Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Printer's Devil

By: Kajsa Sabatke, Interpretive Projects Coordinator
Spring planting isn’t the only activity at the museum this season. Ted Shuart, our master printer, is also busy getting ready for the season: printing broadsides, labels, signs, and other products for the museum. In the 1840s, a master printer had help from an apprentice, known as a “printer’s devil” (not a great selling point for potential applicants!). The name came from the often messy tasks an apprentice had to complete. A printer’s devil ran errands, swept floors, built fires, delivered newspapers, cleaned ink off the equipment, and put individual pieces of type back into the case after a job was completed. Apprentices eventually completed their time and became journeymen and then master printers with their own shops. Despite a dirty start, printer’s devils eventually took on the important task of sharing news from within the community and from the outside world. Stop by and see Ted on April 4 and help The Farmers’ Museum get ready for spring!

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