how do educated respond to the non, and i did not have to be this honest, it took courage, just answer , the, to the, and non thanks turkish

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As with many trades, education is not particularly important in printing itself. Training is key. If you are good at working with and troubleshooting the machines then you know what you need.

In my opinion a lack of education would be a major hinderance in specific jobs related to printing, namely composing and proof-reading. Of course it would be beneficial for everybody in the print shop to be educated for the sake of the finished product (in regards to spelling and punctuation).

Hi piker2r,

It seems to me that the big difference between letterpress printing today and back-in-the-day is that today most printers — certainly all hobby printers and probably many commercial printers — do everything themselves. They design and compose what they print, choose and source their own materials, perform every aspect of getting ink onto paper, restore and repair their own equipment, and — if they sell their work — do all of the business planning, marketing, and accounting. Many get sidetracked, in a good way, by learning about the characteristics of ink and paper, the finer points of typography, and every aspect of the history of the printed word. All this amounts to education, and I say “amounts to” because I expect that most of it is self-taught.

As one of these modern-day letterpress printers, I am in awe of practitioners from the past who earned a living wage by being a part of this civilization-changing industry. I have the greatest respect for people who developed the finest skills in creating the beautiful physical attributes of a printed page and who came to love printing by doing it for a living. Honestly, sometimes I weep when I leaf through the 1923 ATF catalogue. I feel honored just to touch the pages these people created.

Of course, the ATF catalogue is not a daily newspaper, and, for every genius with ink and color who still loves printing many years later, there is more than one hourly worker whose real interests are pursued after quitting time or whenever the boss isn’t looking. But that’s the same in any industry. There’s more than one way to enjoy your job. It takes all kinds to keep things going, and if someone manages to stay employed the length of a career, then he is no doubt doing his job no matter how “uneducated” or ruff-and-tuff he is. I am deeply grateful to him!


On the subject of education, go back and revisit what you missed about using the shift key, upper-case characters, and maybe things won’t seem so rough and tough.

If this is your “style” it defeats the basic premise of clear communication.

Foolproof546- Ouch! That was a bit harsh.

You brought up some interesting points, piker2r. I agree with Barbara that this industry has people who are masters of the art and craft, and those who just see it as a job that they dread going to. It is exciting and interesting to see older equipment re-purposed by those who are highly skilled craftspeople and artists.

Yes, probably a bit harsh, but I generally call ‘em like I see ‘em. Hopefully this absolutely dreadful style is only a passing fashion or fancy that will soon fade away. I am sure that I am not a lone voice in the wilderness on this issue. The only thing that is certain is change, but the pendulum does swing in both directions. There are classic styles that stand the test of time, and this surely will not be one of them.

On the subject of education, the best learning is not necessarily obtained from a formal structured institutional setting but instead may be obtained through observation, experience, curiosity, practice, etc. One’s entire life can be an ongoing education.

There are many printers and artisans out there with an absolute mastery of their craft that have picked it up and developed it mainly on their own. Learning as much as possible from various sources is extremely valuable, but there is also an internal desire, love, talent or whatever you might want to call it that plays the most crucial part.

and sir you earned your living in this field, because i d find it hard to believe. you d spend to much time talking as to what you like to do apose to production. i had to read you statement three times to understand. i would just say there is a large variance between some stuffy people and punctuation(shift) who print and some ignorant people who print and seeing it in this place at times bothers me!

As dad taught me years ago…”Never engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed person.” ‘Nuf said, let’s close it!!! Piker2r must be someone joking. He can’t be for real.

Foolproof, if you are going to go on about appropriate punctuation and usage then you should see to your apostrophes pointing the right way. I am of course referring to the “ ‘em ”, which should read “ ’em ”. Perhaps you are too ignorant to ensure that apostrophes are used correctly. We all have our flaws, and I—for one—do not subscribe to the belief that anything is improved by disparaging another.

No matter how poorly one can communicate in written form they should still be treated with some degree of respect.

I cannot say that I have viewed his work, but I can say that I have met the man. Piker2r is a man with a passion for letterpress printing, despite his lack of formal education. He was asking an honest question and there is no room for that denigratory tone in civilized discourse.

Mea culpa. I am certainly not even in the same zip code as flawless, and don’t ever think that I have been referred to as “stuffy” before. I’ll have to add that to the list. I do care passionately about type and letterpress printing and certain basic standards. I guess I’ll have to apologize that I don’t have the computer savvy to turn ’ into the proper apostrophe, it is simply the key that I press on my PC keyboard.

