New Building Update
We are in possession of the new (well, new to us) building in Haverhill — 15 Thornton Avenue, Haverhill, MA 01832, to be exact. Renovations are underway to make this a world class printing museum — and we have visited many throughout the world to compare and inspire. We’re currently replacing the 40 year old linoleum with richer, feet-easy materials. A wall has to come down to give us better flow and an expanded store.
Our first open library will have comfortable seating, video screens for historic graphic arts moviesm and we will be able to continuously open to members. The second library will house the Linotype library as well as other historic materials — our font masters, rare books and memorabilia in a secure airy space. The second library is being fully funded by a generous individual donation.
We are asking your help by donating to the rest of the renovations or fully funding individual projects such as new, detailed signage and self-guided tour materials, exterior paint and roof maintenance. Read our contribution overview (pdf) and make a secure donation online.
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.
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.
Pre-press materials wanted
Our 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 — both 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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).
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.