Print’s Past: Confusion of press check illusion

So I was standing there watching every sheet. Every so often, I’d pull a sheet out to study the colour.

I had to keep all of the sheets that I had pulled out because the boss would come over and want to see exactly how many sheets I had pulled.

Anyway, somewhere along the line a nail started to come up and it started to print. It came up really light to start with – just a tiny pin prick or dot and 50 sheets later it was a bigger dot, and the next thing I’m printing this thing with a dot next to it. I had got so used to seeing the bloody dot that I thought it was part of the design.

I got my arse kicked from pillar to post. I had to reprint the thing. The boss was not happy. I remember seeing the dot but it came up so slowly and my brain got so used to seeing it.

From then on, because I’d just put the sheets on top of one another, just to keep the boss happy, but from then on I always put the first sheet there and the next offset a bit down so I’d always be able to see the top of whatever I was printing and that gave me a record so I could see the colour going up or down.

Steven Jeffries

Print’s Past excepts are drawn from interviews held by Benjamin Thorn, curator of the Armidale Museum of Printing, and are due to be published in a forthcoming book.

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