File this one in the “Cool Things About Living in Durham” category.
We can boast a resident who built a miniature replica of the printing press that Ben Franklin said he used as a printer apprentice. And it works.
Apparently, we’re not the only people to think that retired Duke professor Richard Heitzenrater’s creation is cool. The Smithsonian liked it so much that within 15 minutes of seeing photos of the miniature press, the museum told Heitzenrater it would like to have it as part of its collection.
The Nation’s Attic plans to put the press in the printing equipment room at the museum. It also will use it for workshops and classes to show how wooden hand presses of that time period worked.
We deeply respect Heitzenrater’s interest in the history of printing, woodworking and rare books, and the degree to which he pursued those. It’s a wonderful creation that will inform Smithsonian visitors for years to come. Congratulations to Heitzengrater, this week’s Grit Award winner, for filling a rare gap in the Smithsonian collection.