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Swift reflects on printing in America

As a former 30-plus year full-time employee of the Tomahawk Newspaper, I became interested not only in the content and aesthetics of newspapers, but also type and typesetting along with other aspects of the newspaper craft as well as some things about the history of printing — especially America’s printing history.
I am amazed at the degree of printing that could be attained many years ago. Hand printing and cursive writing were ways that communication could be affected before the invention of the printing press. The first printing press in the Colonies was imported by Reverend Jesse Glover in 1638. The Bay Psalm Book, was the first book printed in the American Colonies. It was printed in 1640 by Stephen Daye, a London printer. The invention of the typewriter came later. Reportedly, a man named Christopher Sholes; an American mechanical engineer invented the first practical modern typewriter in 1866.
The Gutenberg Bible was the first substantial book printed in the West with movable metal type. That feat was accomplished in 1454 or 1455.
The reason I was so amazed that type is so clear and readable in old books and magazines is the fact that I have a few old books and magazines to judge them by.
The oldest book I own is Life of George Washington, Commander in Chief of the Armies of the United States of America Throughout the War which established their Independence; and First President of the United States, written by David Ramsay, M. D. and printed in 1811. It has an inscription that shows a father giving the book to his son. That inscription is dated 1826. I also have a 1901 edition of a book titled The Authentic Life of William McKinley. President McKinley was assassinated September 14, 1901. Among my books I also have Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, a classic of Christian Literature. Also I have Life of William Shakespeare by Sidney Lee copyright 1898.
Printing has come a long way since type was set by hand to today’s modern electronic machines. I am thankful to the men and women who work hard to get the news into the hands of so many folks each day and week.