Monday, 24 October 2016

caldrons bubble lots of trouble

“Poetry operates by hints and dark suggestions. It is full of secrets and hidden formulae, like a witch’s brew.”
 ~Anthony Hecht
Academy of American Poets Chancellor (1971-1997)

Spookiness in poetry .....

Robert Frost

Ghost House

I Dwell in a lonely house I know 
That vanished many a summer ago, 
And left no trace but the cellar walls, 
And a cellar in which the daylight falls, 
And the purple-stemmed wild raspberries grow. 

O'er ruined fences the grape-vines shield 
The woods come back to the mowing field; 
The orchard tree has grown one copse 
Of new wood and old where the woodpecker chops; 
The footpath down to the well is healed. 

I dwell with a strangely aching heart 
In that vanished abode there far apart 
On that disused and forgotten road 
That has no dust-bath now for the toad. 
Night comes; the black bats tumble and dart; 

The whippoorwill is coming to shout 
And hush and cluck and flutter about: 
I hear him begin far enough away 
Full many a time to say his say 
Before he arrives to say it out. 

It is under the small, dim, summer star. 
I know not who these mute folk are 
Who share the unlit place with me-- 
Those stones out under the low-limbed tree 
Doubtless bear names that the mosses mar. 

They are tireless folk, but slow and sad, 
Though two, close-keeping, are lass and lad,-- 
With none among them that ever sings, 
And yet, in view of how many things, 
As sweet companions as might be had.

Edgar Allan Poe

Ulalume [an excerpt]

The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere—
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year:
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
In the misty mid region of Weir—
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir ...


From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then—in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

Spirits of the Dead [an excerpt]
“Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness—for then
The spirits of the dead, who stood
In life before thee, are again
In death around thee, and their will
Shall overshadow thee; be still.”

William Shakespeare

Macbeth, Act IV, Scene I [excerpt]

Three witches, casting a spell ...

Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights hast thirty one
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot. 

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble. 

Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble. 

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble. 

___________________________ //*

More worth sharing ......

Pale Though Her Eyes
by Michael R. Burch

Pale though her eyes,
her lips are scarlet
from drinking of blood,
this child, this harlot

born of the night
and her heart, of darkness,
evil incarnate
to dance so reckless,

dreaming of blood,
her fangs—white—baring,
revealing her lust,
and her eyes, pale, staring ...

The Apparition

When by thy scorn, O murd'ress, I am dead,
And that thou thinkst thee free
From all solicitation from me,
Then shall my ghost come to thy bed,
And thee, feign'd vestal, in worse arms shall see :
Then thy sick taper will begin to wink,
And he, whose thou art then, being tired before,
Will, if thou stir, or pinch to wake him, think
Thou call'st for more,
And, in false sleep, will from thee shrink :
And then, poor aspen wretch, neglected thou
Bathed in a cold quicksilver sweat wilt lie,
A verier ghost than I.
What I will say, I will not tell thee now,
Lest that preserve thee ; and since my love is spent,
I'd rather thou shouldst painfully repent,

Than by my threatenings rest still innocent.

SOURCE:  All things that go / scary poems

Five little pumpkins
by Anonymous

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate,
The first one said,
"Oh my, it's getting late."
The second one said,
"But we don't care."
The third one said,
"I see witches in the air."
The fourth one said,
"Let's run, and run, and run."
The fifth one said,
"Get ready for some fun."
Then whoosh went the wind,
and out went the lights,
And five little pumpkins rolled out of sight!

SOURCE:  All things that go / scary poems

___________________________ //*

Do you have a favorite poem?  OR, you have written a spooky one?  Let me know if you want to publish it here.

In the meantime, I will scour and search for more great Halloween poetry to share.

A solitary reflection

This blog was original written and posted on the optioneerJM blog. 

Excuse moi to readers who come to optioneerJM for business, leadership, sales or social media advice.  You have been bombarded with clips from Polyvore, independently posted.

I apologize.  It was another experiment or test.  No apologies for the test certainly.  I disclose that I am constantly trying out new avenues online to see what is what, what works, and how I may want to do things differently.

This is a "do differently".  

Polyvore allows users to create fashion statements, creative ensemble within a specific user base:  fashion enthusiasts, fashionistas and creative personalities.  I hadn't been there for a while before yesterday.  Because I haven't, I looked at the experience with fresh eyes, as if new.

Polyvore is a great environment for the fashion conscience, creative minds, fashionistas and the like.  My meanderingsabout blog is my reflection on creative expression ... outside the "box" of what I write here.  

Creativity is an integral part of who I am.  I recognized the following I had and that they were not interested in the fashionista and beauty side of who I am:  a woman in her 50s fighting aging by using a tasteful fashion, accessories, beauty regime.  That's where I created Meanderings about a year ago.  

