“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Friday, 18 December 2009

I had that William Caxton in the back of the cab the other day.....

Back in the day girls and boys, before there was internet and blogging and such, we used to communicate by means of leaflets, pamphlets and magazines; what I think you call "hard copy". Small groups of malcontents would spend hours typing propaganda on special stencils and yet more hours of cranking the handle of something called a duplicator. You had to be very stoned. Offset litho could only be undertaken by specialist (equally stoned) community printers and was expensive and also pointless unless you needed a big print run. There was a third option, letterpress. This last, involving the traditional cast metal print, was usually the preserve of commercial printers but there was one exception to this rule. Exchange and Mart was always full of ads for various get rich quick schemes whereby you could escape from wage slavery forever. Among the more sensible of these schemes was the idea of home printing, business cards,wedding invites, that kind of thing. This could be achieved by the purchase of an ADANA hand printing press. The ADANA was a wonderful little machine but required a fair bit of skill to achieve good results. I had forgotten all about the ADANA until researching hand printing for a mate the other day when I discovered that it is still possible to buy reconditioned machines for a couple of hundred quid. Next week - How to start a food co op and claimants union.


henry said...

And the Print Co-op usually grew out of the Claimants Union, then a van suddenly arrived from a friend of friend and (lo!) a food co-op was born .... yeah, the Adana was a little pig of a machine. The rubber rollers always rotted. I recall Peter Good used to do the whole 24 pages of Anarchism Lancastrium on a little Adana. Drove him bonkers I think. The sex-on-legs (before DTP & xerox) was an electronic stencil cutter - fantastic results could be got from a crank handle duplicator if you knew someone who had a cutter in an office somewhere. Never quite died and now still doing good work as a Digital Duplicator (copies straight to stencil) in schools up and down the land. And very green option; water based soya inks, no ozone and prints an anything that's uncoated. (A link below to wiki info).

And that works better if you're stoned, too.

Peter Good said...

Oi! What's all this about being Bonkers??

The press continues to roll. AL had to close and we moved over to Yorkshire where the letterpress tradition contines as the "The Cunningham Amendment".

Adana's are great machines. The one that printed AL still prints away today.