Hamilton Stories: An Oral History

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Hamilton Stories: An Oral History, a six-event speaker series at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, commemorated the occupational heritage and process of making wood type. Founded in Two Rivers, Wisconsin in 1880, the Hamilton Manufacturing Company became the largest manufacturer of wood type in the United States. As a local employer and an enduring legacy, Hamilton established a culture of quality, pride and innovation that influenced the community to this day.

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Hamilton Stories was established to preserve the stories of six former Hamilton employees who worked in the company’s wood type cutting area. Each event featured one guest speaker who shared his or her personal experience at the company. The Museum Director interviewed each speaker with a series of questions to reveal their experiences and guide audience members through the process of creating wood type. Beginning with harvesting wood, cutting letterforms on a pantograph and finally trimming finished pieces each person shared his or her unique story. The commemorative posters on display at local locations were designed for the speaker series and printed at the museum.

Each interview was recorded and we will be releasing each video on Wednesdays in August and September. Follow along on our YouTube Channel as we learn more about the process of creating wood type from the people who made it. See the first video with Kenny Koenig here.

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At each event one guest speaker shared their personal experience and craft from their time at the Hamilton Manufacturing Company.

Saturday at 2 pm, October 17, 2015
Kenny Koenig, Wood Plant
Watch his interview here.

Saturday at 2 pm, December 5, 2015
Norb Brylski, Wood Preparation & Patterns
Watch his interview here.

Saturday at 2 pm, January 16, 2016
Don Konop, Wood Plant Manager*
Watch his interview here.

*A slight change in the January schedule called for Don Konop, former Hamilton wood plant manager, to share his story in place of Lloyd Dickenshied.

Saturday at 2 pm, February 27, 2016
Mardell Doubek, Wood Type Cutting on the Pantograph
Watch her interview here.

Saturday at 2 pm, March 12, 2016
David Artz, Wood Type Trimming
Watch his interview here.

Saturday at 2 pm, April 16, 2016
Bill Ahearn, Machine Repair
Watch his interview here.

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Now that the six-event speaker series has ended, the posters from each event are going to be on display locally at Two Rivers City Hall, Lester Public Library, and UW-Manitowoc Gallery.

Two Rivers City Hall: May 1-May 31, 2016
Located at 1717 East Park Street, Two Rivers, WI 54241

Lester Public Library: June 6-July 12, 2016
Located at 1001 Adams St, Two Rivers, WI 54241

University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc: July 26-September 30, 2016
Located at 705 Viebahn St, Manitowoc, WI 54220

If you would like to purchase any of the commemorative posters they are available through Hamilton Dry Goods.

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This program is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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