I returned to Lincoln at the end of September 2012, to take part in the Heritage Crafts weekend. The Museum of Lincolnshire Life has a Columbian press. Visitors were very interested by the over-decorated machine, and to see the press in action. My assistant was a Master printer, who used to bring bits of type home. Never let children play with little metal letters, they’ll be addicted forever.
Photographs here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjCmQghr
Over the two days, it transpired that lots of people have done a little bit of printing at school. They have rarely had an opportunity to have another go.
The most frequently asked question was: “Why place the paper onto the inked block, when it looks easier to print the block face down onto flat paper?”. Answer: Ink seeps down into the engraved lines. Turning the wet block over would result in a splashy inkiness around the edges of the print. Also, any white lines would be filled in – a few hours’ worth of cutting obliterated(!).
We could only think of rubber stamps and potato cuts being printed that way.