A quoin used in Linotype printing. The top reads "Challenge" and A30." The bottom is grooved.
Donated by John Damianos.
Letterpress printing is a technique of relief printing using a printing press. A worker composes and locks movable type into the bed of a press, inks it, and presses paper against it to transfer the ink from the type. In practice, letterpress also includes other forms of relief printing with printing presses, such as wood engravings, photo-etched zinc "cuts" (plates), and linoleum blocks, which can be used alongside metal type in a single operation, as well as stereotypes and electrotypes of type and blocks. With certain letterpress units it is also possible to join movable type with slugs cast using hot metal typesetting. Letterpress printing was the normal form of printing text from its invention by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century until the 19th century and remained in wide use for books and other uses until the second half of the 20th century. Letterpress printing remained the primary way to print and distribute information until the twentieth century, when offset printing was developed, which largely supplanted its role in printing books and newspapers. More recently, letterpress printing has seen a revival in an artisanal form.
This printing block was used by the Chicago-based, Greek Art Printing Company that was owned and operated by Aristotle Damianos. The Greek Art Printing Company was responsible for the printing of a wide range of materials, including wedding invitations, invoices, flyers, programs, letterhead, etc., for Greek businesses, organizations, institutions, and individuals in the Chicago area, and elsewhere.
The quoins (pronounced 'coins') are the devices used to lock all your type, leading, and furniture into the chase. The simplest ones are nothing more than 2 wooden wedges that are slid across each other's face to exert pressure across your type form. A step more complex than that are cast metal wedges with toothed faces. A special key is turned in the teeth to slide the wedges. This provides a great deal more locking pressure. Finally, you can acquire mechanical cammed quoins that greatly simplify locking up your forms and apply very even pressure across a much greater span. The cammed quoins are far better than either metal or wooden wedges.
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