The simple act of producing perfect, identical letters at the touch of a button is a very recent development. Even the typewriter as some of us came to know it wasn’t commercially available until 1873–nearly 20 years after the Neill-Cochran House was built and 34 years after Austin’s founding. Even then, the typewriter can only make one (or a few) copies of what you type. More complicated processes go into printing newspapers and books, many of which did not become computerized until the 1970s.
Because our lives have changed so much by the ability to copy and print sentences and images quickly and inexpensively, we decided to get into the lab this month and see what printing was like in its earliest forms.
History lab experimenters will be able set up and print their own messages as well as a few pre-made images. Remember: everything prints backwards. Double remember: hand-made greeting cards are as post-worthy as they are pinterest-worthy.
This activity is best suited for experimenters ages 8 & up but younger children are always welcome to work with a grown-up.