Update on May 5th & June 1st: The print shop has been sold to Ball State University and it’s letterpress and book arts program in Muncie, Indiana. Workshops are no longer available.
For many reasons I have decided to sell my entire Railway Station Press print shop but not the press name or the printed inventory. Items include a Chandler & Price Old Style Pilot Press with three chases and one set of rollers, two oak type cabinets full of type, two library card catalogs full of leading, type, cuts, ornaments etc., trays of space material from 12 point to 48 point, two imposing stones, a slug cutter, a large paper cutter, a roll of tympan paper, 16 cans of VanSon Rubber Base ink, Lettra and other fine paper, many books and other associated pieces of furniture. Everything that you need to letterpress print is included such as composing sticks, quoins, wood furniture, tweezers, a bodkin and a total of 71 fonts of type and 29 type cases.
The APA (Amalgamated Printers’ Association) was founded in 1958 by letterpress printers who wanted to share their hobby. The membership is limited to 150 and each member is required to print at least four items for the monthly bundle that is mailed to each member. I belonged to the group from 2007 until 2016 when I sold my press.
The type foundry BB&S of Chicago sent artists to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair Midway to capture the images of some of the entertainers and visitors and cast them into small 60 & 72 point lead ornaments for printers to use. The full set contains 35 ornaments. The images were often taken from photographs such as the young girl or the Samoan chief shown below.
I scanned these images and had Owosso in Michigan make copper dies with the characters two inches high. The historical deck of cards includes 26 two color letterpress printed cards showing all of the 35 Midway Midgets (2 of the cards are shown at top with the box cover, and 3 of the cards are shown below) and 14 photographs (including the 3 above) that shed light on the selection of the subjects portrayed in these ornaments.
The text is 14 point Nicolas Cochin and the paper is 100% cotton Lettra. These cards are presented in a limited numbered edition of 130 boxed sets and are available for purchase for $30 each postpaid by Paypal at email@example.com or by sending a check payable to Stuart Bradley at 105 East Glendale Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301.
(please click on images to enlarge)
I was at Appomattox Court House, Virginia on Thursday, April 9th for the 150th Anniversary and minute to minute reenactment of Lee’s surrender to Grant in the Wilmer McLean house which marked the end of the Civil War. There was a very moving program with a detailed reenactment of Lee and Grant entering the McLean house and after the meeting Lee emerging, tipping his hat to the Union Generals and riding through the town on his horse. For more photos and detail on the ceremony go to www.BradleyHistory.com
The National Park Service was also letterpress printing soldiers paroles. Compare the reprint on top with an original below it. After the surrender the Union Army printed 30,000 paroles, 4 to a sheet, in 26 hours in the Tavern at Appomattox so that each Confederate soldier could return to his home unmolested.
Jim Walczak and Stan Nelson helped set this up with the Park Service. (see Jim Walczak’s description of the project below) Stan’s reproduction of the Union Army’s traveling type case was on display along with an original. (Click on scans & photos to enlarge)
Over the years Rich Hopkins of Terra Alta, West Virginia has periodically offered an opportunity for a select few to learn how to cast type metal in his printing shop for an intensive week called “Monotype University”. I had the honor to attend Monotype University 6 in June of 2005 along with Bill Welliver, William Bentley, Paul Maravelas, and David Krenz. Besides Rich Hopkins, the faculty included Jim Walczak, Mike Anderson and Dan Jones.
For my project I chose 24 point Hadriano and many days we worked from 9 in the morning until 11 at night casting in very hot weather. I only experienced one “splash” from the 700 degree molten lead pot and I managed to step back and avoid being burned. The experience has given me an appreciation of just how hard it is to make good type.
Most of the fonts in my print shop are new type and I highly recommend the type that Sky Shipley (a graduate of an earlier Monotype University) makes in Arizona. Go to Skyline Type Foundry to download a list of the wide variety of excellent fonts and borders that he offers. I do not recommend buying old, worn and incomplete type on eBay when new type is so available and affordable. Other excellent type foundries are M&H in San Francisco and Ed Rayher’s Swamp Press in Massachusetts.
Rich Hopkins has also been the long time editor (since 1978) of the ATF Newsletter which just published it’s 40th issue. ATF stands for the American Typecasting Fellowship, whose members meet every two years for a Conference. Rich can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 169 Oak Grove Road, Terra Alta, West Virginia 26764.
The Author standing in front of a Thompson Monotype caster
John Haines (1924 to 2011) served as poet laureate of Alaska. He began writing poetry after he homesteaded near Fairbanks in the 1940’s. He initially supported himself through hunting and trapping and then later by teaching. He published numerous collections of poems such as “Winter News” (1962), “News From the Glacier” (1982) and also books of essays such as “Of Traps and Snares”.
I took this photograph of John Haines in 1983 at the front door of his homestead. He gave me a zucchini from his garden. I have printed two poetry broadsides for him which he signed and numbered. Although he had numerous books published he was very pleased to have letterpress printed poetry broadsides. He passed away in 2011 at the age of 86.
“A Short History of the Republic” was hand set in 24 point Pabst Roman type with the title in 24 point Hadriano caps. This 7 by 10 inch broadside is available for purchase for $15 postpaid by Paypal at email@example.com or by sending a check payable to Stuart Bradley at 105 East Glendale Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301.
Here is a wedding invitation using 24 point Parsons with it’s 48 pt. long characters for the names of the bride and groom. I whited out some of the more personal information and have included the A7 envelope with the printed flap that I provided with the invitations. The challenge of Parsons, if you have both ascenders and descenders in the same line, is to construct a solid 72 point line of lead using space material to support the characters both above and below the main 24 point text. In this example the second line of the names the “h” goes up and includes the ampersand and the “p” and the “y” go down. (Click on scans to enlarge)
My printing mentor, Jim Walczak, very generously supplied me with several sizes of Parsons. The smaller text of the above invitation is 14 point Parsons Italic without using any long characters. Parsons is not readily available from any type founder that I know of. A 12 point version with 24 point long characters was cast by the Dale Guild in 2010 and eight fonts were offered on Briar Press. I am not aware of any other foundry that has the mats and I welcome comments from anyone who knows of a source for Parsons type.
Parsons was designed in 1917 for BB&S by Will Ransom, who thought the long characters should be used sparingly. One of my workshop students used Parsons for this project: