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The Outlander Printing Post No One Wanted

I have waited three years to make this post, ISTFG.

This one is from 3x05 "Freedom and Whiskey." Apparently they made two common presses and sent Sam Heughan to "printing school" so he could operate them properly. (They had a consultant at Reading University, so I wonder if they sent him there?) Apparently a lot of the prints you see onscreen he actually did himself. Good job, boyo.

Anyway, this is a nice set-up here. My only complaint is piling that much stuff onto the closed tympan; that much printing paper is **heavy.**



This next series of 'caps are all from 3x06 "A. Malcolm." Here's Jamie checking his prints first thing in the morning, probably to see if they dried properly. Note the combination of wooden dowels and hanging ropes to hold all the printed sheets. Absolutely correct.



Jamie's got his apron on (and I covet that beautiful leather apron that is....absolutely spotless. *thinks about the distressed aprons in my 'shop* *sighs*) A minor blooper here; when we see the bed of the press the chase is totally empty, but when he gets to work a few minutes later the type is locked up.



This is a shot from the "Inside the World" featurette after the episode. Note that they did the lock-up properly with all wooden quoins and furniture rather than cheating and using modern (metal) speed quoins. My one hiccup here is that the bed is half-empty, and he's shown printing small bi-folios rather than quartos. It just wouldn't make any sense to print that way when you're doing pamphlets. Anyway, I think they may have done proper handset type here instead of cheating and using zinc plates, which is what you ordinarily see in print scenes in movies and whatnot. Although minor complaint: Throughout the shop you see all the equipment, all the paper stock, etc. etc., but you don't see any typecases or cabinets. And fwiw I have a small hobby operation and I have four type cabinets, so. They take up space.



Now what impressed me here is they got almost all of the inking correct! However, Jamie grabs the pair of prepped inkballs off the cheek of the press, where....they shouldn't be first thing in the morning, or they should be capped with a damp rag if they are. Why? Turns out the leather pelts used can dry out over night and makes it harder for them to pick up the ink; really you should start up first thing in the morning by taking the pelts out of a bucket of water where they would sit over night, wringing them out, then freshly stuffing the ink pelts with carded wool, then nailing them to the stock, and THEN prepping your ink.

You do see Jamie working the ink with an ink knife from a jar on the inking stone. However, when they cut back to it its all spread out properly, which means someone likely worked it over with a modern brayer to get it perfectly ready to go. But he applies the ink to the ink balls correctly, then applies them to the press correctly. My heart went bat-bat-bat-bat just like the ink on that type, I tell ya.



Okay, here we see him pulling the bar:



My one hiccup here is--he doesn't pull back at an angle, which means he's not using a footbrace. Contrast with my bro Todd at work:



See how he's got his knees bent just a bit? You got to make the press's leverage work for you when you're doing your pulls.Now, both Sam/Jamie and Todd are big guys, so they don't really need to. But back in the day, people were shorter. So, there's that. Now, back to Jamie:



Jamie checks his impression. Nice and even, particularly given he was using undampened paper from the post behind him. A couple more nitpicks: We don't see tables for the fresh paper OR the stack of prints that they would be producing (and you wouldn't hang them straight away--they need to dry off a bit). You also need to dampen your paper overnight because printing ink is incredibly thick stuff, and the wet paper picks it up much more easily and evenly than dry paper does. But as I said in my live-blogging, It's okay, Jamie. I've fucked that up too!

I didn't get a decent screencap of it, but he's also printing using "duckbills" or small folded bits of paper attached to the tympan to hold the paper in place, rather than "points" (thumb-tacks, basically). As far as I know the duckbills are a 19th or early 20th c. thing rather than 18th, but I've also never been able to confirm this, so who knows.

Anyways then Claire comes in and drama ensues and he never cleans the type or anything, which is totally gonna bite him the next day if this were real life, but whatever. Also, he has a 2 press shop with like 1 dude working for him, which is INSANE. A 1 press shop would have 10 people at a minimum (overseer who can double as corrector, 2-4 pressmen, 2-4 compositors, 1-2 apprentice minions for cleaning, gophering, etc.), so really Jamie have like 19 dudes & ladies going full-time, but whatever. (Gabaldon fudged her research on the printing in ways that totally went over my head the first time I read the books TWENTY FUCKING YEARS AGO, JESUS, but now I'm just like, "where did you even GET that?!" when rereading. For instance, she consistently claims that printing ink consists of powder and alcohol, which, no. That would get you some writing ink, though mostly you'd use water instead because alcohol was expensive. She also does some funny stuff with typecasting which I can comment on next week, assuming they do that scene.)

Anyways, there's my feels. SORRY NOT SORRY.

PS They made a small dialogue addition I appreciated: When Claire tells Jamie he can't possibly be "just" a printer because he's so fit, Jamie rightfully says "Ever worked one, Sassenach?" PREACH, BOY!

Comments

( 2 comments — Add your .02 )
abigail89
Oct. 25th, 2017 05:09 pm (UTC)
Totally thought about you whilst watching this ep last night. Husband was impressed they sent him to printing school.
caitri
Oct. 25th, 2017 06:13 pm (UTC)
<3

NGL, I do like Sam Heughan, but watching him inking correctly Did It for me in a way his usual romantic scenes haven't. (And gods help me if ever CFine does something with printing!)
( 2 comments — Add your .02 )

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