Blog

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  • The Beauty of Letterpress: Nate Williams

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    Meet Betty.

    She has done wonders for the museum, from helping us move to our new location to keeping the world's largest collection of wood type organized. But, Betty has decided to retire after 40+ years of service, leaving us stuck for a way to get to some of our vintage printing plates and other items that are housed on the higher shelves in the museum. So with the help of The Beauty of Letterpress by Neenah we are looking to get "Betty II."

    The Beauty of Letterpress by Neenah has just released a new limited edition letterpress printed piece, designed by illustrator, Nate Williams (@N8W), which is on sale to support Hamilton. The 11 x 14 (easily framable) prints are on sale now for $25 each, with 100% of the proceed going directly to Hamilton (and helping us purchase "Betty II").

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    Williams, who is known for his bold, playful,...

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  • New Impressions Juried Exhibition

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    “New Impressions” is an international, juried exhibition that showcases exploration and creativity with letterpress printing techniques. Prints from 36 artists from around the world were on display in the gallery from May 11 through June 30, 2016.Following the exhibition at Hamilton, the show is traveling to Design College Australia in Brisbane for display from August 9 through the 21, 2016. We are honored to work with our friends there to share this international exhibition.

    We were proud to show such a wonderful variety of contemporary letterpress work here at the museum and we are happy to announce our award winners:

    Aetna Award:
    Robin McCarthy
    Colorful Os
    Cape Elizabeth, Maine, United States
    Robinmccarthy-artist.com

    ...

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  • "SlowPrint Letterpress Residency Studioā€¯ established at Hamilton

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    We are happy to announce that SlowPrint Letterpress Studio will be relocating to the museum as a permanent residency studio. We are working with Peter Fraterdeus, the founder of SlowPrint, to make this very exciting transition.

    SlowPrint, now primarily an educational and fine-art printing studio, will be relocated into a 1000 sq ft space made available by the museum. The facility, to be called the “SlowPrint Letterpress Residency Studio”, will consist substantially of the material assets of Fraterdeus’ small letterpress business, including the 1960s Red Ball Heidelberg Windmill, Vandercook 219 NS, and Miehle V36 as well as various foundry and wood types.

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    “We are deeply grateful for the opportunity to become part of this renowned Museum’s wonderful family,” said Fraterdeus, “and to contribute to...

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  • Always Make Waves

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    Daniel Schneider, a graduate of the Industrial Archaeology program at Michigan Technological University, has been hard at work on a new border design. Dan got the die stamper in production for the first time in half a century and designed a new border in the process. Very little was known about this incredible machine until Dan started revealing some of its secrets. Now he is working on producing a new border that he designed.

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  • Artist in Residence: Jim Sherraden

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    Jim Sherraden, Master Printer and Archivist at Hatch Show Print, is the current Artist in Residence at Hamilton. This three-year appointment started this year. During the Memorial Day weekend he presented to a group from The Society of Typographic Arts at the museum for a workshop, organized and printed with the Enquirer Collection, and helped document portions of the collection.


    Jim Sherraden and Bill Moran printed blocks from an original "Reefer Madness" two sheet. We are thrilled to be working with Jim as we unpack and print with this exciting new collection at the museum.


    The large circus and fair prints at the end of this post are originals from Enquirer Printing. Along with the acquisition of the blocks, the museum is also receiving many original prints. This allows us to look at the original colors and registration. This information greatly enhances how we can use this massive collection.

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  • Making Mardell: An Interview with Louise Fili

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    The Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum staff is honored to partner with New York-based graphic designer Louise Fili on her first font release project. The new font, “Mardell,” is named for Hamilton retiree and wood type cutter Mardell Doubek. Lousie visited the museum for an interview on March 17, 2016. It was fun night of talking process, wood type, and design.

    This is the fourth font to be cut for the museum as part of the Wood Type Legacy Project. The project enlists internationally known designers to create original designs, naming the fonts after Hamilton Manufacturing employees who have helped preserve and carry on the rare craft of making wood type. Louise joins Matthew Carter, Erik Spiekermann and Nick Sherman who have all designed fonts for this project.

    Louise's design showcases her ongoing exploration of Italian Modernist graphics while featuring a futurist-inspired geometric design. The Mardell font is available for purchase at hamiltonwoodtype.com as a...

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  • Welcome, Silver Buckle Press!

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    We are pleased to announce a long-term agreement and collaboration with the University of Wisconsin to house the Silver Buckle Press (SBP) at our location.

