Mofo from the Hood's Blog

Nov. 4, 2011 at 10:00pm

QUANTUM FOAM 8: Letterpressman from the 20th Century

Whatever Is, Is

comments [11]  |  posted under Mofo from the Hood, Tacoma


by Mofo from the Hood on 11/5/2011 @ 11:35pm
The Heidelberg automatic platen Model T 10" x15" as shown above is typically operated by one pressman.

by ixia on 11/6/2011 @ 12:19am
What's Tim Eyman doing in this picture?

by Mofo from the Hood on 11/7/2011 @ 10:12pm
About ten years ago a graphic designer friend informed me of a cottage industry revival of letterpress printing. The demand was generated by women for women, and the products included primarily wedding invitations, social announcements and related stationery.

When I asked my designer friend how this letterpress printing revival might have started, she said that Martha Stewart, through her woman's magazine and television show, had contributed to the demand by showing examples of letterpress products to her arts and craft centered audience.

So after hearing this, and aware of the small number of industrial grade letterpressman in the country, I decided to search the internet for newly started letterpress shops in the Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia area. I was surprised to find that throughout the Northwest, at least a dozen independent designers and letterpress printers have set up commercial shops; and many are woman owned.

This trend is interesting to me personally because for many years I was a card-carrying union letterpressman in an industry which is still to this day male dominated. The conditions of the work---mechanical noise, ink and solvent fumes, risk of delaying or ruining a project, risk of physical injury---require a constant state of alertness.

In an environment where one is expected to set the standard for excellence, I produced hundreds of jobs that required printing, numbering, creasing, perforating, die-cutting, embossing, and foil stamping. According to shop rules, every job required individual time accounting posted to a daily form in 15 minute increments with triple number codes.

The following list of industrial grade presses that I operated and maintained are all letterpress machines. I have no intention of operating any of them again.

1) Heidelberg automatic platen Model T 10" x15"
2) Heidelberg Model GTP 13" x 18" Special Cutter and Creaser for Foil Blocking and Hot Embossing
3) Miehle Model V-50x 14" x 20", vertical cylinder
4) Miller 21" x 28" TW Two-Color, flatbed cylinder
5) Kluge platen 12" x 18" with automatic feeder
6) Chandler & Price platen 10" x 15" treadle and hand feed operation

by low bar on 11/8/2011 @ 8:11am
it's the first form of internet

by NineInchNachos on 11/8/2011 @ 8:19am
anyone going to the downtown letter press center brainstorming meeting?

by CassieInUP on 11/8/2011 @ 12:55pm
OK, those are the cleanest, most well-dressed and well-coiffed pressmen I have ever seen! Except at a trade show, but even then it's iffy. Thanks for this series, I love to geek out with print stuff and remember how things were back in the day.

RR- Good thinking to include the link to the PD article about the Tacoma Print Arts Center brainstorming session tomorrow.

by NineInchNachos on 11/8/2011 @ 1:10pm
I'm going to try and make it after the walmart protest drop in...

by Maria on 11/8/2011 @ 1:54pm
Details of the above mentioned Tacoma Print Arts Center brainstorming meeting:

Get Excited: Advancing Print Arts in Tacoma
7pm on November 9th
at The Nurture Healing Center
739 Saint Helens Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98402

Special guest Rory Sparks will speak on the genesis and operations of the Portland book arts center Em Space, after which she will be available for questions. This gathering is an opportunity to learn more about the future of Tacoma's print arts, to identify yourself as an interested participant, and to help shape the next steps in Tacoma's creative culture.

Email for details.

by Maria on 11/8/2011 @ 1:55pm
PS. I'd love to go if I can make the time. Lots of evening events this week, though.

by NineInchNachos on 11/9/2011 @ 8:01pm
so lame. I tried to find this location... No luck!

no help

no help

Am I crazy?

by JesseHillFan on 11/9/2011 @ 10:46pm
We all are NiN (RRA).

You should be printing currency though.


This is my real-time novel, "Idealism in Tacoma," which will attempt to sort out the virtual new order I discovered in local blogs and in local 'hoods. I welcome you to join me as I press on in search of answers to the ongoing question: "Is it new?"

NEW! for 2011:
"QUANTUM FOAM," the second real-time novel by Mofo from the Hood, is happening now!

"For whatever mysterious reason, I must act beyond the role of spectator. Something beyond a portable history must be explored.

Therefore in order for me to define the concepts and categories of realities beyond the realm of my real-time novel "Idealism in Tacoma," a wholly other discourse must take form.

Ladies and whatever, let us go forth into the unknown dimension of imagination. I hereby offer you my all new materialist inspired "out of nothing" real-time novel: 'QUANTUM FOAM'."

Also For Your Enjoyment:
"The Mofo News Network" aka MNN is one of the world's most trusted sources of news and entertainment--MFTH, Founder*

"Sunday Scriber" series. 36 episodes from May 2008 to July 2011. Perpetual status. A practical look at why survival and freedom depends on knowing what is good, acceptable, and perfect.
*MFTH was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington USA. As a lifelong resident, uninspired by money, power, or fame, he eventually resorted to reading internet blogs, sometimes at the public library. In May, 2008, during the Great Recession, he started "Mofo from the Hood's Blog" on, because it was free. If this blog ever helps him to attain money, power, and fame, he will probably stay in Tacoma.

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