The Museum of Printing, North Andover, Massachusetts

800 Massachusetts Avenue · North Andover, Massachusetts 01845

Super Book Sale Continues

Start your own great library. Sale of duplicates and triplicates have been very well received. We have doubled our offerings with the addition of many more books — some rare — including Penrose Annuals, Franklin, and Typophile books.

Drop by any Saturday from 10am to 3pm.

Your opportunity to fondle Fairfield, caress Caslon and hold Helvetica?

Volunteers are needed to move the Linotype type art to our new Museum building on Saturday, August 15 from 9am to 5pm. We think we can do it in one day with at least 10 able-bodied volunteers.

There are 2,911 black boxes, each about 3 pounds, so no really heavy lifting. Forming a bucket brigade, we will move them from the stacks to skids, then down the hoist to a truck, then transport them 6.2 miles to our new home.

They are now arranged by point size. We will place them on 22 skids alphabetically.

Wear work clothes; we will provide gloves. Oh, and a simple lunch. Saturday, August 15 from 9am to 5pm. Sign up now!

Remembering Hermann Zapf (November 8, 1918–June 4, 2015)

By Frank Romano

Hermann Zapf was the preeminent worldwide typeface designer and calligrapher who lived in Darmstadt, Germany. He was married to calligrapher and typeface designer Gudrun Zapf von Hesse. His typefaces include Palatino and Optima.

I first met him in 1960. I was the mail boy at the Mergenthaler Linotype Company in Brooklyn, NY and was delivering the mail to his cubicle on the 8th floor. He was adapting Palatino for the Linofilm. One day I got up the nerve to ask “Mr Zapf, what do you do?” He replied, “I correct the errors of my youth.” For example, the lowercase y had a curved calligraphic descender. He straightened it out. Those who stole Palatino from the hot metal version had something different from those who stole it from the phototype­setting version.

Read more >

The Museum of Printing is moving

After 13 years at its current location in North Andover the museum is moving to a building along Route 495. It will open in early 2016.

The new building better suits the museum’s evolving mission of education, display and exhibition of graphics arts related materials and equipment. It is on a single floor, is fully handicapped accessible and offers dedicated areas for workshops and lectures. It will also be able to expand its role of hosting educational tours of all levels.

“The relocated museum will house a world-class printing and graphics art museum,” said museum President Frank Romano. “There will be more dedicated space for exhibits, events and workshops, two stores — one retail store and a second specifically for letterpress and related equipment.” It will also offer more hands-on exhibits.

An unusual feature of the museum will be that it houses two libraries: one for general browsing of graphic arts books, technical and operating manuals and other literature as well as type specimen books and specialty publications. The second will be the Romano Graphics Arts Library for scholars and researchers, with many rare books and graphic art ephemera. Part of the museum’s collections includes the many original type drawings used to create Linotype and Mergenthaler fonts for letterpress use.

Expanded exhibit space will make the Museum of Printing the largest printing and graphics art museum in the United States and the only one of any size east of the Mississippi River.

The museum will remain open at its current location at 800 Massachusetts Ave. in North Andover, Massachusetts throughout the summer and fall. The new facility will open in Spring 2016. Currently on exhibit is the Lance Hidy retrospective, the wood cuts of Anna Hogan and Mark Fowler prints.

Call for Artists
2015 Printing Arts Fair
Community Art Project

cutting linoleumThe Community Art Project is a continuation of our annual graphic arts themed poster. Artists are being asked to cut a 6×6 inch linoleum block on any graphic arts theme of their choosing. In the past we have done Alphabet Posters printed by steamroller.

This year we are switching it up. Artists not only will cut their linoleum on a graphic arts topic of their choice but can print it at the Printing Arts Fair June 21 and take away their own copy.

How it works:

  1. Artists register and pick-up their 6×6 inch linoleum tile from Museum of Printing on a Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. There is a $2 charge for the tile.
  2. Artists cut their tile based on the graphic arts them of their choice. It may be based on a letter, letterpress tool, or whatever graphic art theme the artists wishes.
  3. Cut blocks should be returned to the Museum by June 6, and we will set a time during the Printing Arts Fair that the artists can either print their block or have it printed for them.
  4. Four copies of each block will be printed at the Fair. The artist will receive one, the others will be for sale.
  5. Blocks-close-upThe individual 6×6 inch prints will be pasted onto a large paper and displayed as they are printed.
  6. After the Fair the individual blocks will be scanned and assembled into a large poster to be printed from an ink-jet printer.
  7. Each artist can receive a .tiff copy of their block and a PDF file of the completed poster.
  8. Finished posters will be sold by the museum.

