Blog

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  • Meet a Volunteer: Bob Mueller

    Bob Mueller is one of the museum’s longest serving volunteers. He has been here since 1995 before the museum was even open! He began volunteering upon retirement from Hamilton’s and helped move, unpack and setup the museum at its original site in the factory complex on Jefferson Street. If you’re wondering about those early days and what it was like to help create a museum from scratch, he’s your guy!

    Bob is Wisconsin born and bred. He grew up in Fort Atkinson and Appleton, attended Marquette University, attended the seminary, and married soon thereafter. He joined the Navy in the late 1950’s and taught at the Naval Amphibious Base in San Diego. In 1963, when his military service was complete, a job in lab equipment sales was waiting for him at Hamilton’s. He eventually moved into project management and ended his career at Hamilton’s with a total of 34 years which includes a 2 year return to the job from 2003-2005.

    In Two Rivers, Bob and his first...

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  • Meet a Volunteer: Darlene Guehlstorf

    The museum is known and loved worldwide for its fabulous collections, hands-on studios and workshops, exceptional events, and stunning printmaking. But the day to day running of the museum - the giving of tours, manning of the front desk, housekeeping, and other mundane but necessary tasks– could not happen without a group of dedicated volunteers. This post is the first in a series of blog posts highlighting those volunteers, the unsung heroes, that help make the museum the magical place it has become.

    Darlene Guehlstorf has been volunteering at the museum since her retirement from Hamilton’s in 2001. She started out at the original museum on Jefferson Street where she performed many of the aforementioned tasks. Her specialty though was creating woodtype nameplates used by Hamilton office employees. She could often be found diligently staining and gluing right-reading woodtype at her huge work table while simultaneously keeping an eye on museum happenings.

    Darlene is a lifelong...

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  • Drawing a Machine

    Recently, I spent most of a week at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum drawing a machine. An industrial manufacturing machine with a cast iron body and pair of heavy machined flywheels. When it was in active use in the Hamilton Manufacturing Co. factory, it was motivated by means of an overhead driveshaft, a leather belt, and a wooden three-speed pulley.

    The machine was used to make decorative wood type border pieces for embellishing posters and other large printed materials. In contrast to wood type letters, which Hamilton’s type cutters rendered in blocks of end-grain rock maple using air-driven, pantograph-mounted routers, wood type border was made using this machine — a reciprocating die press which impressed patterns into end-grain wood, leaving the printing surface in relief.

    The Hamilton Museum is fortunate that there are former Hamilton Manufacturing Co. employees still living who can share their firsthand knowledge of the...

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  • In the Woodshop: The Training has Begun

    Recently, Mardell Doubek – one of the last pantograph operators from the original Hamilton wood shop – in conjunction with the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum, was awarded a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board to participate in the Folk Arts Apprenticeship program. The purpose of the program is to help prevent native crafts from dying out by providing funding for the master craftsperson to train an apprentice. Mardell, as the mastercraftwoman, has accepted me as her apprentice. My goal is to learn as much as I can over the next year about the art and craft of cutting wood type with the ultimate goal of training a new batch of pantograph operators. Thus far, we’ve located scrap wood – don’t want to use the good stuff! - in the bowels of the museum storage area, sawed it down into 6, 12 and 18 line pieces, and have been practicing machine set-up – a very tedious, time-consuming process. One important by-product has been learning how to use the saws correctly. David...

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  • The Museum hosts the APA Wayzgoose

    The Amalgamated Printers’ Association will be holding their annual Wayzgoose at the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum this year the weekend of June 19-21st, 2014 in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. The APA consists of both professional and amateur letterpress printers, whose emphasis is on the exchange of members’ letterpress printing and information on sources of equipment and better printing practices. This Wayzgoose is a three-day affair and includes an auction, a flea market of printers’ treasures, tours of the museum, and workshops with great presenters like Rick von Holdt, Jessica Spring, Jen Farrell, Jim Horton, Scott Moore, Melinda Stockwell, and Brad Vetter (and more!). A major highlight of this gathering is visiting with other kindred spirits who love letterpress.

