IMPRIMEO EST! (Or something like that); With a combination awkwardness and pride we like to announce that the “Minion-Press” is completed, up and running…

The Minion-Press at the Langbroek Art Exhibition.

It was finished just in time for a local art exhibition in my old home town Langbroek. For three days I am demonstrating how printing in the renaissance worked.

Last week there still was a lot of work to do. No major construction, but small finishing touches. Like this little wooden tap to hold the handle in place.

Ink balls

To get ink on the type surface, I needed to make some ‘ink balls’ or ‘ink-tampers’ as they are called. The drawings in the encyclopedia by Diderot give wonderful detail about the design and construction.

You turn a wooden funnel-shaped handle on which a ball of leather, stuffed with wool is placed.

Back table

On all pictures of historical presses there is a little table at the back off the press, over the rails. This usually holds the inking tray.

The back of the press, table still needing a coat of wax

The two back legs can be screwed out, to remove the table while transporting the press.


A rather necessary element of printing is the ink. But it has become quite hard to get oil based block printing inks. But fortunately it is possible to get the ingredients; Lamp black (soot) and Stand-linseed oil.

Mixed together, with the addition of a few drops of light machine oil and petroleum. This is a recipe I found in a couple of old Druggist and printing manuals.

Making ink is a very messy job, impossible to keep your hands clean.

First edition

At 1.00 a.m. last friday, the press was tested for the first time. Paper in place, printing plates inked…

It works! There is still need for some adjustment, but the first results are rather good…

Dutch texts: “Art; made with head, heart and hands” (free after st. Francis of Assisi) and “Who writes will survive” (old Dutch saying)


To the exhibition

The press is designed to be taken apart for transport. Seven bolts, four wire spanners and three springs hold the whole thing together. Remove them and the press can be reduced to this…

These parts can be folded together to fit the little red trolley. This way it can be moved by public transport. I am also working on a yoke to put it behind my bike.

It takes about an hour to set the whole thing up. So it is really a traveling

If you want to see the press in action, please visit us today between 13 and 17h at the Langbroek Art Exhibition, in the Dorpshuis, Prinsenplein 3 in Langbroek.

This entry was posted in Events, History, Printing press, Projects, Re-enactment, Research, Think different, Tools, Uncategorized, Woodworking, Workshop and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to IMPRIMEO EST!

  1. Tee. says:

    Diep onder de in(kt)druk, Javaca, schitterend!



  2. alexholdendotnet says:

    Excellent work!


  3. Vicki says:

    Your work on this is amazing. I could wish you were taking it to the “Slag om Grolle” so I could see it for myself. You made your own ink too – and it looks like it works pretty well. Congratulations on this project!


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