Cretan museum showcases history of typography

The history of the art of typography, from its infant steps in the era of pioneer printing press inventor Johannes Gutenberg, is encapsulated in a museum set up by a local Cretan newspaper publisher containing rare items and documents from around the world.

Yiannis Garedakis, publisher of the local Haniotika Nea (Chania News) newspaper, and his wife Eleni have collected an impressive collection of artifacts over the years, which are on display in the museum that is tentatively hosted in a bookshop until more suitable premises are found.

The museum's collection contains many rare and elaborate printing presses dating back to the 19th century, as well as more modern, automatic presses used throughout the 20th century, a host of typography tools, typesetting benches, replaceable/moveable wooden and metal letters, book-binding machines, a linotype machine, hand-operated presses, a foot-operated Heidelberg printing press (1920-1970) from Germany, an Albert Frakenhal automated press from Germany, and a plethora of other related tools and objects.

Most of the 30 large pieces of the collection have been purchased from Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

The museum further contains rare books dating back to the 16th century, original copies of Cretan newspapers from 1890 on, maps, paper currency and stamps from that era.

In a message on the museum's internet page (, Garedakis notes that this venture was a life-long dream and goal from the days when he making his first steps in a basement printshop producing the newspaper 'Paratiritis' (Observer) in Chania, a dream that finally began materialising more than 30 years later. It was a long, painful and expensive, but also fascinating journey according to Garedakis.

The museum, and its library of rare Cretan books, which are financed exclusively by Haniotika Nea, are a constant attraction to schoolchildren from not only Crte but all over Greece and also many parts of the world on educational trips, who are treated to a magical journey into the world of typography from past to present, and to a time when publications were veritable works of art.

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