Maybe the original idea was to have a blog where I could "rant".  Then realizing that people just don't like to read about rants, in general.  The only time I've seen them work is when a group amasses to express a similar disapproval.  More often, I've noticed, they are directed at airlines.  I would say telecommunication cellular providers would battle for first other days.  

Then I began writing as if I was giving advice to my daughters on life, living, love and dating.  They may not read it.  My three daughters and stepdaughter aged 22, 23 and 25.  A great representation of the Millennials.  

Not all experiments are successful.  Usually you can extrapolate what you have learned from the exercise and extrapolate "do differently" for down the road.

So Polyvore has the right idea:  they allow enthusiasts to share their creations on Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook.  Sadly, missing is instaGRAM.  Also, when you select posting for a Blog, the default is Tumblr, while allowing you to select "BLOG" for Google's Blogspot posts.  It defaults to the blog you have associated with your email address, which in this case is optioneerJM.  It doesn't allow me to distinguish it if you happen to have more than one blogspot.  

I will continue to fiddle around and experiment.  Thank you for your understanding.  I apologize if it seemed misleading to draw my loyal readers here, thinking I may be writing about sales and instead be bombarded with these posts that seem commercial.  You share the image you created on Polyvore, and then what Brands represent the products you have selected.

Polyvore has Polyvore Clippers, which I am liking, and just getting around to trying (for instance the image of Sally Field in character of Doris surrounded by scarves and cat eye glasses.  

There are a lot of tools or sites that start out with one idea and its users evolve and experiment, bringing a wider ensemble of tools and ways to share.  I'm never content to just create, post, share.  I like to test to see how it can be used in building social media audiences or "content" as the big thing these days is.  

Corporate brands and companies have gotten the message.  They are adding "Blog" to their websites.  However, the conundrum is how to keep the Blogs fresh, relevant, with regular posting.  A way to drive viewers to the website, where the website is suppose to take over and keep the audience there longer, to click, go deeper into the site.  Even better if an inquiry or lead generated or a sale.

I will keep exploring and doing experiments and reporting findings for others to benefit.  Even if that means an annoying array of blog posts that seem to have little to nothing to do with the central theme.

IF, this happened to make you curious.  I went to Polyvore to gather ideas for a Halloween costume -- obviously, I'm looking to be "Doris" from this great, whimsical, movie about an isolated woman in her 60s who steps out, after the passing of her mother whom Doris was caregiver to.  The idea of how she takes on what is normally Tween or Teenage experiences about dating and socializing.

  Doris is wonderfully portrayed by Oscar winner Sally Field, whom I hope gets an Oscar for this great role.  You can't help but be entertained with her crush experience, being coached by a 13 year old friend's granddaughter.  

Now, I will tidy up optioneerJM and move the creations over to meanderingsABOUT and delete the errant posts from here once they are where they belong.  (CHECK ~ done)

I will continue to experiment and try new things.  To report on findings that may help others with their social media experience, expand their social selling efforts, or share advice on business or leadership.  It has been a fun ride, and after 200,000+ page views, I look forward to continue to learn and share those experiences with you.

You can join me on Polyvore and join in the fun!  I've experimented with GROUPS, creating one for fashionista creatives who want to create ensembles that Doris would love:

This post has also been featured on  "optioneerJM" and "meanderingsABOUT"


Thursday, 20 October 2016


How are you doing?

Do you want to write how things are going "anonymously" on my aCOMMENTary blog?

Just email it to me with RE: BLOG+URworkingtitle (no porn, violence, with exception of being a victim of bullying online stories);

Just let me know if you want me to edit 4 U 4 ur final approval agreed by U be4 I share on blog. Or do you want me to just post it straight out?

There is no way I will disclose the source. Nobody else will know who wrote it. It is up for you to decide if U want to claim it by giving me permission to post UR name and ur Twitter and G+ Profile (subscriber, following @optioneerJM as a #F4F ~ that's a reCOINed version of the same hashtag. I've taken liberty of ideating that we re-acknowledge a new purpose: #F4F becomes "Favor 4 Favor" underground movement. Where the only currency is the exchange of a #F4F "Favor 4 Favor". No BITcoin or banking or finance can come beckoning. We are not purchasing anything, so we cannot be taxed can we?

Under the new #F4F system, it is haggling at first, pulling and pushing to arrive at the utopia of agreed value. A really easy example was based on an idea that happened earlier today compounded by an idea that was gurgling last night on brand Ambassador ~ship (which I have up until this moment, unless disclosed in a former blog been compensated for).

