Last week some members of the Design Club took a trip to Moonstruck Press, a local letterpressing studio. It was quite an experience, one that made me wish that I had access to this type of machinery because I would be setting and printing type ALL THE TIME!
We got to see drawers upon drawers of type and images. The cases, type and machines were several of hundreds of years old. There was also a interesting mix of metal and wood type in many sizes. Along with being able to see how metal type was set and being able to do it ourselves, we got to see and use a Ludlow Typograph. With a Ludlow Typograph, you can create lines of metal type and print it. Something like that would be useful if you were going to be printing the same word or sentence over and over again. The beauty of this is also that once you no longer need it, you can throw it back into the pot of lead and once its melted you can reuse it! We also got to use Thermographic printing, which creates a shiny and raised look to the type.
I learned also that there is a Museum of Printing in Andover, MA which I think would make an awesome trip for the design club next year. If I could make it out to Wisconsin, I would love to visit the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum.
Being able to see all this was an amazing experience. It is one thing to know that printing presses were used hundreds of years ago to create printed materials, but it is another thing to actually see it. Being able to see how everything works, and being able to create something yourself is amazing. If anyone ever has an opportunity to do this should take advantage of it. Here are the three variations that I ended up printing (click for larger view!):