What is the 39 Step Press?

We are a group of academics interested in the history of the printed page. In 2015 we bought a wrought iron Model 4 letterpress printer. We get together every few months and try to print things. 

Why do it?

We wanted to learn more about the printing process from a hands on, practical perspective. We discovered that letterpress printing is really hard and we aren't very good at it. This is lucky though, as the focus of our research is on the quirks and distinctiveness of print, on what can go wrong and the effects that produces. We are all interested - in different ways - in the errors and accidental substitutions that creep into typesetting, and the glitches, inky smudges and blanks that printers usually try to avoid.

 

Why the name?

We operate out of an old stable block in Elsfield, Oxfordshire.  It just so happens to be part of John Buchan's old house. He's the one that wrote The Thirty-Nine Steps.    

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