    Registration is now open to the public as well as APA members. Please use this site to find all the...

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  • Aaron Draplin to speak at our 1st Annual Shareholder's Meeting

    Hamilton Wood Type is proud to announce that designer Aaron Draplin will be featured as our keynote speaker for our 1st annual Shareholder's Meeting. On Saturday July 19 the museum will be open for hands-on printing sessions, hobnobbing with your fellow shareholders and Aaron's talk at 5pm. You must be a Charter Member to attend this event and you can register here.

    Why should you become a Charter Member? Because Hamilton Wood Type is a member-supported museum. The classes we offer and the merchandise we sell help make ends meet but it's our members who help the museum thrive. Our Charter Membership is a two-year membership that costs less than $5.00 per month over a two-year period. Please consider joining today.

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  • Neenah and Hamilton friends close in on $30,000 raised by The Beauty of Letterpress campaign

    Neenah Paper and The Beauty of Letterpress campaign are in their final push to raise $30,000 to help the museum get established in our new building. With only $600 remaining to go this is your chance to show some letterpress love and help Hamilton Wood Type. You can contribute here.

    The nearly $30,000 raised to support the Museum means many things. The first is a chance to protect the world's largest collection of type. The collection will not only be safe but on display with an opportunity to teach the methods that made Hamilton the nation's largest wood type maker. Additionally, the practice of making type will be reborn as we start up the original pantograph machines and bring in the retired type cutters to share their craft with new apprentices. Platen presses and show card presses will...

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  • Adventures in Brayer Calligraphy

    Mark Simonson laying down letters at the Gutenberg Museum.

    I was a bit reluctant to take up an inking roller to do some "roller calligraphy" last spring while on a tour through Europe with other type and printing geeks called Travels In Typography.

    Most of the calligraphy I've done was way back in college when I was studying graphic design, and very little since then. I'm just not that into it, which may seem strange coming from a type designer, but to me they are completely different things. Being good at one doesn't necessarily make you good at the other; sometimes quite the opposite, I think.

    Anyway, back to the tour. When we visited Mainz, Germany, home of Johannes Gutenberg, father of movable type, we had the pleasure of meeting Gundela Kleinholdermann, who is a volunteer at the Gutenberg Museum's Druckladen (print shop). Her specialty is what she calls roller calligraphy. Instead of the usual brush or pen, she uses inking rollers, the kind you use to ink a letterpress proofing press.

    Inking rollers come in all...

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  • Back to Blogging

    Now that the museum is open in the new location we have started to get back into our rhythms. Sometimes the pattern is lock-up, trip, print, while other times it flows with the coming and goings of visitors. We are happy to share what is happening at the museum, from exciting upcoming events to interesting finds as we catalog the collection. Thanks for following the museum!

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  • Help Hamilton Move: Unpacking in a New Location

    We are busy here at the new museum location.We are almost entirely out of the original location. It is strange and sad to see it so empty. However, the new location will allow us to expand in many ways. It doubles the amount of space the museum occupies, which means more of the collection will be on display, we will have dedicated residency studios, and we can develop a classroom and library. In May we will be preparing the space with new paint, new lights, and doing a few repairs. Then in June and July we hope to have many volunteers who will help us set up the new pressrooms, displays, and classrooms. We can't wait to reopen and start printing again.

    If you would like to help us unpack in our new location, at 1816 10th Street, Two Rivers, WI, please join us for one of our 'Move Events'. This is your chance to help re-open the new Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. The museum is closed to the public for tours and general admittance, but you are welcome to join us as a volunteer as the...

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  • More Packing

    We have been busy packing since the beginning of the year. And now our first truck load has gone to the new location which is only 10 blocks away from the original location at 1816 10th Street, Two Rivers, Wisconsin! You can see how many of our Hamilton friends and family have helped up pack and get to our new home.

