Grafisch Museum

When I visited Groningen, the Grafisch Museum was not in the city center, but behind the central railroad station. In the meantime, they have moved to a more central location at Sint Jansstraat 2, which I believe is the building where the old Groningen Museum used to be. My photos are from the old location.

Steam-powered printing press

The museum has an impressive collection of historical printing presses from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including some that were driven by steam power. A steam engine turned a large revolving rod that hung from the ceiling, and the force from this revolving rod was transmitted to the machines by means of long transmission belts. (Old mills using water power often used a similar arrangement.)

Typesetting by hand, and an early typesetting machine

Typesetting in those days was usually done by hand. The letters were made of lead and the typesetter was a skilled worker who chose one letter at a time from a tray or drawer and placed it in its proper position. But the museum also has some examples of early typesetting machines.

Explanations and diagrams

The printed explanations are only in Dutch, but there are also numerous photos and diagrams to help visitors understand how the machines were used.

Bicycle to power a generator

During the Second World War, the Netherlands were occupied by the German army. Resistance groups printed clandestine leaflets using small electric printing presses, powered by a stationary bicycle to generate electricity and charge a battery.

My photos in this post are from 2012. I revised the text in 2020.

See more posts on Groningen, Netherlands.

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