Histories of machines

and memory of gestures


The Tipoteca’s archive is accessible
only by previous agreement with the staff.
You have to declare the reason
why you want to consult our material.

The access to the archive is possible
during the museum’s opening times.
The collections are not available for the rent.

Tel +39 0423.86338

The immaculate sheets, oh! How they rhythmically dropped from the belts onto the cylinder and how the well-oiled cogwheels panted in time to the rustle of coated paper and of laid paper… Compressed air coughed into the tray of the drying agent, couplings pulsed, systoles and diastoles of a huge body powered by the engine and the authoritative voice of the foreman

The printshop is a place full of sounds, smells, voices… The printing machines, even if silent, know how to preserve their elegance. When they turn on to work, they immediately find the rhythm of their mechanical perfection and the harmony of a measured movement to gently print the ink on paper.

Our will to exhibit perfectly functioning printing machines means not only preserving beautiful tools, but also keeping alive the memory of gestures and experiences which represent a fundamental operative knowledge.

«… But what made the presence of the printshop unmistakable, even from a distance, were its wonderful smells – the warm breath of an almost athletic organism, used to hard work day after day»


Giorgio Lucini

The collection and restoration of the printing machines began thirty years ago and is now underway. Tools of different Italian printing shops are collected in the Tipoteca’s archive. We are working hard to preserve them and keep them functioning.


The numbers
of the machines
warehouse represent
the effort to not
to disperse an Italian

29 iron hand-presses
4 chalcographic hand-presses
4 lithographic hand-presses
5 typecasters
5 Monotype casting unit
2 Monotype Super caster
4 Linotype casting unit
2 Typograph Ludlow Typograph
3 titling machinesheadline casters
38 platens presses
34 flatbed cylinder
presses machines


Related sections