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The Museum is open!
We are open on Saturday from 10am to 4pm. We can open at other times for special events and group visits. Contact us at .
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.
We’ve been here before
Kathryn Hughes writes in the Guardian on paradigm shifts in book publishing:
In his Booker speech, Barnes suggested that the reason the book’s material presence matters so much right now is because of the challenge of e-readers, which tend to make all novels look alike. After three or four false starts, 2011 turned out to be the much-anticipated tipping point, when the Kindle, Sony reader and iPad no longer attracted suspicious stares when spotted out in public. By May this year both Amazon and Waterstones were reporting that ebooks now easily outsell hardbacks in the UK.
It may feel like Armageddon, but in fact we have been here before. In the mid-19th century, the shift from making paper out of expensive cloth to cheaper wood pulp unleashed a new era of mass-market publishing. Driven by growing literacy rates among the working class, the result was a flood of cheap identikit books, all flimsy paper and cardboard covers. The chattering classes looked on horrified, convinced that Literature – and the publishers and writers who depended on it for their livelihood – was doomed to extinction.
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.
Michael and Winifred Bixler Monotype Broadside available
Mike Bixler of Bixler Press &Letterfoundry (Michael & Winifred Bixler of Skaneatles, NY) produced a beautiful 15″ × 24″ 2-color broadside featuring rare Monotype typefaces surrounded by an exquisite border. They have donated a small quantity to the Museum which can be purchased any Saturday between 10am and 4pm. $30 each ($25 for members)
Click on thumbnail to enlarge picture.
The Museum of Printing hosts tours, lectures, and workshops for students of all ages. One recent group was the most fun. On the North Shore of Massachusetts there is a loose organization of parents who home school their children. They visit cultural or other venues as a group. The Museum set up a program to tell the story of print at a child’s level. Each child set type, inked it, and printed their name on a table-top showcard press. One of the older kids served as the printer’s devil. A great time was held by all, including the instructor.
Printing on a Wooden Common Press
Gary Gregory’s wooden common press at the Museum of Printing was the centerpiece for a unique Museum workshop. Registrants had the opportunity to set metal or wood type, lock it up in a chase, ink it with an “ink ball” and then print it — just as colonial printers did. They learned the history of the common press from Gary, who donned colonial garb, with help from Ted Leigh and Glenn LeDoux on composition. They took away samples of their own work and a special experience that is not available anywhere else.
They came to the Fair
The 7th Annual Printing Arts Fair took place at the Museum of Printing on a sunny Father’s Day, punctuated by a very short rain shower. Many families were counted among the 400-plus attendees, who saw demonstrations of papermaking, stone lithography, intaglio printing, Ludlow and Linotype linecasting, and other book arts.
Over 30 exhibitors offered note books, cards, rare books, antique equipment, ephemera, and other articles. Children could print wood type and pictorial cuts as well as Father’s Day cards.
The centerpiece of the event was our steamroller printing (for the second year in a row). Sally Abugov and her band of 28 linoleum block carvers created a wonderful set of alphabetic designs with floral/fauna themes. The individual blocks were printed in different colors and sold at the Fair.
A great time was had by all.
The end of an era
Louis Moyroud just died. Doesn’t ring a bell? He and Rene Higonet invented photographic typesetting. Oh, phototypesetting does not ring a bell either? From the 1950s to the 1990s, we set type using photographic techniques, exposing miles of photo-sensitive paper and film. The printing industry moved to CTP in the 1990s and digital printing in the 2000s, but the era of pre-press automation began with Louis and Rene. Rene died in 1983. Louis died on June 30 at the age of 95.
It was a privilege to call Louis my friend. I first met him in 1969 when I began as advertising manager for Photon, the company that brought his products to market. He was a prolific inventor and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
He and Higonet began their experiments in France just after WW II. In 1946 Higonet came to the US and looked up Vannever Bush, president of MIT and President Roosevelt’s advisor on technology. Bush put Higonet in contact with Bill Garth, who had a company in Cambridge, MA called Lithomat. They made paper masters for offset duplicator presses.
Garth formed a foundation to support the development of photographic typesetting. The first machine, Petunia, set the first book photographically “The Wonderful World of Insects” in 1949. But the foundation wanted a bigger machine that could do more — because the Foundation’s members were big newspapers, book printers, and typesetting services. After a few more years the Model 200B came out and it started a revolution in printing pre-press.
Garth was forced out and started Compugraphic Corp. with Ellis Hansen to produce the small machine he really wanted. I later followed Bill and became the first Marketing Communications Manager at CG. But I kept in touch with Louis who went on to develop a line of phototypesetters — the 570s, 713s, Zips, and Pacesetters.
He worked from his lab in Florida with Grant Morgan and Higonet’s nephew Trevor. When Photon was absorbed into Dymo in 1971, Louis retired.
He had a wonderful sense of humor and an unassuming demeanor. He had collected most of the early phototypesetters and donated them to the Museum of Printing in North Andover. Petunia is on display.
John Crosfield, Rudolf Hell, Benny Landa, and Dan Gelbart are among the inventors who moved the printing industry to new levels, but the era of automation began with Louis and Rene.
Louis is now gone and revolution he began is now ended. But other revolutions continue.
[New York Times obituary here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/02/business/media/02moyroud.html?_r=4&ref=obituaries]