Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Throwback Thursday: The Press Room

The Press Room
We are continuing on this week with a look at some great photographs from our company archives.  This one shows the far end of the press room around 1931.  I found this picture hanging in our company lunch room a few years ago.  There is a lot going on.  In the foreground a man in an apron, collared shirt, and vest feeds paper into a heavy steel Thompson-Laureate style platen press.  A curved stand supports a large flywheel on the right side of the press.  You can clearly see the braille embossing plates held open by the jaws of the press.  Believe it or not, you can watch a press like this one operating on a tour of APH today.  We use two of them pretty regularly for special jobs, although most modern output comes from digital presses.  Notice that there are no guards or fences to protect the operator.  (Worker safety was only starting to be a national priority and there were few laws to govern it.)  The bare leather belt on the left is connected to an electric motor that is out of sight.  A naked electric bulb is hanging down from a wire near his head to provide light on cloudy days, but the sunlight streaming through the large windows suggest that was not necessary this day.  The bulb’s wire was rigged on pulleys so you could pull it closer if you needed it.  This is the western side of the second floor of the 1923 annex.  It is where our museum is housed today.  In the background, another worker stands in front of a type case setting printer’s type.  The cases held drawers whose compartments helped organize the thousands of pieces of tiny lead type used to “set up” print publications.  To the right of the type case is a Chandler & Price Platen Jobber Printing Press.  It would be years before APH began making large print books.  Here the C&P is being used to print labels, product catalogs, and to “foil stamp” book titles on book covers.  A few years after this picture was taken, we’d be using a C&P to print record labels for Talking Books.  If you’d like to learn more about the history of our embossing and ink-printing presses, we have several pages on our website.

No comments:

Subscribe to receive posts via email

* indicates required

Browse Articles by Subject

Follow us on Twitter


Write for us

Your input and support in the evolution of Fred's Head are invaluable! Contact us about contributing original writing or for suggestions for updating existing articles. Email us at


The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.

The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.

The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.

Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.

Fred's Head articles may contain links to other websites. APH is not responsible for the content of these sites.

Fred's Head articles created by APH staff are (C) copyright American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. You must request permission from APH to reprint these articles. Email to request permission.

Any submissions to Fred's Head should be free of copyright restrictions and should be the intellectual property of the submitter. By submitting information to Fred's Head, you are granting APH permission to publish this information.

Fair Use Notice: This website may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright holder(s). This site is operated on the assumption that using this information constitutes 'fair use' of said copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.

Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.