Blocks may be picked up at the Museum of Printing, 800 Massachusetts Ave., North Andover, MA 01845 Saturdays, between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.

For more information contact

What is it? Answered.

mystery deviceIt’s the type head for a Reynolds Print-A-Sign machine, according to, and a hearty Thank You to, Ed Newman of Paramus, NJ. He ran one for Morsan’s Sporting Goods in the late 60’s to the mid 70’s. A friend of his ran a similar machine for another sporting goods store about the same time.

The machine consisted of a large steel table, like a drafting table, but heavy steel. On the table, there was an area to clip the cardboard sign material. Then, the type head rolled over the blank sign material. There were rollers on the front of the type head that inked the type. A plunger, on the table, was pulled down, by the operator. After returning the plunger, it moved the blank sign material along on the table, in the proper increment. There was a lever on the bottom of the table, to move the sign material up or down.

To make a sign, the operator clipped in the sign, aligned the material, rolled the type head over and “stamped” the sign out. The letter spacing was automatic, determined by the plunger.

Pre-press materials wanted

registration punchOur curators are planning several exhibits on prepress operations from the 50s to the 90s, including an artist’s work station, platemaking department and proofing. We find we are embarrassingly low or completely missing film negatives, film halftones — contact screenboth B&W and color — proofs, paste-ups, rubyliths, contact screens, registration punches, etc. If you can part with a few, please contact our executive director at

We want to show how it was done before computers!

The Museum of Printing is dedicated to preserving the history of the graphic arts, printing equipment and printing craftsmanship.

In addition to many special collections and small exhibits, the Museum contains hundreds of antique printing, typesetting and bindery machines, as well as a library of books and printing related documents. A knowledgeable tour guide takes visitors around.

The Museum sits on the spacious North Andover, Massachusetts town common with free parking, only a mile from Interstate Highway 495 (see Directions).

Museum facade

A non-profit organization, the Museum was incorporated in 1978 as The Friends of The Museum of Printing, Inc., to save printing equipment and library materials associated with arcane technologies. The history of printing has changed dramatically during the last 200 years, moving away from letterpress printing to photographic and electronic technologies. We tell the stories of these changes using one of the world’s largest collections of printing hardware (see Collection).

The ground floor of our 25,000 sq. ft. building contains two 90-foot galleries, a large lobby, a library and access to the library’s archival stacks (four floors). The Robert L. Richter Memorial Library is named after one of the two people who began the museum effort (see Library). The second floor contains a large meeting room, offices and additional future display space.

Gallery One contains a timeline history of the manufacturing of letters. The journey starts in the foundry era, which reaches back 500 years. A guide explains the transition from hand-setting individual sorts of foundry type to mechanized hot-metal typesetting and discusses the Linotype, Monotype and Ludlow linecasting machines. Along the tour route you’ll find a Monophoto and an Intertype Fotosetter, machines which attempted to use linecasting technology to transition to phototypesetting, only to fail in competition with the electronically-driven phototypesetters. Then you’ll come upon strike-on typesetters, machines designed to produce inexpensive type which could be married to the expanding offset printing market. You’ll move on to phototypesetters, where Massachusetts hi-tech companies played a dominant role. The last chapter of this type story is digital.

Contributions to the Museum are tax deductible (the Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization), and are always welcome.

Special tours and museum rental are available by contacting Kim Pickard,

Download our Letterpress Presses poster
(pdf format, 1.8 MB)
right-click or control-click (Mac) for download option

Museum of Printing poster

Download our Image Carrier Poster
(pdf format, 684 KB)
right-click or control-click (Mac) for download option

Image Carrier poster

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We are open on Saturdays from 10am to 4pm. We can open at other times for special events and group visits. To inquire about group visits, meetings, or special events, contact us at

Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children, students and seniors. No charge for members.

Showing the Linotype Demonstration by students of North Bennett St. School Demonstration