The Zanerian Print Blocks Letterpress Print (Capitals I to L)
The Zanerian Print Blocks by Master Penman Michael Sull
These wood-mounted print blocks are rare artefacts from America's Golden Age of Penmanship. With few exceptions, all print blocks are between 80-110 years old. During the late 19th century and up until the early 1940's, the Zanerian College of Penmanship (later re-named the Zaner-Bloser Company) commissioned writing masters to create superb specimens of penmanship for the purpose of reproducing such handwriting on the pages of their premiere monthly publication, known first as the Zanerian Exponent, later re-titled The Business Educator, and finally known simply as The Educator.
These printed images of penmanship served the purpose of Penmanship education, visual inspiration, and illustrative examples that supported the subject matter in related articles on handwriting methods, styles and recommendations.
Through a photographic chemical, and electronic process, the images of the handwritten penmanship were made into 2 or 3 dimensional reversed metal images, which were then mounted onto wooden blocks. These blocks were then properly positioned onto a letterpress printing machine, inked, and then printed onto paper which became the finished pages of the magazine. For over a century, the Zaner-Bloser Company accumulated these blocks, keeping them for future use. Each of these blocks was used numerous (often, thousands) times over the years to print their images on countless editions of the magazine. None of the blocks were discarded or thrown away.
As the decades passed by, the Zaner-Bloser Company ceased being a penmanship institution and instead, became the leading publishing company of primary-grade handwriting materials and instruction manuals in America. Today, since the original founding of the company in 1888 by Charles Paxton Zaner (1864-1918), the Zaner-Bloser Company has literally been teaching the skill and art of American penmanship in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. It remains the oldest, most respected, and most successful handwriting publisher in American History.