In this present day and age when communication should be thriving more than any other time in history, I fail to see the humor in reducing it to what appears to be the lowest common denominator. Is it laziness? Is it cuteness? I don’t know, but it looks like jibberish to me.

this is not a fight and i didn t bring that up. just the correctiveness, yes seems stuffy. allow people to talk w/o feeling below, is that to much or will this always be school in session

piker2r -

BINGO! That is the point! TALK! But please use a language (style?) that is - dare I say - normal. If you were actually speaking, I would expect sounds I could comprehend and understand. Your visual language (style) appears synonymous to talking with a mouth full of marbles.

i guess your still fighting. i gave it up . yelling and evrything. mad about punctuation

Sounds like you’ve got skills and have paid your dues. Some people confuse being a printer with being a proof reader or editor. Keep up the good work! Illegitimi non carborundum!

Hi Richard,

I guess you’ve got one answer, but there are others. Hopefully, you won’t take Foolproof546 too seriously. He doesn’t speak for me.

It’s hard sometimes… I write pretty well, but I’ve also been practicing for many years. Still, I don’t know how to write about alignment or color. I don’t think anyone does. It’s the sort of thing someone has to show you, in person, probably over a period of years.

Maybe next time I get to California (September?), we can get together and you can show me around y’all’s shop. I’d love to see it all.



If you look carefully at your keyboard, there are three varieties of quote mark. Two of them, the double quote, “, and the apostrophe or closing single quote, ‘, usually share the same key in the lower right of the keyboard.

There’s also a third form, `, an opening single quote. Usually it’s in the upper left of your keyboard.

You don’t need to do anything special to provoke one or the other - just type the correct one.

Here’s an example:

He said: “Preston’s head’s too `fat’.”


If one is posting from the BriarPress website, there is no user control over apostrophes or many other typographic details. The formatting is done by the website software, including the orientation of the apostrophes, which on the keyboard are “prime” marks. It takes software to turn them into true apostrophes.
What preston takes for an opening quote is actually a grave accent. Typographically, a grave mistake.

Ah, I see, thanks. Playing a bit with the “preview comment” button, I learn all sorts of things, though I’m still not sure how to provoke “call ‘em like I see ‘em” in the desired way.

Using backslash-apostrophe yields “call 'em like I see 'em” which is close, but not right.

Computer people say RTFM. Is there a manual somewhere? Ah, I see that I can embed HTML. Well, some HTML. So back to my question: Is there a manual somewhere?


On a mac, the user is able to define (feet) ’ (inch) ” (quotes left and right) ” “ (single quote/apostrophe left and right ) ’ ‘ from the comfort of a keyboard, however a grave accent does not work in this post and is accomplished through the following… Press Option + ` (the key to the left of the 1 key), and then press the letter you want accented.

Let’s see if this formatting is retained when I hit “post comment”



Or you could try composing things in your familiar word processor and copying them into the comment box …

’nuf said.


this was meant to ease the corrective nature of some. i’ve had several convesations with people who have said , man the people on briar at times can be tuff and critical. ease some of the nit picking. barb thanks for being nice as i know you voice alot and preston look forward to it,and rmg. i put forth an honest opinion of myself (half dumb as a rock, verbal command ) to enlighten some to who might be on the other end, maybe we can doaway with some bickering. wished id stayed quiet, but that ain t me

In general this site seems to help people with the nuts and bolts of letterpress printing and does a fine job of it. I am not a graphic designer or a copywriter but I can spot most spelling errors on a press sheet. Historically many press operators had limited education but the job for them was to keep the press running with the correct ink flow and registration. In the days when letterpress was king there were many different job titles and resposibilities and that distibution of labour made it all work. In closing do your best at what your good at, learn all you can, accept and give CONSTRUCTIVE critisism.

Although it’s in German, it might be helpful solving that keyboard-issue:

I, personally use a mac and you can get the proper single quotes by using option+] and option+shift+], for opening and closing, respectively. If you want double quotes you use the same keystroke but with ‘[’ instead of ‘]’.

Alternately, if you don’t use a mac you can do it through brute force HTML by using [ampersand]#145; for an open single quote and [ampersand]#146; for closed. Replacing [ampersand] with an &.