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In 1800 the process of printing was essentially the same as it had been in Gutenberg’s time. By 1900 paper making and printing had been transformed by the Industrial Revolution into a communications machine that informed and shaped society – and the individuals within it. This London Rare Books School special event will survey the technologies that made it possible, and the changes in readers that made it profitable. Additionally, it will offer an introduction to the under-researched area of printing ink manufacture.

The event will consist of two lectures with question-and-answer sessions following each. The first lecture will provide a whistle-stop tour of the major developments in the industrialisation of paper making and printing in the nineteenth century, exploring their social and economic contexts and impact. The second lecture will explore how ink manufacturing processes – informed by new discoveries in science, new industrial methods, and new printing ink constituents – corresponded with changes in printing technology, and contributed to advances in colour printing and photomechanical printing which enabled the flourishing of a cheaper and more colourful print culture. 

Simon Eliot is Senior Research Fellow and Professor Emeritus of the History of the Book in the Institute of English Studies, University of London. He is general editor of The History of Oxford University Press (2013-17) and co-editor, with Jonathan Rose, of A Companion to the History of the Book (second edition, 2019). He was Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded project ‘The Publishing and Communication History of the Ministry of Information 1939-46’.

Ian Dooley holds a BA in Philosophy and English and a Masters of Information degree, both from Rutgers University. He has worked as a curatorial assistant in Princeton University Special Collections, and as a Fulbright Scholar in Azerbaijan. He has recently completed an MA in the History of the Book at the Institute of English Studies, University of London, completing his dissertation on ‘The Industrialization of Printing Ink Manufacture: 1820-1900’.

Unless stated otherwise, all our events are free of charge and anyone interested in the topic is welcome to attend. Registration is required for all events. Please sign up using the booking form below.