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The art and craft of printing has similarities to other arts and skills. Some learn to sing, swim or paint on their own. Self taught. Some things can be learned from a book. I believe letterpress printing may be learned by trial and error and some may be learned from a book. I believe the best way is to learn from a skilled printer.
Tell where you are. Letterpress folks are a pretty nice bunch and most are willing to help perpetuate the craft. Seek to do better, but don’t give up in frustration.

O gods of ink and gods of type,
Hear my anguished cries tonight.
May my platen close just right,
And my quoins stay very tight.
Let the rollers be type high;
Cause the topsheet flat to lie.
Hear me now, don’t hide your faces,
Keep the gauge pins in their places.
Give a care and let my press,
Fill me again with happiness.


Front Room Press
Milford, NJ

THAT IS AWESOME RICH! I LOVE IT! I am totally going to have to print this out in my and display in my printing room!

Thank you so for sharing! It made me big smile!


As you can see from the above I don’t have much to do at one in the morning on a Saturday. Anyway, don’t give up Andrea! The press is a machine and can be made to work right. Where are you located?


Front Room Press
Milford, NJ


Paul & Rich, those are great! That really made my night, thank you.

I’m in Phoenix & all I took was a 3 day course from a very experienced man, he’s on this blog. I’m in the process of trying to get one on one lessons from him. Maybe I should just have him take a look at my press. He might find something wrong that I wouldn’t be able to see.

I know I just need to keep practicing and not get flustered. I’m thankful fir this blog and all the nice people who are part of it. Puts my mind at ease.



Here’s one more I wrote for my first class at the local center for the book arts to print as a class assignment. I ended up not printing it in the class, but for what it’s worth, here it is.

The Letterpress Student’s Prayer:

Lord, grant that I, the neophyte
Inverted, reversed, learn to read by sight

To study hard, to craft, to make
Returning more than I now take

With methods old, and methods new
Blend ink, and lead, and tympan too

To bring forth print, on paper bright
To give to all, sweet words of light.




What problems or inconsistencies are you experiencing? You refer to “perfect punch.”


aheser, what about the agnostics and atheists,
maybe they get by with raunchy james

Agnostics aren’t sure they need help and atheists are certain of it so they don’t need a prayer or limerick.


Front Room Press
Milford, NJ

A nasty old pressman I knew
Got to hell without much ado.
Satan said “You have sinned,”
as he devilishly grinned
“What a press I’ve here waiting for you!”

The Printer’s Prayer first came to my attention years ago in The Inland Printer, issue of December 1948 pp. 58-59. It is credited to Wilferd A. Peterson.
Credits at bottom of page are: Prayer copyright 1938, The Jaqua Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The illustration on p. 58 is from an oil painting by a student of the Advertising Art School, Nashville, Tennessee. Plates courtesy of the Southern School of Printing, Nashville, Tennessee.
The plate is a four-color full-page showing six men, who appear to be: artist, bookbinder; a printer, with an apron, with his arms up to the heavens; a keyboard operator seated at a machine similar to the Mark Twain Thorne(?) typesetter; another printer with an apron and composing stick at a case of type; the last person appears to be a stereotyper(?). Items in the foreground include books, a composing stick, line gauge, brayer, a can of ink and an ink knife.
The words in the prayer with reference to printing are as follows, in order of appearance:
prints, colors, type faces, set up, measure, rules, point, lock up, make ready, register, press, work and turn, impressions, bind, pi, hell box.

rpolinski, sorry to hit a raw nerve.”Atheists don’t need a prayer or a limerick” isn’t that kind of harsh. I have been
only printing 30 years and over that short time I did learn
a sense of humor pays dividends to ones mental state,
and wellnes of soul.Maybe if one needs to pray to a diety or dieties for their printing problems maybe their problems are not with james

My post was a joke, a play on words and meanings off your post which I assumed was also intended to be humerous and not a philosophical or theological statement.

No nerves were involved, just a funny bone.


Front Room Press
Milford, NJ

The Printer’s Prayer
To the Great Printer who prints in all the colors of the rainbow, and whose typefaces are stars and clouds, autumn leaves and sunbeams, snowflakes and flowers, this is my prayer:

That I may set up my life to the measure of a man;
That I may have the courage, win or lose, to follow the rules of the game;
That I may point my life toward the things that count;
That I may lock up in my heart idle tales, gossip, and words that hurt;
That I may make ready for the opportunities to serve that come my way;
That I may register in my memory the splendor of sunsets, the glow of friendships, the thrill of great music, and the mental lift of inspiring thoughts;
That I may press forward in the spirit of adventure toward new horizons of achievement;
That I may work and turn out worthy accomplishments;
That the impressions I make on the white pages of time may encourage, cheer, and inspire all those who cross my path;
That I may bind together in my own life all those positive qualities that make for happy, creative, triumphant living;
And finally, O Master of Printers,
Help me to avoid the disgrace of making pi of my life and guide me safely around the yawning mouth of the hellbox.

— Unknown

I found the following while searching the internet for a translation of Gott Gruss die Kunst (God Bless the Art):

“The following prayer appeared in a 1731 German instruction book for apprentices. It is reprinted from a book by William Blades, Numismata Typographica, published in 1992 by the Bird and Bull Press.

O Lord, almighty God, Printing is a glorious and a noble Art – a blessing thou has reserved for mankind in these latter days an Art by which all conditions of men, and especially thy holy church are greatly nourished. And since, good Lord, thou has of thy free grace given to me the opportunity of exercising an Art and Craft so exalted. I pray thee to guide me by thy holy Spirit in using the same to thy honor. Thou knowest, dear Lord, that great diligence, continual care, and accurate knowledge of the characters of many languages are needful in this art; therefore I call to thee for help, that I may be earnest and careful, both in the setting of types, and in printing the same. Preserve my soul in the constant love of thy holy word and truth, and my body in sobriety and purity; that so far a life here befitting a Printer, I may hereafter, at the last coming of my most worthy Savior Jesus Christ, be found a good workman in his sight, and wear the everlasting crown in his presence. Hear me dearest God, for thy honor and my welfare. Amen.”

Might make a nice APA bundle piece, don’tcha think?

—David Smith, #605.