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  • Packing up the Museum

    For the last month we have been packing up one of the largest collections of wood type in the world. Here you can see what it takes to pack up 1.5 million pieces of type, a large collection of presses and machines, and many patterns for making wood type. While it takes a lot of boxes and bubble wrap, it also takes a lot of hands. Thank you to everyone that has made the trip to Two Rivers to help wrap, pack, and move this wonderful collection. We couldn't do it without you! This move will make us a stronger organization and we cannot wait to reopen and begin printing, teaching, and giving tours again.


    Click on an image below to view more.

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  • Help Hamilton Move

    If you would like to help the museum pack and move to a new location please join us for one of our 'Move Events'. The museum is closed to the public for tours and general admittance, but you are welcome to join us as a volunteer as the museum goes forward with their move to a new location in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Check our calendar for the latest 'Move Event' dates. If you can't make any of the dates we currently have scheduled please check back, because we will constantly be updating the calendar. We have done such a wonderful job of raising money for the move because of our many supporters. This is just one more way to ensure that Two River's, printing, and design history will be preserved.

    We will be having both weekend and weekday teams for packing, moving, and unpacking in the new location. Each 'Move Event' has a team leader and (hopefully) a hearty team of volunteers. Teams of volunteers...

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  • Last Hamilton Hurrah

    On December 29th, 2012 the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum hosted an open house with printing, type cutting demonstrations, and a celebration of the legacy of the Hamilton Manufacturing Company.

    Thank you to everyone who could join us for our last open day in the museum's original location. We have a lot of work ahead of us with packing one of the premier wood type collections in the world at over 1.5 million pieces of wood type, but the event instilled even more hope in our hearts. The support from both around the world and here locally reminded us that we have a big wood type family. For those of you who couldn't make it please enjoy the wonderful photographs taken by Jeff Dawson of the local Lester Public Library. To see more please visit the flickr set. Please join us when we celebrate our reopening in our new Two Rivers location, which is yet to be announced.

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  • Hamilton & Mama's Sauce: Love Letters

    To help raise money and awareness for the museum the printers over at Mama's Sauce have dreamed up a fundraiser that unites lovely letters and great designers. They're releasing a set of 7 letterpress printed alphabet coasters inspired by the legacy and craft of the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum.

    Love Letters is made with French Paper, includes A, E, I, O, U, &, and Y. Don't miss out on a project with such a fine roster of designers: Fuzzco, Justin MezzellAaron Draplin, Dana TanamachiJon Contino, Jessica HischeRoss Moody.  These beautiful designs and their kindness has made us swoon. Get your pre-order on over at their website! They are currently taking pre-orders with completed sets expected to ship 1/25/13.

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  • Hamilton Fundraisers around the Country

    Friends of the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum have banded together to help us in our time of need. Currently there will be two fundraisers on December 15th, 2012 one in Chicago and the other in Brooklyn. A great time to come together, get some great holiday gifts, and support the museum. Information is below, but if you would like to know more please contact those organizations directly.

    Center for Book and Paper Arts
    Columbia College Chicago
    1104 S. Wabash
    2nd Fl Chicago, IL 60605

    Please join us for an open house, demonstrations, and print sale with all proceeds benefiting the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum.

    As you may know, the museum is being evicted from their current historic space and is asking for your support to make their impending move possible. Please consider donating some of your time and some of your printed material into making the dream of a new facility come true.

    There's no better time to spread...

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  • Hamilton Wood Type must move, urgently needs funding

    From our press release that was posted today:
    Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum will no longer reside in the building that bears its name. The property owners recently informed the museum that the 1619 Jefferson St. building in Two Rivers, Wisconsin will close and must be vacated, perhaps as early as February 2013.

    Hamilton Wood Type is urgently seeking donations to address this sudden need and to protect its vast collection of wood type, antique printing equipment and rare type specimen catalogs. The museum’s director Jim Moran, artistic director Bill Moran and assistant director Stephanie Carpenter remain committed to transitioning to a new space.

    “We are definitely moving and will be staying in Two Rivers,” says Jim Moran. “Unfortunately, the hopes of staying in the Hamilton building are not an option. It will be an important break in continuity for Hamilton as a manufacturer going back to 1880. However, this is an opportunity to find a...

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  • Reprieve!

