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What is it?
Frankly, we’re stumped.
This device is about 12×14 inches with a handle on one side for moving it, rollers on the impression side for what appears to be positioning it on a track. The relief letters appear to be for pressing against some substrate to transfer the characters or punching into a softer material. The flip side is engraved with the alphabet with various sizes from 30 and 48 to 60 points, and numbers in the upper row at 120 points. And lower row at 30 points. Each character is next to a recessed shaft that looks like a plunger would press against it to make the impression. It weighs over 20 pounds.
If you have any idea what this is, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. It has been a puzzlement around here — and our members are pretty darn good a identifying the arcane and bizarre.
MoP Stalwart highlighted in WSJ article
CHICOPEE, Mass. — John Barrett decided to gather a little printing intelligence. “Have you seen any interest in, or need for, hashtags?” he asked a customer he was showing around Letterpress Things, his 6,500-square-foot store in a former paper warehouse in Chicopee, Mass. Read more >
Type families and visual systems
Type lovers! There’s an excellent article on type families & systems on the FontShop website: “From compressed light to extended ultra: Visual systems in type designs“ by Ferdinand Ulrich. Check it out.
Two New Photo Galleries
Dirty Shirts reorganize museum
“A dozen volunteers did more in a few hours than I could have done in a week,” said Ted Leigh about Saturday’s Dirty Shirt Day.
The Dirty Shirts completely reorganized the Print Gallery’s east wall, moving presses, re-arranging two proof presses, composting stones type and cut cabinets among other things creating expanded demonstration and workshop areas. Museum staff is putting together the workshop schedule for the spring and summer to take advantage of the revitalized space.
The volunteers also managed to stage and move other equipment in preparation for modifying other exhibit areas.
“It was good work,” one volunteer said, “but a lot of fun too. I got to talk with other printers and learned a lot about other shops.” The volunteers came from as far away as eastern New York, northern Vermont and western New Hampshire.
William Bonser died recently. He was co-founder of the Museum of Printing, retired teacher of printing at Groton School, and former executive for the Lowell Chamber of Commerce. He has held the title Director Emeritus of the Friends of the Museum of Printing. Bruce McIntosh informed us. His friend Kate Wilcox posted on Facebook.
Read about us in the Globe
North Andover museum makes printing indelible
NORTH ANDOVER — For some people, the world’s gradual transition from ink on paper to pixels on a screen is fraught with emotion. But there’s one place north of Boston where print still reigns supreme.
Earn the Big Bucks by volunteering at the Museum of Printing
The Museum is looking for volunteers to help with projects such as:
- Working in our Gift shop (Saturdays)
- Identifying and creating a type inventory — both wood and hot metal
- Assisting staff with exhibits and collections
- Helping move equipment
- Creating signage for equipment
- Cleaning and organizing type — especially our large collection of wood type
- Cleaning and organizing the museum
- And much, much more . . .
For each hour worked you earn a “Big Buck” worth a $1 credit in our gift Shop, Letterpress Store or applied towards workshops, equipment or anything the Museum of Printing offers.
Stop by any Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm and see if you would be interested in earning the “Big Bucks” or contact our Executive Director Kim Pickard at
CALL FOR HALFTONES
The museum is looking to mount an exhibit on photographic reproduction and find we are embarrassingly low on a few things. We need your help.
If you have a few of these to spare and can send them to us we can continue with exhibit planning.
- Halftone screens
- Metal offset plates with black and white and color halftones on them we can cut up as necessary. If you can accompany this with a few printed examples of what was printed by the plates it would be greatly appreciated.
- Flexible plates with halftones
- A rotogravure plate
- Any non-offset plates for printing images
We are especially in need of color separations and proofs.
Have a question or donation? Contact Kim Pickard, Executive Director.
Linotype: The Film
Linotype: The Film is a feature-length documentary centered around the Linotype type casting machine. Called the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by Thomas Edison, it revolutionized printing and society. The film tells the charming and emotional story of the people connected to the Linotype and how it impacted the world.
via Doug Ely
Upside Down, Left To Right: A Letterpress Film
You’ll enjoy this beautiful short film about letterpress and one of the few remaining movable-type printing workshops in the UK, situated at Plymouth University, featuring Paul Collier.
The Type Heritage Project
We’ve found an ambitious website getting underway that will be of interest to all type lovers: The Type Heritage Project. From their website:
The Type Heritage Project [THP] discovers and documents the histories of digital display fonts originally designed between c1800 and World War I:
Pre-digital tradename(s), year of issue, name and nationality of the designer and/or metal or wood (letterpress) producer.
Based on many years of spare-time research, a series of textbooks is planned. Volume I explores quintessential Victorian faces, a spectacular trove of innovative gems.
Sample PDFs of typical specimen spreads and chapter introductions are available.