EXCEPTION: I don't talk about who I work for or what business it is in. Any references to real people are by accident, because they are imagined characters working at a telecommunications company, like a cartoon or series. (SIDE NOTE: I became really good in sales of creating CODE NAMES for my customer, relayed among the team that supported us::.... US in all of us individuals working together in one common goal: amaze and amass loyal customers who trusted us. The code names was my way of protecting the identity of any of our customers were one of my colleagues hosting a tour with a fierce competitor of this SAIDcustomer. So, if we were huddling, which was often the case with our team of US. Using the codename I would dream up on the spot, so that we could discuss a job any time, anywhere in our branch, which was on two long floors, both times, we moved once. Nobody but me would know how I would come up with NightOwl or CrackBack Tom. About as wildly opposite yet related to the customer's main representative.

OK, so now here we start the memory lane of printing and publishing .... get your wine topped up and/or go to the loo (proper English for the power room, ladies room, girls room, COWgirls room).

I really loved those days in printing. It was at the infancy of going digital. I was ignorant of the traditional print environments were about. I went in really wanting to go all in. I started that habit that social media, the web, naturally fuel within me, that thirst for knowledge or that habit by knowledge junkie.

Someone really smart and in the know could see how hard selling magazines in Calgary was, told me to look into selling digital print. You see, at the time, Xerox was digging itself from being buried by the release of its technology to the entire world (talk about Steve Jobs on steroids x 100); everyone became their hostile corporate enemy now::.... stealing their technology after being pressured into releasing it (was this real or imagined from my limited recall from the 80s?)

It is jokelore among Steve Jobs advocates and devotees and those benefiting from claiming to have known him, was that Steve Jobs lifted the mouse from the invention disarray of Xerox's research center and bureaucratic red tape.

It was Xerox who designed the mouse. The very thing that Steve Jobs scooped up and made into the most differentiating integral design element, became the mouse. First you have a really cute, hip, with it, friendly, simple, yet classic company logo who launched the ability of the computer user to embrace this wired contraption with the likable "mouse" used to maneuver outstanding design elements, graphic design easy, interface so that those gift with the combination of vision, eye and creativity can emerge.

The largest devotees of the Apple products are because of the mouse. In my opinion. We were zooming light years ahead of trying to remember codes to do simple things that Bill Gates imagineered into the personal computer. Then MAC perfected with smooth, graceful movement made ALL the difference, not just a little.

Now I want a tablet that attaches to my computer so that I can draw. Imagine that. I'm as wired into my computer as the mouse, which more times than not are blue toothed and not even connected.

Bluetooth: meaning to be able to operate something without being connected by wire.

~ Layman's Terms by @optioneerJM 

BACK to the evolving idea. An experiment of sorts. Of which I do, but now I'm sharing those experiments with you. They'll be spread among my other Blogs:

* theJMgallery (2B launched by Nov 1 2016 on blogspot, of course)
* The (a broad experiment to compare blogger experience between wordPRESS and blogSPOT)

I want to set up a coffee house atmosphere #F4F community of doers. The exchange of favors between two persons of the same group of entrepreneurs, imagineers, innovators, where a "favor 4 favor" currency emerges. Not anything that can be taxed, because it is a mutually agreed upon exchange of ideas, assistance, votes. Hey, why not? If it involves money, then it is kicked to the Brand Ambassador curb, that I know nothing about. But you can't buy loyalty, test theories, unless there is a group of US people, as in we, and in honor of #UsGuys who taught me so much as a social media baby 6 years ago. The originals, still connected, likely for forever.

The #F4F club has no membership unless you use the hashtag. The agreement being that no obscene, pornographic or violent exchanges permitted (including bullying).

Its rules are simple. It is based on a very basic principle I've started to really become better acquainted with as the idea blossoms: if someone approaches you for a favor, you ask for a favor in return. They will respect you in return.

The classiest, most humble, smart, under appreciated people are recommended to join this movement. Your ideas, your influence can grow.

For instance, today someone asked me specifically to vote for them. I did. Immediately thereafter, I messaged him back privately on Twitter to ask him to subscribe to one of my blogs, which I think is more tailored to his way of thinking and share it once. Oh, and p.s. yes I did vote 4 U #F4F (as in Favor 4 Favor new meaning).

You get my drift? You are picking up what I'm putting down? Ha, love that saying. Who I heard it from and remember it by may best be suited to "aCOMMENTary" anonymous blog submission.

I don't have anything to feel guilty about. It is a blink of an eye, blip on the screen as it logs off of life. Or, maybe, more honestly and opening under MEANDERINGSabout ... where I grapple with aging, being in my 50s, still adore fashion, and fight aging with beauty that suits me, a fabulous fashionista fighting her 50s.

