This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

Friday, November 12, 2010

Old Salem's First Printing Press

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

The J. Blum House was built in 1815 and served as Salem's first printing press and bank. In 1827, John Christian Blum and his two sons brought a wood and metal hand-operated printing press from Philadelphia to Salem, NC. The Blums set up and prospered a viable printing business. Prior to the Blums' arrival, printing took place in Salisbury, Hilllsborough and Raleigh.

Printed materials include some newspapers, as well as documents for schools, churches and business in both English and German. The historical printing press is one of a few of its kind left in the US. Unlike the others printing presses that have been recovered and restored, the Blum Printing Press is still in its original location.

The Blums had to make their own paper and ink, set type by hand, manually operate their printing press, which required three people. One person had to ink the type, another pulled paper through, and a third to hang the freshly inked paper to dry. The display includes two ink balls, devices with thick wooden handles topped with circles of leather, which were used to apply ink to the type. Also, a type case or compartment holds metal type in various sizes and fonts with capital letters in the upper drawers and small letters in the lower drawers.

In 1828, Blum printed the first Blum's Farmer's and Planter's Almanac for 10 cents per copy. This Almanac is still printed today--a magnificent 182 year history.

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