The Museum
One must ponder would it have been possible for great scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein to develop modern day mechanics or discover Quantum theory without the printing press? Would Doctors Banting and Best go on to discover the vaccine for diabetes if Banting had not read a book on the pancreas? Probably not. These incredible minds were able to build on printed knowledge, just as Tim Berners-Lee took us from the printed page to the next watershed moment – the world-wide-web.

The printing press itself is inanimate until someone locks up a chase full of type. Then, words and illustrations come alive. Newspapers grew from the printing press. Titans of the press had the power to topple presidents and prime ministers, spread the truth as well as lies and bring news from the far reaches of the world. Before blogs or the Internet, there were editorials.

Printing and the machines that produced it have been instrumental to our development as a people since Gutenberg’s invention of movable type in 1450. Bringing good and evil, breakthroughs and fallacy, the printing machine fostered an increasing awareness of ourselves and allowed every person on earth to develop knowledge and make a difference.

As neutral as the printing press can be, it is ideas, cast in lead and reproducible over and over again, that led us to our present time. Without this amazing machine, artists would not have reached an audience, and only select few would have held knowledge. The book itself owes its place in history because of the printing press.

The Owners/Curators
After many years directly involved in the printing industry, Liana and Nick Howard set about to build a museum of printing history with a focus on machinery from the 1830’s to 1950’s. This period was an exciting time for not only worldwide technology but also improvements to the printing press. Unlike any other, printing has spurred humans to great things.

The Howard Iron Works Museum and Restoration facility is a lifelong dream of Liana and Nick Howard. The Howards are custodians of Howard Graphic Equipment Ltd., a company that is a leading-edge supplier and rebuilder of printing and converting equipment. The business continues into its 53rd year having started in 1967.

Since Nick Howard was a young boy, he has worked in the printing trade. This lifelong vocation continues the tradition of several generations. Liana Howard has been not only involved but instrumental in leading the Howard Group of Companies and shares the same passion. Together they have assembled a diverse and important collection featuring machinery and materials from the period 1830 to 1950. Each piece represents a key building block in the advancement of the printing processes.

The Collection
The current Collection features an impressive selection of Iron Presses, Cylinders, Platens, and Bindery Equipment, as well unique and one-of-a-kind machines and artifacts. In addition, the library also features a collection of vintage printing-related books, technical and trade journals.

There are many outstanding museums devoted to printing around the world. These are operated by passionate individuals and have served the arts and creative community for decades. HIW shares this love but also wanted to utilize the skills of the HGE technicians to completely restore machines to a new level.

Howard Iron Works is supported by the world-class talent to restore and present equipment just as it would have been when leaving the original factories. Restoration is the key fundamental difference one will immediately notice at the HIW. All machines are completely disassembled, repaired and finished to “As New” condition. That offers another way to enjoy some of the most beautiful machinery ever made – just as they would have been when they left the small workshops of Europe and America. Restoration is the primary difference of HIW.

Howard Iron Works Museum is a not-for-profit private museum of printing history. The goal is to help enrich the lives of those that are unable to help themselves. The museum support numerous nonreligious causes that do good work for the less fortunate. One way is to make the museum available for private functions and events. Another is through the purchases from the Museum Shop, and other Museum’s fundraising endeavours. All profits generated from the sale are donated to a variety of charitable organizations.

Howard Iron Works Printing Museum & Restoration
800 Westgate Road, Oakville, ON L6L 5N2
Tel. (905) 821-0000

The mission of the Canadian Printing Industries Scholarship Trust Fund is to attract the brightest and best students available to the graphic communications industry by providing financial assistance to enroll and continue in a post-secondary management or technical program at an approved institution.