Random (but not really)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Travels: Philadelphia: Printing Press

Besides being sick for weeks keeping my away from here, we also went to Philadelphia last weekend.

Why Philadelphia in January? Because our friend Tania was on the east coast! (YAY)

But since I’d never been to Philadelphia, we made it an extra long weekend, and took in the sights.

There were a couple disappointments: Christ Church Cemetery is closed January and February, so I could peek in through one set of bars, but a brick wall blocked me from seeing the vast majority of the cemetery. And I would have enjoyed seeing the inside of one of the restored old homes, but for the most part, we had a lovely trip, and got to see almost everything we wanted.

Probably my favorite thing all weekend (besides seeing Tania and Nathan) was the Printing Office in Franklin Court.

The park ranger running the printing press was fabulous. There were a handful or so of kids when we walked in, and he was demonstrating the press, and showing them all the bits and telling them how things worked–it was really lovely.

The press he was using was set up for a copy of the Declaration of Independence.

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The second press was set up to print various pamphlets that would have circulated in Franklin’s time running the printing office.

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One of the things we learned was that the terms “Upper Case” and “Lower Case” came from typesetting. Capital letters were kept in the top boxes, hence “upper case.”

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I asked my own questions, and purchased a copy of the Declaration that had been printed there.

We also went to the post office, where I mailed my postcards. I didn’t take any pictures, but the woman there was very nice, and told us about about some of the things Benjamin Franklin did as post master, including “franking” or marking mail with the signature B. Free Franklin.

Friends and family should look closely at the post mark on the postcards they receive, as it’s one of a kind.

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