    Former Hamilton Resident Artist and SBP curator for many years, Tracy Honn has been an ambassador of Hamilton since our beginning. With Tracy's plans to retire from the UW in 2016, the University determined that budget cuts would make it impossible to replace her in that role. The most creative solution is to move the SBP to Hamilton to further preserve the craft of letterpress printing though programming and education. We have set aside an area within the museum to house the SBP and maintain it as a discrete collection.

    Our plans include establishing a SBP Residency for qualified printers, give pre-scheduled tours, and make the SBP available for teachers offering instruction in hand composition, fine printing and book arts. We are excited about this ongoing partnership with the UW System, which will include opportunities to...

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  • Meet a Volunteer: Glenn Leege

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    Glenn Leege is another of our long-serving volunteers having been with us for 12 years. He retired from Hamilton in September 2003 and the very next month he was giving tours at the original museum site on Jefferson Street.

    Glenn’s history with Hamilton’s starts in May, 1959 when he responded to an ad placed by Hamilton’s in the Sturgeon Bay Press – Glenn’s hometown – for wood plant workers. He was hired on the spot. At that time, Hamilton’s was building the last wood plant structure on the north side of the main campus on Jefferson Street. That newest addition is where Glenn spent the majority of his 44-year Hamilton career working in Cabinet Assembly Dept #33. At this writing, that “newest” building is the final structure remaining on the original factory complex site.

    Glenn lives in Two Rivers with Judy, his wife of 55 years. They have 3 daughters and 2 grandchildren. In his spare time he likes to travel and has visited many...

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  • Hamilton Stories: Don Konop

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    This weekend Don Konop shared with us his Hamilton story. Don was hired at the Hamilton Manufacturing Company in January of 1959 as a machine hand working on various type of machinery. After many years and promotions from Cabinet Maker to General Supervisor, he ended up being the Plant Manager of the entire wood plant. He regaled us with many tales, including what it was like to be in the Hamilton Marching Band. Don is now the President of the Two Rivers Historical Society and we are very happy to work with him.

    Hamilton Stories: An Oral History is a six-event speaker series celebrating Hamilton Manufacturing Company’s occupational heritage and the process of making wood type. This was the third event in this series. The museum is recording and preserving the memories of original Hamilton employees who worked in the company’s type cutting area. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National...

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  • Useful Things Workshop with Tracy Honn

    We had a really fun workshop this past weekend with Tracy Honn of Silver Buckle Press. She led the way as workshop attendees created wrapping paper, tags, and ornaments using wood type and hand-cut imagery. Students came from Green Bay, Madison, Chicago and just down the street in Manitowoc. What a great way to spend the day!

    Here is Tracy's supply list for the workshop:
    Paper
    Eames Architectural from Neenah
    Eames White Diffused, 50 lb. text, 25x38”

    Appleton Coated Curious Collection
    Curious Metallics Gold Leaf, 80 lb. text

    Coaster Stock
    Purchased from Katz Americas. They have round and square, 3.5 and 4 inch blanks, various weights.

    Japanese Hole Punch
    Colophon Book Arts Supply in the “miscellaneous goodies” section. Talas also carries these under the name Japanese Push Drill.

    Speedball Flexible Printing Plates
    Dick Blick carries them...

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  • Hamilton Stories: Norb Brylski

    If we think of Norb Brylski as the museum's godfather, he surely didn't disappoint in the second round of our oral history series. Norb's history began in Pulaski Wisconsin, where he worked and operated his own shop in that town. From his beginning at Hamilton in the early 60s, this is the story of a man who adapted to all the tasks he was asked to learn. Pattern maker, wood finisher, sander and type cutter are a few of the thing's Professor Brylski expounded upon in the interview. A voice that took us from the Hamilton factory, through the rise and fall of HWT, and then to becoming one of the best loved volunteers at the new Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, Norbert Brylski shared his wealth of stories and personal past.

    Hamilton Stories: An Oral History is a six-event speaker series celebrating Hamilton Manufacturing Company’s occupational heritage and the process of making wood type. The museum is recording and preserving the memories of original Hamilton employees who worked...

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  • I Wanted to Build Something Else for the Museum

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    Last winter I built a bunch of display cases so the Hamilton Museum could show 
off more of their wood type collection. I looked at the Wish List a while ago and
 saw a need for strong tables for workshop areas. I figured maybe I could make 
some.