This site is intended to supplement the THP textbook series with historical context interpreting all volumes and to become a history-intensive hangout for a community of researchers, revival font developers and forum participants.
Our Letterpress Workshops
The Museum of Printing runs a Basic Letterpress workshop on a regular basis. Participants do two projects, a 7×10 piece for a showcard press and a 12×18 piece for an 1880 Acorn press. They learn composition, makeready, inking, and much more. The advanced workshop covers the Vandercook.
We’re offering a new membership level
We’re offering a new membership level, and it’s a heck of a deal!
The Museum of Printing is pleased to have been added to the North American Reciprocal Museum program.
We are now able to offer a “Reciprocal Level” membership at $120/year — which entitles you to all of the benefits of our normal Family membership*, plus participation in the North American Reciprocal Museum program.
If you are a “Reciprocal Level” (or higher) member of the Museum of Printing, your membership card will automatically gain your admission to any of the 535 participating Museums in North America. 50 of these are located in New England, including the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford CT, the Worcester Museum of Art in Worcester MA, the Aldrich Contemporary Museum in Ridgefield CT, and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem MA, and many more. You can review the full list of participating Museums here:
And of course you will also get any discounts on participating Museum gift shops — so how can you lose?
You can sign up here.
(*Please note — “Family” memberships are not defined by NARM, but according to each institution’s policies. Please contact the institution you plan to visit in advance to determine their “Family” membership policy. We will be pleased to honor any other Museum’s Reciprocal “Family” level memberships at our “Family” level — which includes two adults plus children.)
Betty Superman in Letterpress
Tiff Holland’s Betty Superman is winner of the 5th annual short short chapbook contest, judged by Kim Chinquee. As with all the chapbook winners, the covers were printed for Betty Superman by hand on a Vandercook letterpress at the Museum of Printing in North Andover, Mass. For two amazing days in early June, Rebecca Saraceno and friends cranked out 350 covers — twice — once with red ink and the smoking hand, and again with the metallic silver ink and text. · Read more »
The history of colonial printing comes to life in Boston's North End
Jeremy C. Fox wrote about our friend Gary Gregory in the Boston Globe:
As groups of visitors paused in a historic home along the Freedom Trail on a recent afternoon, historian Gary Gregory showed them a reproduction of Paul Revere’s famous etching of the Boston Massacre.
Gregory described the tensions that led up to the conflict, the methods Revere used to create the etching, and his reasons for adding drama to the drawing by Henry Pelham that served as his source material.
. . .
Gregory offers this corrective view of history as part of the daily routine he began this spring at a new exhibit meant to give visitors to the city a look into its long tradition of journalism — and propaganda. The sign outside this room just around the corner from the Old North Church reads “The Printing Offices of Edes & Gill,” and inside Gregory offers his best approximation of that historic colonial print shop.
For more information about the Printing Office of Edes & Gill, visit http://bostongazette.org.
Type-loving iPad owners
will want to drop whatever they’re doing and head over to the App store to download the big yellow FontBook app. You may want to cancel all your appointments as well. Info here.
Museum of Printing acquires Charles Francis Library
From the 1880s to the 1930s, the Charles Francis Press was one of the largest American printers. Mr Francis was the major tenant in the Printing Crafts Building, 461 8th Ave in New York City (now 5 Penn Plaza), the first building designed for multiple printing industry tenants. Symbols of historic printers are still present above the main entrance.
With Theodore De Vinne, Francis helped to establish the predecessor to PIA and wrote several books on printing company management.
Mr Francis collected books and artifacts about printing history which he donated to the New York School of Printing, which was also a tenant. In 1956, the school moved into its own building on 49th Street and 10 Avenue and was re-named New York City High School of Communication Arts.
Most of the library was packed in boxes and stored away for 50 years. In 2006, RIT Professor Frank Romano and a small team of volunteers organized the collection. But the City of New York converted the building to a Gateway School for technical subjects and print was reduced to one small set of courses.
They gave some of the Francis Bibles and other personal items to Fordham University and the balance to the Museum of Printing, including the large brass memorial to Charles Francis. Letterform expert Paul Shaw acquired certain duplicates on art and design.
The Museum will have an exhibit of the Francis Collection in 2012.
The Museum of Printing in North Andover, Mass. preserves the past of printing, primarily letterpress, but also has the only collection of phototypesetting systems in the world.
Steven Heller on Jim Rimmer
No contemporary designer needs to know how to make metal type, but seeing a master do it is, for me, still thrilling. That is exactly what I felt watching “Making Faces: Metal Type in the 21st Century,” a new documentary by Richard Kegler. Read more >
Experience the Art and Craft of Letterpress Printing on your iPad
We know it sounds like a joke, but you really should check out this iPad app.