So, again. Repeating myself on purpose. EMAIL me with RE: aCOMMENTary BLOG submission with tag line TITLE you come up with to where my partnership with Google allows me to be able to automatically sort unknown emails to a SPAM folder, poof, voila, on its own.

If it were to ever get past that, I forewarn you that I automatically delete anyone not recognized. (I have a pretty good memory). Hopefully, a small #F4F can be ironed out. I promise to never disclose the author's name without expressed written permission. No exchange of monetary values are permitted or allowed to be solicited when using #F4F ..... self-policed until further notice.

Let's try my experiment: see if we can create a trending hashtag for reciprocal assistance with each other? Goodness me, need I be reminded any more other than the US Presidential Election, that people do things for a lot of money.

This were to evolve into a commercial site, its sole ownership belongs to the creator of this blog, date stamped right now.

For now, its a coffee shop atmosphere. As I continue to play and experiment with blogspot's ever-evolving tools, i hope it will become bigger and help a lot of people. Security and an even more GIGANTIC HUGE security measure: being honesty and integrity. Its value only becomes your word: in other words, what you will want back if you were to give a favor, or if you ask someone else to do you a favor, you have an idea of what sort of #F4F (favor 4 favor) you would like in return.

It could expand from that to an online loyalty program (idea stamped here@copyright). So, for example, I was imagineering Apple's iTunes being able to track backlinks to a PLAYLIST or song, setting up a compensationary loyalty or ambassador or #F4F member.

Just think about it. Who would need bitCOIN to quicken? We can flip everything in the stratosphere. I've been trying to help a CEO just mostly by being a friend and listening (reading) ear. It was without expectation, request or otherwise. It was just two people from different hemispheres or continents (see, I can be "suspenseful" too, mein TRUMP). The way you feel good about helping others, because a click is an action, a movement forward. You are helping others.

Now some people have robbed a lot of coin out there for not doing any favors. Self-centered me me MEs are drowning each other out. Thank goodness, more peace at last.

Remember that it is no different than how you react if you were to drive by a train wreck or political rally, what you think you do your best to avoid, can actually rear its ugly head on you. That is what I mean when I think of Cyber Bullying.

That is a weapon of mass destruction. OK, that I will have to create something from, its good. I think. If not, I like it, so this is a combination of self-serving egocentrics and idea churning and snagging trenz.

Before I sign off, I want to thank you. It means the world to me, that very single click, and then the use of the "mouse" or if you're really talented (I'm certainly not) to be dexterous enough to be able to handle a laptop keyboard AND its built in mouse and "nipple". Geez, that is one for the meanderingsABOUT column I'd say wouldn't you?


Wednesday, 19 October 2016

A vision with purpose


Such class ... back in "those days" ... why not reform to some sort of modesty, so that you are not distracted and can ACTUALLY see the true person behind this ... YOU CAN READ more on my "The Publisher" blog at (here you are) ....

Listen along
I'm on the continual rediscovery of a superb collection of music that I even surprised, if not completely amazed at myself at the great eclectic collection of "LOVELY" music.    Right now, Clay Aitken is singing "Because you love me".

I find it a little ironic that I never watched American Idol during the season Clay Aitken was in it.  Then, I think, I became a fan of his after watching him on The Celebrity Apprentice.  I was a disciple of The Celebrity Apprentice.  I maybe watched three 20 segments, if that, of the original Apprentice.

I really liked watching the show.  Primarily, I was fascinated by the interpersonal dynamics.  It was particularly fascinating when it was compounded by theatrics and power drama with a few.   If a person is trying to evaluate their own value system, it was a great show to watch.  

The ego driven drivers of the series were not the stars, to my way of thinking.  It was Brett Michaels and Clay Aitken whom I became fans of.  

My intent tonight was to come to write this blog's purpose.  You see, the very first paragraph I ever blogged was what I published about 6 years ago.  It was for optioneerJM, whom i created just to fiddle and experiment with expanding from Linked In commenting (where I was asked often whether I had a blog).  I swear, my most loyal followers or readers on that blog were the ones at the very beginning.

A vision with purpose
I've written recently about defining your purpose.  I know that I've been struggling with that.    Sticking yourself under your very own microscope is excruciatingly painful.  More so than Mindfulness and that is pretty hard, only the very very disciplined are able to achieve that perfect balance in the NOW.

Creating a vision
Defining the path that you would like to take is not an easy exercise.    If you are able to stop reading this for five minutes, not including the time to open a separate wordpad or a pad of paper with pen.  Go ahead.  Take five minutes.  Define your vision?  Stuck?  Okay, here's a hint:  where do you see yourself in five to 10 years ... if you're in your 20s, do it in 10 year increments x 4 (so in 40 years).  

