Nineteenth-Century Printing
Practices and the Iron Handpress
with Selected Readings 
by Richard-Gabriel Rummonds
Foreword by Stephen O. Saxe
Nineteenth-Century Printing Practices and the Iron Handpress is encyclopedic in its examination of printing techniques from the late-seventeenth-century through the nineteenth-century. Using selected readings from printers’ manuals – beginning with Joseph Moxon’s Mechanick Exercises (1683) and culminating with John Southward’s Practical Printing (1900) – Gabriel Rummonds has distilled over two hundred years of printers’ wisdom into a very readable and important text on iron handpresses and how they were used in the nineteenth century. This remarkable book represents over twenty years of research and scholarship by one of the most celebrated fine press printers of the twentieth-century. With almost five hundred rare and scarce woodcuts, engravings and photographs, and the most comprehensive annotated bibliography on the subject ever printed, this monumental, two-volume work stands alone in the annals of printing history. Nineteenth-Century Printing Practices and the Iron Handpress is a worthy companion to Rummonds’s 1998 classic, Printing on the Iron Handpress.
Oak Knoll Press and The British Library 2004
8  x 11 inches, 1152 pages in 2 volumes
Price hardcover: $150.00      To order hardback, click here
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Autographed copies are available from
Wessel and Lieberman booksellers in Seattle.

Advance Acclaim
A thousand volumes have been written on the technical and historical side of printing. In this encyclopedic work, Gabriel Rummonds has distilled a half-millennium’s worth of printers’ wisdom into one well-written and incredibly researched masterpiece. With almost five hundred rare and scarce illustrations and the most comprehensive bibliography on the subject ever printed, this work stands alone in the annals of printing history.
      – John Lewis, Author, Printer, Publisher

Here, in one book, Richard-Gabriel Rummonds has brought together every important source in English of our knowledge of historical printing practices. Further, he has interpreted, through his own unsurpassed personal experience, each of the many readings from the printers’manuals. The exhaustive bibliography is, in itself, an extremely valuable resource for readers and researchers. This is a remarkable book, and one which I think will become part of the legacy of letterpress manuals. Nineteenth-Century Printing Practices and the Iron Handpress could be considered the last great printers’ manual, and one worthy of standing beside Moxon’s and those that followed him.
      – Stephen O. Saxe, Author of American Iron Hand Presses 

At last, Gabriel Rummonds has completed this long-awaited set of companion volumes to his celebrated Printing on the Iron Handpress,  published by Oak Knoll Press in 1998. Packed with information and liberally illustrated, this new work will be an indispensable resource for students, historians, and printers interested in obtaining a comprehensive understanding of the technology and practice of nineteenth-century iron handpress printing, as explained by the very printers who used these presses on an intimate and daily basis. Organized into chapters on personnel, printing equipment, maintenance, composition, and technique, this exhaustively documented two-volume set incorporates relevant readings from every major printing manual and most of the minor ones. No aspect of printing-office operation is overlooked, and Rummonds even provides historic remedies for aching fingers! Three valuable appendices complete this publication, including a very useful concordance of citations from the first printers’ manual ever published — Joseph Moxon’s Mechanick Exercises of 1683.
     A meticulous craftsman and fine handpress printer in his own right, Gabriel Rummonds has spent the better part of his life in the study and mastery of the iron handpress. It is as familiar to him as his right arm and as easily directed to his will as the pen is by the consummate calligrapher. There could be no better guide to the literature and operation of this deceptively simple printing device and its many absorbing and rewarding challenges.
      – David Pankow, Rochester Institute of Technology

About the Author
Richard-Gabriel Rummonds is acknowledged as one of the pre-eminent handpress printers of the twentieth century. For almost twenty-five years, using the imprints of the Plain Wrapper Press and Ex Ophidia, he printed and published illustrated limited editions of contemporary literature on the iron handpress, primarily in Verona, Italy, and Cottondale, Alabama. In 1999, a major retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the Biblioteca di via Senato in Milan, Italy. He was appointed founding director of the MFA in the Book Arts program at the University of Alabama in 1984. He has also taught typography and type design at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington, where he presently lives. He can be contacted at .
Cover, volume 1
Cover, volume 2
From the Introduction, pages 6-7
Pages 100-101
Pages 158-159
Pages 324-325
Pages 434-435
Sample page spreads are Adobe Acrobat PDF files.
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