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I know wood working well enough to make some tables, but strong tables made
 out of wood would probably be quite heavy. So I thought I should try making a
 table out of steel to see what design would work to be strong and light weight.

    I joined a hackerspace in Chicago two years ago. It’s a place with lots of tools and 
benches where members can work on whatever kind of building project they like.
 It’s sort of like having your own shop but quite a bit bigger. The tools include
 every kind of power tool there is, from metal cutting bandsaws, lathes and 
welders to wood planers and table saws.

    I got a short introduction to arc welding...

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  • Hamilton Stories: Kenny Koenig

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    Master carpenter Kenny Koenig gave an engaging interview for Hamilton's first of six oral histories at the museum. With his tenure of employment spanning the 70s until the plant closing, his is a unique voice to preserve. From information regarding everything from kiln drying wood for type, to knowledge of the "type shop" and observing the closing of the plant first-hand, Kenny provided us with great insights into an important period in the company's history.

    Hamilton Stories: An Oral History is a six-event speaker series celebrating Hamilton Manufacturing Company’s occupational heritage and the process of making wood type. The museum is recording and preserving the memories of original Hamilton employees who worked in the company’s type cutting area. 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.

    Check out the program page for more information about this series and see upcoming dates!

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  • Wayzgoose 2015

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    The geese have flocked and flown from Hamilton for another year. Wayzgoose 2015 was a warm and wonderful success due to the over 200 fans and family that celebrated the weekend.

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    We are thrilled at the fact that the event begins earlier each year and Thursday morning already had close to 30 of us in the building. All of the last second details were managed by the the entire group of volunteers, staff, and helpful friends.

    Friday's workshops had sold out weeks earlier and presenters Dan Elliot, Laurie Corral, Eric Woods, and Mel Stockwell spent the day showin' their stuff.

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  • Jim and Bill visit Italy!

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    Tipoteca Italiana in Cornuda, Italy hosted this year's Association of European Printing Museums conference on October 2nd and 3rd. With a focus on the significance of typographical collections, conference speakers emphasized the relevance of these collections in today's graphic communication. Jim Moran, our Museum Director, and our Artistic Director, Bill Moran were presented at the conference. They had a great week at our sister museum visiting with individuals from around the world that are all interested in printing heritage and the ways it can be shared through different approaches and experiences.


    This is part 1 of a 2 part blog post. Stay tuned for Jim's first hand story of the trip!

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  • Limited Edition Jersey Cream Print

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    Neenah Paper just released Jersey Cream, which is the 12th Edition printed for The Beauty of Letterpress. Jim Moran, Museum Director, produced this very limited, special edition, 12.5" x 19" print. Only 100 prints are available for sale, all proceeds from the $100 purchase price go to help support The Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum. Jim selected the Jersey Cream image for its history and ties to Hamilton. The large, vintage wood blocks were cut over 120 years ago at Hamilton Manufacturing. “It feels amazing to bring images back to life that haven't seen ink for over a century." Make sure to get yourself a print before they are gone and check out the other cool prints featured on The Beauty of Letterpress website.

    And for more insight into the process you can watch the videos of Fox 11 News interviewing Jim Moran, our museum director.

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  • University of Kansas Workshop

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    For the last five years, instructors Linda Samson Talleur and Andrea Herstowski have brought students from Lawrence, Kansas to our museum for a week long workshop. Students earn college credit while printing to their hearts content with the museum's wood type. This year they created an abecedary about Two Rivers in their workshop. An abecedary is an ABC book where each letter stands for a thing, place, or name. It is always a pleasure work with these Visual Communications students and their book turned out great!

    If you would like to arrange a private full-day workshop for your group contact the museum to check dates and get more information at info@woodtype.org.

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  • A Monumental Task: Windgate Resident Project Managers

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    Through a gracious contribution from the Windgate Foundation, Hamilton has embarked on an organizational project to catalog the museum’s collection.

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    This summer, we have brought on two individuals to direct those programs. Our first Windgate Resident Project Manager is Heather Buechler of Chicago, charged with organizing the museum’s Globe Collection of decorative and advertising blocks. No stranger to Hamilton, Heather was a “Transit Resident” last summer and became familiar with much of our collection.

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    Over the course of the summer, Heather has been able to sort through the entire 2000 block collection and separate them into categories as well as combining multi-colored plates to create an extremely workable body that allows us...