Where will you be standing or what will you be doing in your vision?  I know, I know.  It goes against the grain of the "mindfulness" gurus.  Bad gal am I?  Wait, I can explain.

Defined goals
Are what you have around you.  The specifics.  Are you in a house, big and fancy or tasteful and just the right size (for your gardening, your dog, your yard, if that is something that you really enjoy doing).  Are you on a boat somewhere, coming to grasp you are on a cruise with your partner or soon to be found partner, or dear me, a yacht you own and the man by your side isn't your partner, he is your Captain!  

Struggle between mindfulness & goals
I know I've said I'm trying to work on being #mindful.    I am a beginner I even admit.  In fact, I will share where it's coming from for me:

Jon Kabat-zinn

I bought the CD set at a big box store in person (nobody will take away my love to drift around in bookstores for hours .... except Indigo, who took away the magic that Chapters captured, becoming lost in a bookstore.  The CEO of Indigo, I don't remember her name, shut down my book club close to my home.  My link to sanity when I was at home with babies, my husband escaping to his "work" was this book club.  She also took the comfy chairs all away.  Kinda sad that she took the one thing that anything online cannot compete with.   My first attempt at poetry:

The printed word

 The smell of ink,
 the rustling of pages

Quieter than
 a library.    
When one hour can be
 enveloped by three. 

 Not lost. 
 Just not willing to be found. 
 Hush.  No cell phones around.

In the moment
I AM trying to come up with my vision statement and purpose to this blog.  It is starting to disperse the cloud of uncertainty.  

The struggle between the NOW and the GOALS dissipate once the vision has been created.  It becomes a piece of artwork, a travel destination, a decor, a fashion statement, a museum, with headphones on, who knows.  Only I will know what that VISION statement will have in its picture.  Right now, its a pretty crowded collage.

So, to keep in the PRESENT NOW in keeping with my mindfulness training, I will work on collecting images that form a vision.  After that, I'm hopeful, while optimistic that a purpose will float out.

Please let me know if you have a poem or short story that you would like to publish.  Anyone who shares their poem or short story on here will be accredited and all social media links included.  Anonymous submissions whereby no name is required and confidentiality enforced, can be made to my "aCOMMENTary" blog:

"I told you so" 
with Carrie Underwood
 and Randy Travis

I hope you will take a look at my other blogs, if you don't already.  I've already shared the link above for aCOMMENTary.  Then there is meanderingsABOUT where I reflect on life, love, family, living as who I am:  "a fabulous fashionista fighting her fifties."
meanderingsABOUT <<-- LINK
optioneerJM <<-- LINK

The following is an excerpt from a website I delightfully discovered when looking for stuff on publishing, writing, for the images portion of this blog or help with defining my purpose.  Not sure which.

Book History

The term bibliogony is used to describe the production of books. In The Evolution of the Book, Kilgour (1998, 4) states that there have been
"three major transformations in method and power application in reproducing the codex: machine printing from cast type, powered by human muscle (1455-1814); nonhuman power driving both presses and typecasting machines (1814-1970); and computer-driven photocomposition combined with offset printing (1970-)."
Book design involves a wide range of processes related to planning the physical appearance of the book including paper and type selection, layout, and structure of the book. At first, most of these decisions were made by the printer. However over time, publishers developed specifications that were applied by the printer.
You'll find that many of the well-known book designers and printers were men. However many women also made important contributions. Unfortunately, their names are often overlooked in history.
Try It!
Explore Womens Printers, Binders & Book Designers. As you work your way through this page, consider how women may have played important roles that weren't recorded in primary sources of the times or the history of printing books.
This page will explore the printing process and the role of the printer in book production.
Printing involves the production of identical copies of a work using a printing press or other mechanical device. The printer is an individual, family, or business that prints books and other print materials. In the first few centuries of printing, the printer also acted as publisher offering books for sale.
try itTry It!
Go to The Atlas of Early Printing.
Spend some time exploring the early history of printing and the book.

Understanding Printers through Primary Sources

By examining the book as a physical artifact, researchers can learn about how the book was printed including the particular type of ink, press, and printing process.
Analyzing the account books and correspondence of printers, reading autobiographies by printers, exploring legal records and newspapers of the time period, and reading printers' manuals of the time period, help book historians gain insights into the role of the printer in Darnton's "communication circuit." Darnton (1982, 77) suggests that researchers ask question such as
"How did printers calculate costs and organize production, especially after the introduction of machine-made paper in the first decade of the nineteenth century and Linotype in the 1880s?
How did technological changes affect the management of labor?
And what part did journeymen printers, an unusally articulate and militant sector of the working class, play in labor history?"
To better understand how books were printed, it's fascinating to examine books that contain small mistakes.
For lots of examples, read the blog entry Learning from Mistakes by Sarah Werner (February 23, 2012).

