A Parisian printing workshop in the 16th century

One needed very large premises to accommodate a print workshop. It had to house the owner and his family, the apprentices and, if need be, a few journeymen who worked at the typecase or operated the press.

In addition to providing living quarters, the house had to have large professional premises. A number of storage areas were needed, including room to stock thousands of sheets of paper, both blank and already printed. On the ground floor was the shop, with windows that opened onto the street. Books for sale, both bound and unbound, were displayed on shelves. Areas for typesetting and printing varied in size, depending on how many presses the workshop owned.

One needed very large premises to accommodate a print workshop. It had to house the owner and his family, the apprentices and, if need be, a few journeymen who worked at the typecase or operated the press.

Typesetting took place on the upper floors, because the work required a great deal of light. The presses were located either on the ground floor or higher up, depending on space. The house also needed a well: water was needed to wet the paper and to clean the type after use.

In all cases, the house had to be solidly-built. The floors had to support the weight of several tonnes of lead type. The presses, shored up against the floors, walls and ceiling, put pressure on the stonework. Leases for print workshops often dictated how the operation could be set up, stipulating, for example, that the printer could "only install presses on the ground floor", or obliging the tenant to rebuild one of the house's walls "in the case that the lessee operates two presses, as he sees fit, and not in the low-ceilinged room on the ground floor".

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