IITF supports manual press restoration at La Casa del Libro museum
The International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF) in Puerto Rico supported La Casa del Libro museum in its efforts to restore the oldest manual press on record on the island. With the Institute’s support, the museum located in Old San Juan was able to bring to the island press mechanic and historian Paul Moxon, who also contacted Robert Oldham, mechanic and historian who has traveled across the U.S. fixing these types of manual presses from the 19th century. The museum had in its collection three manual presses in need of restoration. The oldest press in the collection is a manual press, the Coisné Mecanicien, a Stanhope press made in France in the mid-1850s, according to Oldham. This manual press is one of the few still found in the world, and it's not only important as a historic machine, but because it is also a key part in the history of printing and cultural history of the island. According to artist Lorenzo Homar (1913-2004), who rescued this press in Aguadilla around 1967, the Coisné Mecanicien arrived in the municipality of San Germán in 1858. While there, it was used to print works done by poet Lola Rodríguez de Tió. After that, the press moved to Aguadilla where poet José de Diego's works were also printed. On the occasion of the 80th Anniversary of the International Institute of Tropical Forestry, we proudly celebrate 8 decades of forest history in Puerto Rico, and we decided to focus on this collaboration between the graphic arts and the sciences, in a desire to rescue an illustrious past, and intertwine the conservation and forest management sciences with the rich and multidisciplinary landscape of Puerto Rico's printing history- which includes graphic, literary and artistic aspects.
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