The Printing Press

The mid-fifteenth century marked a tremendous change in book production and ultimately print culture. The invention of the printing press around 1440 changed the book from a single object to an industrial age commodity. Books were no longer an item owned exclusively by the rich. By lowering the cost of production, the printing press allowed an enormous increase in production and distribution of books. The physical book we know today originated to this time period.
The printing press and activities of individual printers had a tremendous impact on the availability of books from the mid-1400s to the present. Although hand-written manuscripts continued to be produced, the printed book quickly overtook the manuscript because of its quick production and low relative cost.

printing pressThe Printing Press

printing press is a machine used to evenly transfer ink to paper or cloth. By applying pressure to an inked surface, the image is transferred to the paper. The device is able to make impressions quickly and efficiently.
The press itself stood from 5 to 7 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 7 feet tall.
The image on the right shows a 3D reconstruction of a common press used from around 1650 to 1850.


The movable type consisted of small metal blocks with raised letters. First the typecaster would cast a punch out from hard metal using a drawing of the letter as a guide. Next, the letter is punched into soft metal like copper to leave an impression. This piece of soft metal containing the impression is called a matrix. The matrix is placed into a mold. The typecaster would make the type by mixing tin, lead, and antimony and pouring it into the mold. Although a skilled typecaster could produce 4,000 metal letters per day, many of the type pieces turned out malformed and could not be used.
The matrices as well as the pieces of type were kept in wooden boxes. The type is storied in wooden trays or drawers known as a typecase (see image below). For each letter, there are three options: capital letter (uppercase), small capital, and small letter (lowercase). In addition, the case contains punctuation marks, spaces, and other type as needed.


The typesetter is in charge of organizing the type pieces into pages on a frame. The composer places the type on a composing stick. The first sticks were made from wood. Later, metal sticks were replaced the wooden ones. The composer must create the text upside down and backwards for it to print correctly.
Completed composing sticks were placed on a large tray known as a gallery. Pieces of metal were placed between rows. These fillers are known as leading. A primary advantage of using movable type over carved or engraved blocks is that corrections can more easily be made. The text is carefully checked before printing. Mistakes are corrected. The type is moved from the galley to an iron frame known as thechase. When wedges and filler pieces are added and tightened up, this frame containing the text creates a tight form.


Printer 1568After the typesetting is complete, the form is laid on the press stone. An oil-based ink is then evenly applied to the type surface. A damp piece of paper was attached to the tympan with pins and held in place by a frame called afrisket. The tympan is then folded down against the inked type. A handle is turned to make the press stone and coffin beneath roll under the platen. Pressure is then placed evenly on the page using a screw on a long bar called the Devil's Tail. The coffin is then pulled back out and the printed page is removed.
The image on the right from around 1568 shows a printing operation.
Most early print shops printed large sheets containing multiple pages. After a page was printed, it was hung up to dry. After one side dried, they turned the page over and printed the other side.
Read Mosley, James (2013). The Technologies of Print. In, M. Suarez & H.R. Woudhuysen, The Book: A Global History. Oxford University Press. IUPUI students can view the article online.
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Go to the Printing Press Animation.
Learn about how a printing press works.
Have some fun learning about letterpress printing. Watch the following three videos:
Old Skool Printing
Upside Down, Left to Right: A Letterpress Film 

15th Century Printing

Books printed between the introduction of the printing press and January 1, 1501 are known as incunables. Also known as incunabula orfifteener, an incunable is a pamphlet, broadside, or book printed before 1501 in Europe. The term incunbula is Latin referring to the earliest stage or trace of a development. In this case, the printed book.
Many authors consider incunables to be those printed using movable type. However two types of printing co-existed during this time period.

Block Book Printing

Block book printing involved creating a single carved or sculpted wooden block for each page. The text and illustrations were cut onto the same block. They were particularly popular in the mid fifteenth century. Most of these books were less than fifty pages. Block-books were often cheaper than those produced on the new movable type printers. However they suffered from damage including worms and deformation.
As the printing press became more popular, movable type replaced woodblocks for text. However woodcuts continued to be used for reproducing images in illustrated works.
While the printing press generally printed on both sides of a sheet, block-books were printed on one side. The pages were glued together to produce the look of two sided printing.
Speculum Humanae Salvationis or Mirror of Human Salvation (image shown below) is a famous and common example of a block-book. A work of popular theology, the book portrays events from the Bible. Some editions are entirely block-book printing and others combine block-book with typographic book printing.
speculum humanae salvationis
Ars Moriendi or The Art of Dying (image from book shown below left) was written in the early to mid 1400s and created on woodcuts for printing around 1460. The first guide to death and dying, the work was available in a short and long version that described how to prepare to die and die well.
Ars Moriendibible
Biblia pauperum or Pauper's Bible (image from book shown above right) was a Bible picture book published with block-book printing.

