Skip to main content

Printer's Devil

PRINTER'S DEVIL

PRINTER'S DEVIL. Printing was originally associated with black magic because of the marvelous uniformity of printed works as compared with handwritten manuscripts. Printers cherished their air of mystery and dubbed their young helpers evil spirits, or "devils." Also, some European apprentices were considered permanent menial laborers and so received a disreputable name.

In America the term lost its connotation of magic, but the chore boy or youngest apprentice was still called the printer's devil. Educated in setting type and working the handpress, these workers sometimes became master printers, publishers, or writers. With the mechanization of printing, apprenticeship declined, and the printer's devil became obsolete.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Joyce, William L. Printing and Society in Early America. Worcester, Mass.: American Antiquarian Society, 1983.

Pasko, W. W., ed. American Dictionary of Printing and Bookmaking. Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research, 1967. The original edition was published in 1894.

Quimby, Ian M. G. Apprenticeship in Colonial Philadelphia. Outstanding Dissertations in the Fine Arts Series. New York: Garland, 1985.

Silver, Rollo G. The American Printer, 17871825. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1967.

Milton W. Hamilton / t. d.

See also Apprenticeship ; Publishing Industry .

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Printer's Devil." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Aug. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Printer's Devil." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 15, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/printers-devil

"Printer's Devil." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved August 15, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/printers-devil

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.