Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Crandall Printing Museum

I went to the Crandall Printing Museum on Monday the 29th of March and found it to be a very enjoyable experience. I went with a group of empty nesters from a ward, so I was probably the only person there under 50 or so. The tour was, in my opinion, quite wonderful. I really loved it. It was really cool to learn more about printing. I feel like there are many underrated, or under-appreciated inventions in the world. The Gutenburg press may be one of the most under-appreciated inventions in the world's history. Johannes Gutenburg was a genius. Learning about all of the problems he had to face and overcome really deepened my understanding of the significance of his crucial invention. He had to figure out what kinds of metals to use to make molds, how to make the molds for the tiny letters, how to make ink that would work, how to press it onto paper, for which he used, essentially, an olive press, and how to do many other things. In addition, he basically had to keep his work secret for a while for fear of public reaction, as people tended to have issues with new or different things in his time. Everything that went into the first printing of the Bible by Gutenburg's press was difficult. He even had to make new molds for the Latin alphabet...over 200! However, he trudged through, despite all of the factors combined against him, and managed to change the world. He went seriously into debt in order to make his dream come true, building 6 print shops and training 6 different teams of men to use his technology. Though he lost his shops to creditors, his teams were able to go and spread his great idea all over the world.
Another great printer and inventor was Benjamin Franklin. He printed Almanacks for a living, which we learned in the tour were very important for people in his day. He eventually retired and went on to invent many great things. He did not place patents on any of his inventions because he wanted them to be available to everyone. He was instrumental in the framing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Finally, we got to the room that talked about the printing of the Book of Mormon. The tour guides told us the story and demonstrated to us how miraculous this printing truly was. They had me pull the press to see how difficult it was. I barely managed to do it, but I got the big lever all the way around. It was harder than I anticipated.
Overall, I found the tour very interesting and enlightening. I absolutely love the passion the men who run the place have for it. It made a huge difference to me in the tour's content.
The printing of the Book of Mormon was definitely aided by Divine Providence. It was a miracle that it got printed and bound as fast as it did. It was really cool to learn about the printing of the scriptures. President Monson went to that museum, and he said that it would qualify for church service missionaries, like senior couples, once it gets the expansion they are working on getting. They want all the missionaries in the MTC to be able to go through it. It was really neat. I liked hearing the personal history of the printers who own and run the museum as well. They have both been printers since the age of 14, and they love what they do. I really enjoyed my experience, and I would recommend that everyone who gets an opportunity take a tour themselves.

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