Typographic or Movable Type Book Printing

Typographic book printing was the second type of printing during this period. It was created by placing individual pieces of cast metal movable type into a printing press.
Although the invention of the printing press is credited to Johannes Gutenberg, other versions of printing devices occurred earlier. The idea for movable type was first introduced by Bi Sheng of China who made type from porcelain around 1040. During the first part of the thirteenth century, Koreans created the first metal type.
However it was Gutenberg's press that gained notoriety and was reproduced throughout Europe. Around 1440, Johannes Gutenberg of Mainz, Germany developed the European version of movable type.
Metal movable type printing much more durable and uniform than woodblock printing. In addition, it was much quicker. Printing spread rapidly across Europe with the increasing availability of the printing press.

Korean Printer

In the 14th century, a Korean printer was printing books in the Chinese language using cast bronze type. Because there was a shortage of wood for carving, metal was a logic alternative that turned out to work well. This approach was expensive and labor intensive.
The image below shows movable type from the first printed book in Korea around 1377.

Johann Gutenberg

As a goldsmith familiar with screw presses, Johann Gutenberg (c. 1399-1468) adapted existing technology to create the printing press. What made Gutenberg's movable metal type unique was his invention of a special matrix that allowed the moulding of metal type with high precision. His mould made it possible to easily and quickly create metal movable type in larger qualities. This allowed an assembly-line approach to book production.
A letterpress is the specific type of printing press used by Gutenberg. The printing surface was coated with ink and transferred to paper. The letterpress continued to be used into the 20th century.
Besides the printing press, Gutenberg is also credited with the invention of an oil-based ink that was much more durable than water-based inks.
The first major book to be printed by Gutenberg was the Bible, known as the Gutenberg Bible or 42-line Bible (book is shown below). Printed in the 1450s, the Gutenberg Bible was a Vulgate edition written in Latin. The decoration around the margins and in the headings was done by hand after the pages were printed. The book was over 1200 pages and was printed in two separate volumes. Approximately forty-eight copies survived and are considered the most valuable books in the world.
gutenberg bible

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Want to have some fun? Read a preview of Gutenberg: The Musical by Anthony King and Scott Brown. Then, explore one of the promos on YouTube.


Nicolas Jenson

Nicolas Jenson (c. 1430-1480) printed early classical and humanist texts, canon law, Bibles, and liturgical works. Having apprenticed at the royal mint in Paris, where he likely learned about metals. Sent to Germany to learn about the printing press, he later became a printer making his own roman type. He was a prolific printer distributing his work throughout Europe.
The image below left shows Julius Caesar works printed by Nicolas Jenson around 1471. The image on the right shows Nicolas Jenson's printer's mark.
caesartypemark jenson
LeeuAfter 1469, printing spread rapidly across Europe. According to Lommen (2012), trade in type matrices was responsible for this explosion of printing. Printers like KobergerRatdolt, and Leeu used their international connections to spread thousands of books throughout Europe.
Many printers were known for a particular genre of book. For instance, Bonino De Boninis (1454-1528) also known as Dobrić Dobrićević, is known for printing classics including Dante's Divine Comedy.

Gheraert Leeu

Gheraert Leeu (c. 1445-1492) was a Dutch printer best known for his printing of fables.
Printed in 1480, The Dialogus Creaturarum Moralisatus or The Dialogues of the Creatures Moralizedcontains 122 dialogues between characters found in nature. The book includes a woodcut for each tale.
The image (by Johi) left shows a status dedicated to Leeu.

ratdoltErhard Ratdolt

Erhard Ratdolt (c. 1447-c. 1528) set up a printshop in Venice in 1474 then moved to Augsburg Bavaria in 1486.
He is best known for printing a high-quality version of Euclid's Elements of Geometry in 1482. The book contains woodcut decorations and over 400 diagrams created with straight and curved metal rules.
The image on the right shows a page from Euclid's Elements notice the mixture of border, text, and illustrations.
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Go to Elements of Euclid at Wikimedia Commons. Compare various translations and printers.

