Printing themed mosaics that will be part of the exhibit at NMIH.
We enjoyed a visit from folks from the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem. They are working on a printing exhibit that will open next year, though we’re anxious to return the visit to their place as soon as possible. You can check it out here.
Frank Romano, Professor Emeritus of the Museum of Printing in Haverhill (that’s pronounced HAY-verill) Massachusetts was in the area at the invite of Paul from the print shop and I was able to spend two days touring around the County. We visited an Amish print shop, Stevens Tech, Millersville University, the Railroad Museum of PA, the Heritage Printing Museum, .918 Club, the Ephrata Cloister, two Ben Franklin statues, and of course the Conestoga Press… where of course I got NO pictures. Enjoyed hearing the talks to the two colleges and the .918 Club as well as learning much at each stop and the conversation in the car. Here he photographs the press at the Cloister.
Paul makes the final turn to make a print on the Book Beetle.
Two of us were able to travel to the Smithsonian for a letterpress event sponsored by the American Printing History Association. Several Kelsey’s were set up for kids (including us) to print souvenirs. A small assortment of interesting items from storage were on special display including several small models, a small tabletop iron press, an aluminum take-apart spy press in a briefcase, and a small card press complete with specially sized type. Josef Beery was on hand with one of his Book Beetle Presses which Paul makes a print on here.
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I wasn’t able to be in the print shop last Saturday because of several days at a meeting west of Baltimore. Sitting in the hotel I realized we were only 15 minutes from the grave of the inventor of the Linotype. I had planned the visit as part of another trip to Inner Harbor, but didn’t have time to make it to the cemetery. With the help of staff I was able to quickly find it and also found it adorned by a “Happy Birthday” piece of linotype.
My biggest thrill is postively identifying a type, especially when it is an older ornate type that may have some historical significance. We have that and we have several unknown serif styles that are close to one thing or another, but not anything in the massive type books we have. This one is an early one that’s even more exciting because it’s in good shape although quantity-wise there’s enough for some titles, but not much more. By it’s nature, though you wouldn’t be doing paragraphs of it anyway. We have it in 24 and 36 point without any missing letters as far as I can tell. I’m still looking for the “and” pieces though. I’m hoping they were placed somewhere with borders or graphics.
Three of us were guest printers at the Ephrata Cloister during Charter Day, a day when all PA state historic properties are open free. The day was very cold and the print shop there was only slightly better heated than at our Conestoga Press. It was also helpful to have something close to a production run on the new press to see what must be done to it to get it printing.
Jeff makes some adjustments to the new reproduction English Common Press at the Ephrata Cloister. The press will once again allow demonstrations on a wooden press at the site. The Ouram press, just out of view in this photo is beautiful, but can’t be used to print because of it’s historical value. The Cloister was the bginning of the rich history of printing in the area and is just a few blocks from the Conestoga Press. Along with the Heritage Press and other local history, Ephrata is a great destination for those interested in letterpress.
We have a unique opportunity to support a printer and a hiker on Kickstarter. Lindsay Schmittle, owner, designer and printer of Gingerly Press is planning to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail next year. To support this effort she has started a Kickstarter Project where for your support you can receive some pretty cool printed notebooks and/or prints. Check it out. Lindsay is one of our favorite Pennsylvania letterpress folks and she produces some very creative work that celebrates the old processes, but at the same time takes them to a new horizon.
The Conestoga Press is part of the Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley and housed in the Carriage House of the Theodore Sprecher Museum at 249 West Main Street, Ephrata, Pennsylvania. It is operated by volunteers most Saturday mornings and during special events. See our Google Group Forum for current Schedule announcements.