RIT graduate to discuss reproducing 18th-century printing press March 30

Attendees will print copies of the First Amendment

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Amelia Hugill-Fontanel

Seth Gottlieb, pictured second from the left, will discuss reconstructing an 18th-century printing press March 30 at the Cary Graphic Arts Collection.

Seth Gottlieb, a recent graduate from Rochester Institute of Technology’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering, will speak about the 18th-century wooden printing press he and his classmates recreated for their senior design class. Following the talk, the press will be used to print new copies of one of the 18th century’s most iconic documents: the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

The talk, titled “The Uncommon Press: Reconstructing an Eighteenth-Century Printing Press,” will be held at 6 p.m. March 30 at the Cary Graphic Arts Collection on the third floor of The Wallace Center. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments and printing demonstrations will be provided following the talk.

Gottlieb and his classmates researched and built the wooden hand press in 2016 as a requirement of their senior design project in the RIT School of Mechanical Engineering. This style of printing press was one of the few missing from Cary Graphic Arts Collection, so Curator Steven Galbraith assigned the interdisciplinary team to reconstruct the press. It is now one of 19 letterpress printing presses in the collection and is used in teaching and demonstrations.

Attendees will be able to see the press in action and receive a printed copy of the First Amendment, which established the freedom of press in the U.S. in 1791. “The printing press the students created is contemporary to the style of press used at the time the First Amendment was first printed,” said Amelia Hugill-Fontanel, associate curator of the Cary Graphic Arts Collection. “They will be using an 18th-century style press to print an 18th-century document.”

Registration for the event is not required, but those interested in participating are encouraged to register via the Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/391440487884515/