Aldus Manutius

aldusVenice became the home to many printers in the late 15th and 16th centuries.
Aldus Manutius (1450-1515) was a humanist scholar. During the Italian Renaissance, he established a print shop in Venice called Adline Press. Manutius was known for his beautifully illustrated books focusing on Greek and Latin classics. However he also published other works such as religious materials, secular texts, geography, history, and scientific treatise.
The image on the right shows Aldus Manutius.
Aldus Manutius combined metal type with woodblock illustrations. Many of his books include interesting text layouts.
Modeled after the handwriting of Venetian scribes, Manutius used the term italic for this new type because it was invented in Italy. His work inspired many of his successors.
Hypernerotomachia Poliphili or Poliphili's Strife of Love in a Dream (image shown above) written by Francesco Colonna and printed by Aldus Manutius is an outstanding example of both writing and printing during this period.
Published in Venice in 1499, the allegorical romance is a typical topic for the Early Renaissance. However the use of the inverted triangle, empty whitespace, and indented paragraphs are unique to Manutius. According to Harthan (1981), the book was initially a commercial disaster, but the woodcuts were admired.
The image on the left below shows how Manutius combined woodcuts with interesting ways to present text.
In 1501 Manutius printed the first portable octavos that were pocket-sized and printed in uniform series. Known as libri portatiles, they targeted readers with a growing interest in humanism.
aldusaldus mark
In 1502, Manutius began using a printer's mark that included a dolphin and anchor. The mark was intended to assure customers that his work was of high quality.
The image on the right above shows Aldus Manutius printer emblem.

William Caxton

caxtonWilliam Caxton (c. 1422?-1491) learned the craft of printing by studying in Germany and Belgium. After learning the process, he returned to London England to set up a print shop at Westminster Abbey. Caxton was known as an excellent editor and translator in addition to his work as a printer.
Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye was the first book printed in English. Originally written in French by Raoul Lefevre, it was translated and printed by Caxton around 1475. A first edition copy was presented to Margaret of York.
The Dicts and Sayings of the Philosophers (1477) is one of the first book printed in England. It contained a colophon indicating the printer and place of publication.
The image on the right shows the printer's device of William Caxton.
Caxton printed Geoffrey Chaucer's poem The Canterbury Tales in 1476. Seven years later he printed a corrected text and added illustrations. It became a very popular book.
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Begin by reading a little more about Caxton's Chaucer. Go to Treasures in Full to explore two digital versions of Canterbury Tales. Notice the small changes in his printing skills over six years.

Anton Koberger

ChronicleAnton Koberger (c. 1440-1513) was a printer, publisher, and goldsmith. He opened the first printing house in Nuremberg in 1470. At its height, he employed 100 workers in his printing house. He is best known for printing and publishing the Nuremberg Chronicle.
The most common incunable to survive, the Nuremberg Chronicle is a wonderful example of the early printed book with around 1250 known surviving copies. Written by Hartmann Schedel and illustrated by Michael Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff, the book was published by Anton Koberger in 1493.
Based on the Bible, the book tells the story of human history. The book is also known as the Book of Chronicles andSchedel's World History. The printing was completed based on a contract with patrons. In other words, the patrons covered the cost of book production and distribution.
The book contains 1809 woodcut illustrations with 645 original to the book making it the most illustrated incunable (an image from the book is shown on the left).

The Age of Incunabula

Early printing was distributed throughout Europe. Incunabula were printed in 282 cities in 20 countries. The most books were produced in Italy, Germany, Trance, and the Netherlands.
Besides the printers mentioned, many other early printers emerged such as Gunther Zainer of Augsburg, Johannes Mentelin andHeinrich Eggestein of Strasbourg, and Heinrich Gran of Haguenau.
Early printing presses could produce 3600 pages were day. The skills were passed of from master to apprentice and often father to son. The art of printing was carefully preserved through close study.
David Pankow, author of The Printer's Manual: An Illustrated History, notes that printing innovations were kept secret during the early years of printing. His website states that:
"As printing from movable type was perfected  in the fifteenth century, the mysteries of its practice were guarded by a privileged few. Gutenberg himself took great pains to avoid disclosing the techniques he had developed for the rapid multiplication of books, only to see the fruits of his long research snatched away from him by his chief creditor, Johann Fust, in an ignominious lawsuit. To make matters worse, tradition has it that Gutenberg's apprentice Peter Schöffer took the secrets of the new craft, joined forces with Fust, and, together with his new partner, reaped the benefits of his former master's toil."
The British Library's Incunabula Short Title Catalogue contains 27,400 incunabula editions. Many interesting statistics can be gathered using this catalog such as examining the collection by date, number of known copies, and location.
Below left shows a map of 15th century printing of incunabula. Below right shows incunabula by language.
map of europeincunabula

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Go to the British Library's Incunabula Short Title Catalogue spend some time browsing the collection.
Read Gondi, Cristina (2013). The European Printing Revolution. In, M. Suarez & H.R. Woudhuysen, The Book: A Global History. Oxford University Press. IUPUI students can view the article online.