Blog

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  • Making Display Type at P98A in Berlin

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    Since the advent of computers in our studios, we’ve all spent hours looking for the right typeface from thousands of choices, fussed with tiny increments in size, introduced refinements in OpenType fonts containing hundreds of ligatures, alternate characters and content-sensitive positions.

    And now “letterpress” is back. Suddenly we’re happy to take a lowercase l and use it for a figure 1 because that particular typeface doesn’t have enough figures? WTF? Wood type sucks when it comes to kerning because you would have to cut away bits of the letter itself in order to achieve “perfect” spacing.

    There are no half sizes, let alone fine increments in letterspacing, unless you want to spend hours inserting slivers of brass or thin paper to refine a line of type. The material defines not only how you work but also what the result will look like. If you only have a large wood...

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  • Enquirer Collection Exhibition

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    The Enquirer Collection at the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum contains nearly 500 rare circus, fair and carnival posters, plus approximately 1,500 hand-carved printing plates; more than 5,000 pieces of large wood type; and related correspondence. The Anderson family of Cincinnati founded Enquirer Printing in 1895 and continuously has archived the extensive collection. In the early 1850s it was the only show printer in the Midwest. In 2015 the museum acquired this collection and is working to continue this long legacy. In November of 2016 posters from this extensive collection were on display in the museum gallery. Jim Moran, museum director, says of the printed pieces, "The thousands of previously printed samples from Enquirer Printing’s archive provides us with an invaluable documentation of the printing process and the artistic considerations that went into advertising art of the early 20th century."

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  • Windgate Project Managers: Fall 2016

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    Through a gracious contribution from the Windgate Foundation, Hamilton has embarked on an organizational project to catalog the museum’s collections. We started the process in 2015 working with Heather Buechler, Raychel Lauen and Vida Sacic. In the fall of 2016 we brought in Scott Mann and Tom Walker to continue the monumental task of organizing and proofing the type and printing blocks in the Globe Collection. The Windgate Project Managers are an important part of the museum as we move forward with many large projects.

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    Scott Mann is the Graphic Design Area Coordinator and Associate Professor at Coastal Carolina University. He has...

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  • "Familiar Faces & Extended Families" Letterpress Workshops

    This is a series of 5 letterpress workshops sponsored by Hoefler & Co. Join us for a daylong printing workshop at the museum where we'll focus on one particular type style. From Cooper to Clarendon and Gothics to Grotesques, we'll draw from Hamilton's collection to make broadsides and posters all within a given category of type. These workshops are offered once a month from January through May 2017. Register now for one or all!

    Letterpress Workshop: Antique
    Saturday, January 28, 2017 - 9am to 5pm

    Letterpress Workshop: Roman
    Saturday, February 25, 2017 - 9am to 5pm

    Letterpress Workshop: Gothic (& Globe)
    Saturday, March 18, 2017 - 9am to 5pm

    Letterpress Workshop: Clarendon
    Saturday, April 22, 2017 - 9am to 5pm

    Letterpress Workshop: Cooper (Black)
    Saturday, May 27, 2017 - 9am to 5pm

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  • Really Big Prints Closing Reception

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    Many amazing printmakers from near and far came to UW-Manitowoc July 13-16, 2016 to create editions of large-scale relief prints for the second 'Really Big Prints! Event'. The number of participants and duration of the event makes it unique, as well as the opportunity for the printmakers to print a limited edition of a large-scale print, and have it exhibited “hot off the press” here at the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. The show was on display in November and December at Hamilton. A great group of printers and visitors joined us Saturday, December 10, 2016 from 5-7 pm for the closing reception of this stunning exhibition.

    The art of printmaking realizes the oxymoron of the “original multiple.” These images are not reproductions, but original pieces which are conceived and created to exist as a limited edition. The vehicle for creating the...

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  • Hamilton Stories: Bill Ahearn

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    Hamilton Stories: An Oral History, was a six-event speaker series at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in 2015 and early 2016, that 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.

    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...

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  • Hamilton Stories: David Artz

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    Hamilton Stories: An Oral History, was a six-event speaker series at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in 2015 and early 2016, that 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.

    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...

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  • Silver Buckle Press Exhibition Gallery Reception

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    On Saturday August 27th we celebrated the Silver Buckle Press collection. After more than four decades at UW-Madison, the Silver Buckle Press collection was relocated to the museum under a long-term agreement between Hamilton and the University of Wisconsin.

    During the spring and summer of 2016 Tracy Honn, the retiring director of Silver Buckle Press, oversaw the organizing, packing, and relocation of Silver Buckle Press collections to Hamilton. Hamilton director Jim Moran, and museum staff, were responsible for the major move and transport of type and presses. Along with Tracy, our staff helped unpack and begin setting up the collection in the newly-designated and secure space at Hamilton. This process is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

    In recognition of the work-in-progress and establishing Silver Buckle Press collections at Hamilton, during the months of July and August we displayed letterpress pieces that have been created there over the many years. On the 27th,...

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  • Hamilton Stories: Mardell Doubek

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    Hamilton Stories: An Oral History, was a six-event speaker series at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in 2015 and early 2016, that 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.

    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...

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  • 2016 Open House

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    On Sunday, July 10, 2016 we had a wonderful Open House. Over 100 people joined us for museum tours, pantograph demonstrations, and poster printing. Bob Mueller gave tours of the museum, highlighting the making of type and the history of the Hamilton factory. George Liesch gave demonstrations on the pantograph showing how type was made in the 20th century at Hamilton and how it still made today. Visitors participated in the printing of a poster using Hamilton’s collection of vintage wood type and took their print home as a commemorative piece of the Open House event.

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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 ...

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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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  • 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

    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

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    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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