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Re: letterpress...



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          CENTRAL NEW YORK BOOK ARTS: TRADITIONAL TO INNOVATIVE
           See The Exhibition Online, And Order Your Catalog.
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David,

Good to know there are so many letterpress folks out there!!  who knew!!??
<smile>
thanks for the history -context - lesson!!!  Just what I needed! <grin>
Sue

David Rose wrote:

>              ***********************************************
>           CENTRAL NEW YORK BOOK ARTS: TRADITIONAL TO INNOVATIVE
>            See The Exhibition Online, And Order Your Catalog.
>                       <http://www.philobiblon.com>
>              ***********************************************
>
> Sue,
>      As you can see, you've certainly touched a nerve (or maybe a
> funny-bone!) There are many, many of us out there who are into letterpress.
> Everything you've heard so far has been good advice, including the APA and
> AAPA sites, and of course the inimitable Briar Press web site
> (http://www.briarpress.org/) which should DEFINITELY be one of the first
> places you look. Not only do they have a wonderful online museum of
> letterpress equipment, but they also have one of the most active online
> classified sections around, where you can find equipment to buy and sell.
>      To put things in perspective, after Johann Gutenberg produced the
> first book from movable type in 1451, the technology (letterpress) remained
> *virtually unchanged* for about 500 years! Then, in the fifty years since,
> we have had not one, but TWO complete inversions in technology. The
> photo-composition/paste-up/mechanical technology that you grew up on was
> actually a short-lived interstitial technology that lasted from the
> late-fifties or so until the early nineties. These days, everything is done
> by computer and digital reproduction, and students coming out of art school
> today probably have no idea at all as to what "paste-up" means, let alone
> "letterpress"!
>      As Don, Bruce and the others have pointed out, we letterpressers have
> our own mail list, called LETPRESS, which has over 600(!) active members,
> including many of the most eminent scholars and practitioners in the field.
> It is full of wonderful, funny, cranky, printers, who love nothing more
> than giving advice to people asking questions about letterpress [grin].
> There is also a substantial overlap (maybe 25-30%?) with this list.
>      To quickly answer your question about buying a press, there are no new
> ones being manufactured these days, but since they were around for five
> hundred years, and only completely died out in the past decade, there are
> quite a few used ones available. These are, of course, considered antiques
> [grin]. Depending on the size and type of press you would like to get, you
> will find them more or less available, and priced anywhere from free to
> $2000. Paradoxically, it is the smaller presses which can get pricey,
> because they are so much in demand. A nice Craftsmen Pilot hand-powered
> press, for example, which weighs about 100 pounds and can sit on a sturdy
> table, might go for $250-$500 or so. But a larger, floor-model,
> treadle-powered, Chandler & Price unit might be available for
> $100-$200...but you'll have to go pick it up with a rigger (or at least a
> truck and some strong backs.)
>      Most of the supplies you would need to print are still available from
> folks like NA Graphics in Silverton, CO,
> (http://www.printmart.com/ads/970-387-0212.htm) and you should figure out
> shelling out another few hundred for all the various stuff you'd require to
> get started (type, solvents, ink, paper, composing stick, etc.) The only
> problem is that lettepress ownership is even worse than LETPRESS list
> membership: it is COMPLETELY addictive! Most of us end up like Bruce: after
> you've got your first press, what initially seemed impossible (finding a
> press in the first place) soon becomes routine, and you will be amazed at
> all the equipment that wanders into your home (or basement, or barn, or
> warehouse...) I can't tell you  how many presses I have, because word might
> leak back to my spouse...and I'd be dead meat!
>      So, welcome to this wonderful word, follow the links, join LETPRESS,
> fire away with questions...printers love nothing more than helping
> indoctrinate newcomers into the mysterious Black Art (as it has been known
> for 500 years!)
>
> -David S. Rose
>  Five Roses Press
>  New York, NY
>
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