Yes, we may be partial here because we are letterpress printers. We love the unmistakeable look of letterpress, but we also love the craft that goes into creating a letterpress printed invitation.
Letterpress printing was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century. With changes to technology late in the 20th century, letterpress printers began discarding their pressses. These presses were able to be acquired inexpensively by artisans. Late in the 1990's Martha Stewart began featuring photos of letterpress invitations, and the popularity of letterpress printing increased.
Letterpress printing can be done with moveable type and with polymer or metal plates. The type or plate is inked and pressed into the paper, leaving the inked impression in the paper. A blind impression is when the type or plate is used without ink, as shown in this photo with the image of the dragonfly.
Letterpress printing is a labor of love. Each piece of paper is fed into the press individually and each color is printed seperately. After each color is printed, the press needs to be cleaned of ink, and the press needs to be set up to print the next color. Part of that process is aligning the type or plate to line up perfectly with the first color (called registration). And no, it's not always as easy as it sounds. Things like temperature and humidity levels can change how the press prints. It takes skill and LOTS of practice for a letterpress printer to learn how to adjust to the quirks letterpress printing can pose, but when it comes together it's beautiful.
Our Chandler & Price platen press was manufactured in 1907 and rescued from a wonderful gentleman in Virginia who had kept it in his carport for years. He was an elderly man who had used the press to print books, but hadn't used his equipment for many years. It took two days for us to load up the equipment and another full day to unload it when we returned home. We spent six months cleaning and restoring the press so it could be used again. We call her "The Baby".
And finally, some of our favorite projects...
Ready to get your project started? Give us a call at: 844-724-7533.