In the printer's workshop

Officina Typographica – a museum printing house run by the last practicing typographic printer Józef Rakoczy.

Offer of services:
  • typographic printing
  • business cards
  • invitations
  • repairs of books
  • book binding

The printing house works on old machines and hand-driven presses.

fot. Tomasz Szygulski

How did it all start? This whole story with printing?
It was a coincidence. I wanted to be a flyer, unfortunately it did not happen.
Aviation was not just a dream of childhood, but a consistent pursuit of goals that I pursued. I left school after 3 years - technical school, which was to prepare me for the role of an aviator. It was a huge blow to me, I broke down, I did not do anything for a month. After a month, when I sobered a little, I took a newspaper in my hand and found an advertisement for the recruitment to the printing house. And that is how everything began half a century ago.

Printing is your passion and profession?
Indeed, since I turned 17 years old, my only professional activity has been printing. Lots of time, right?

Do you remember what materials you printed first?
Leaflets, I do not remember even for whom - it was during the times of conspiracy, work in the underground. I printed them and passed on.

Were you self-taught?
Yes, I had to master all the techniques myself. As I printed on the leather, I had to know its specificity and methods of tanning. As I turned to textiles, I had to learn the characteristics and ways of printing on fabrics.

Where was your first printing house?
I started working at the Palace of the Press in Wielopole in 1967, today there is a hotel. There was a machine department in the palace there, I took my first steps there, I spent three years there. Then a huge printing house was built in Wadowicka. In 1975, I was fired from the printing house, blacklisted, I could not work in my profession and I was involved in other various professions. In 1981, the situation in the country relaxed a bit and I went to Austria. I worked there in a printing house, then after a few years I started my own company, which in 1999 was already listed among the top 100. I mainly based on my ideas. It would seem that there are a lot of things on the market, but there is still a lot to do, such as experimenting on wood. In Austria, I experimented on tanned leather. It was difficult to outperform the competition, that is why I came up with new ideas, mainly I was printing on ecological materials.

fot. Tomasz Szygulski

What techniques one can try at the printing house?
I prefer the oldest technique and I would like to pass it on to new generations. It is the technique that Guttenberg invented in the fifteenth century. The German craftsman invented a movable type – it was a breakthrough from which we count the existence of printing. Other inventions of photography and chemistry could have been adapted to the field of printing, they enabled the development of other printing techniques.
Typography has already disappeared today, today we have offset, intaglio printing, planographic printing, printers, today it is much easier.

Why do you still do this, print using this method?
Because it is my passion! I have always thought that when I retired I would open a small printing house. All such printing houses have already disappeared, they were liquidated in the 70s and 80s. I wanted to keep something for future generations. Krakow is the cradle of printing, in the fifteenth century everything began here, the Guttenberg followers just then began printing in this city. Printers are actually forgotten today. It was here that the pearls among printing machines were kept, before there were destroyed.

Where do the machines come from in your printing house?
I found them in various corners of Europe, brought them to Krakow, cleaned, renovated and repaired. They are all fully functional.