Prior to the industrial revolution, printing in Edinburgh was a cottage industry with generations of printers working using similar traditional work practices. The first Edinburgh firm to move away from these small scale industrial practices and publish on a large scale was Oliver & Boyd. This firm moved from its modest beginnings in the High Street to new premises in Tweeddale Court in 1820. By 1836 Oliver & Boyd were the first firm in Edinburgh to combine printing, bookbinding and publishing within a single building.
From these humble beginnings a great industry emerged in Edinburgh with printing houses occupying a large section of the industrial landscape.
This section of the site details the traditional work practices of letterpress, lithography & stereotyping, which Edinburgh printers used as the tools of their trade prior to the introduction of widespread mechanisation.