Welcome to South African Virtual Printing Museum

A unique, interactive platform dedicated to showcase imPRESSed Collection of binding and printing tools and apparatus. The collection aims to preserve artifacts from onset of printing in South Africa until end of the ‘hot metal’/letterpress era. With the industry shift towards the digital solutions, some of the equipment are sole surviving /working examples locally.

Please note: although the collection is housed in brick and mortar building, it is in residential area without permissions from either the Residents Association or the City of Johannesburg to operate as a museum. It is not open to public, except through this portal. Thank you for understanding and enjoy the virtual experience. 

1795
In the year of 1784, there arrived in Cape Town the man who was to introduce the art of prinitng into South Africa. Born in Hof, Johan Christian Ritter came of a family whose members were all employed in some branch of book trade. Coming to an appointment as bookbinder in the service of the Dutch East India Company, Ritter either brought with him, or received shortly after his arrival, a small printing press, on which, as he states in a memorial addresses to Sir George Yonge some sixteen years later, 'he practised printing such trifles as his small apparatus would allow.' These were probably handbills and advertisements, but more ambitious undertaking was the issue of small almanacs. Of these only one fragemnt of the Almanac for the year 1796 is known to exist, and is preserved in South African Public Library at Cape Town. - A.C.G. LLoyd 'The Birth of Printing in South Africa' 1914