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  • Bookmaking Workshops at the Museum

    We offer bookmaking workshops at the museum. In class you will see different alternative forms on the selected structure, discuss variations, create a finished book, and leave with detailed instructions so that you can create more books at home. This year we already made Blizzard Books, Japanese Stab Bindings, and Long & Link Stitch Books. Sign up for a workshop today to join in the fun!

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  • Hamilton Open House

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    Thanks to everyone who joined us for the Open House the museum held last month. It was a great day of printing posters, visiting with friends near and far, and seeing type cutting demonstrations on the pantograph.

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  • Giving New Life to an old Hamilton Drafting Table: Final Construction

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    Follow along as guest blogger, Doug Murray, goes through the process of refurbishing an old Hamilton drafting table found in a barn! This is the final installment, so make sure you start at the beginning with his first post.

    The end of an era! I can’t believe it’s over. This desk started as a massive pile of flotsam and materialized into a serious labor of love. I had no idea how satisfying it could be to restore such an amazingly classic Hamilton drafting table.

    The initial phase of construction was the frame, which went together very smoothly. Long eight inch bolts ran through all the preset holes and mated up with their specific support posts and beams with half inch nuts. The frame was only seven pieces, but this was an excellent “footprint” to see where this large desk could actually fit. Moving around the frame was ideal. I was...

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  • Giving New Life to an old Hamilton Drafting Table: Sanding, Stain, and Finish

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    Follow along as guest blogger, Doug Murray, goes through the process of refurbishing an old Hamilton drafting table found in a barn! This is part 4, so make sure you start at the beginning with his first post.

    Final Sanding, Stain Application and Protective Varnish Finish

    Well I’m in this project about a month already and I can kind of see the finish line. I have to remind myself, “Don’t get impatient! This is the point of the project where rushing will cost you greatly.”

    I’ll talk a little bit about my finishing process and then explain how the Hamilton desk was fine tuned. After all the repairs and sanding, it’s good to go over every piece with a fine grit sandpaper; 180 to 220 will do just fine. Then take a towel and give all the pieces a good rub to remove all particles and contaminants. Some people like to use a...

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  • Giving New Life to an old Hamilton Drafting Table: Repair Time!

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    Follow along as guest blogger, Doug Murray, goes through the process of refurbishing an old Hamilton drafting table found in a barn! This is part 3, so make sure you start at the beginning with his first post.

    Well the good news about getting through major steps in a big project is the sense of accomplishment you feel when achieving goals. After section 2, I was very excited to be done with the varnish and stain removal. The bad news is that people sometimes apply dark stains when they are trying to hide blemishes. In the case of my Hamilton desk, this was an understatement.

    Removing the dark stain and varnish did reveal the beautiful bare oak grain. What it also exposed was 60 years of use, wear and tear and abuse. In some ways, when you are restoring classical pieces, it is good to leave the blemishes that show the pieces natural age. Leaving some wear and...

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  • Giving New Life to an old Hamilton Drafting Table: Stain and Varnish Removal

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    Follow along as guest blogger, Doug Murray, goes through the process of refurbishing an old Hamilton drafting table found in a barn! This is part 2, so make sure you see his first post.

    Stain and varnish removal is no fun at all! When considering the scale of any project, this is probably the most labor intensive stage. My Hamilton desk is composed of 34 individual wood pieces. Unfortunately, the previous owner decided to apply a deep brown stain on top of the original faded varnish. They then applied several layers of a hi-gloss varnish. This created a nasty tar-like look. I’m sure when they completed the application, they were very disappointed with the results. The problem with staining and varnishing without properly preparing the surfaces is that the finished product will never look good.

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  • Giving New Life to an old Hamilton Drafting Table: The Beginning

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    Follow along as guest blogger, Doug Murray, goes through the process of refurbishing an old Hamilton drafting table found in a barn!

    Oay, Here we go! I found this desk on Craigslist stuffed in the back of an old barn in Massachusetts. The project was massive from day 1. I somehow managed to stuff the entire collection of scraps and boards into my pick up and headed off down the road wondering how the hell I was going to fit this project in my studio!

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    The good news is that everything fit in the studio, the bad news is, there's very little working space. When the previous owner declared the desktop to be 88 inches wide by 48, I laughed and figured he had messed up his measurement. My jaw dropped when I starting grasping the scale of the drawers, cabinets and that massive desktop. His math was accurate, much to my chagrin.

    When stepping out and committing to a restoration project on any piece, you should...

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