Colonial print shops often printed newspapers, books, business forms, record books, magazines, and government proclamations. They might also serve as advertising agency, post office, stationer, and newsstand. Colonial printers imported cases of type from European foundries, but mold casting replacement letters on-site from lead and antimony took no extraordinary skill.
As a printer during the revolutionary period, printers had a problem acquiring their materials-the paper, the ink, the type had to be imported.
When you can no longer import your type from England you have a problem because your letters will eventually wear down. So there is a lot of broken, worn type that you have to use. The type that they were making here in the colonies was not that good.
Paper is a problem when you can no longer get paper from England. They do make paper in the colonies, but a lot of paper was imported from England. The paper would affect the size of your newspaper and the availability of it; whether you reduce the size of it, whether you would even print paper at all.
These are some of the things that would affect the printer during the revolutionary period. Printers already struggled, trying to make ends meet, and this would make it even a more difficult for the printer.
Willie Parker is a Master Printer and interprets the printing trade for Colonial Williamsburg.