    Last December brought more than winter. Just before Christmas, Thermo Fisher announced more layoffs in Two Rivers along with news that the plant’s operations were moving south to Texas and Mexico. Thermo Fisher is the owner of the complex that the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum resides in. A meeting with then General Manager of the plant was not encouraging. While the move was expected to take at least a year and a half, it was suggested that we make contingency plans to find a new home. There was a slight silver lining in those clouds. Should Thermo Fisher leave, the 150 office jobs in the main building would continue on site, and we could be around as long as the office was open. It must be noted that when the museum opened, it was due to the dedication of then General Manager, Mike Brown, to allow the Two Rivers Historical Society 20,000 sq. ft. of unused space to house the new museum. This came with an incredibly low lease which included heat and lights.

    This year brought...

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  • Wood Type in the Digital Era

    P22 type foundry  and the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum are proud to announce a partnership that brings 19th Century ingenuity into relevance with the latest online technologies. This joint venture, known as the "Hamilton Wood Type Foundry" (HWT), will see a large collection of wood type designs converted into digital fonts that can be used with the latest Webfont CSS and Opentype programming abilities. P22 is working with the Hamilton Museum and other collections of scarce printed specimens as well as actual wood type to render these classic designs into fully functioning computer fonts.



    Wood type first appeared on the printing scene in the early 1800s. This innovation allowed for letters to be made at very large sizes, previously not possible with metal type. As a result, posters and advertising materials...

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  • Return to Me

    Found while looking through pattern drawers today. "Return to me." I wonder if they ever got it back.

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  • Hamilton Open House

    On Sunday, July 22nd, the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum was packing ‘em in.  One hundred and thirteen visitors toured the museum, pulled a print and checked out the world’s largest collection of type.

    Paper pressman’s hats were folded and worn by some. Others wandered into the pressroom to learn a bit of printing. Two presses had been set up for enthusiasts to try. One was a lock up of the state of Wisconsin with Two Rivers and Manitowoc heading the top of a poster. Lock up number two was a composition made up of a myriad of businesses from the two city’s past, including Schroeder Brothers Department Store, Mirro Aluminum, Carron Net Company, Paragon Electric and the Waverly Inn. All the cuts had been donated by Malley Printing, just a block south of the museum. Curious visitors got to crank one color on one press and do an overprint on the second.

    Demonstrations of type cutting were handled by Georgie Brylski Leisch, daughter of Hamilton...

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  • Networking at Night

    Last night at the museum we hosted a Two Rivers Business Association 'Networking at Night' program. Many owners and employees from local businesses came to pull prints, learn about Hamilton's history, and see why so many people travel so far to visit our collection. It was a lively and fun evening. Our friend, Jeff Dawson, from the local Lester Public Library, took some wonderful photos of the event that you can see after the jump. Please make sure to check out more photos here on their flickr site.

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  • First Thing Today

    This morning blew in like a sauna full of fish, white fish. Lake Michigan simmered like a sea gull soup. The inside of the museum was dank with wilting paper and ink that refused to dry. Even the type was getting sticky and stuffy. Nothing could be kerned but the xxx condensed, the extendeds elbowed each other for space. The latins and romans grumbled from the lower cases and somebody had taken all the furniture. The pressroom slept like a gothic cathedral and some of the tuscans had wandered off. Quotes were tossed about in empty spaces, falling on deaf ears. No key would fit a quoin, the slugs refused to be locked up. Rules had been broken. It was time to turn on the lights.

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  • Inaugural post

    There are a lot of exciting things happening at the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum lately. To help everyone keep up with the exciting artists, designers, and groups that come to the museum we will be keeping this blog. We will update it with exciting finds that we uncover as we catalog the collection, unveil new partnerships, and print great posters. All of the staff, Jim Moran, Stephanie Carpenter, and Bill Moran will constantly post photos and information about events at the museum. There will also be guest blog posts that will expand our content and allow our friends to see what else is going on in the wood type and letterpress world.

    Please leave comments. Everyone who comes to the museum or is still planning their trip has wonderful insights and stories. We would love to hear what you have to say.

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