Building the Big Block Easels

The museum received many packing crates full of big printing blocks from Enquirer Printing in Cincinnati, Ohio. They can be up to 54" x 40" in size. The Enquirer Printing Company printed posters for circuses, carnivals and other customers. I saw a few big blocks leaning against the wall on a visit. It occurred to me these should be up on a display rack of some kind. I thought about easels used in meetings, where people can write on the paper and the whole room can see what they write. Maybe that would work.

So I asked Stephanie if she would like a sample easel to try out with some of the big blocks, and she said “Yes.” I have been welding steel angle iron for about three years and I know where to buy industrial size steel in all kinds of shapes. I bought some steel and welded a two shelf front frame. Then I tried leaning it back to see what angle would work for making a standalone frame. I added back legs set at the correct angle and some cross bracing to keep the whole thing rigid. It looked pretty good.

I took the new easel up to the Wayzgoose last year and left it. In the summer Stephanie sent me a note saying they tried putting some big blocks on the prototype easel and it looked good. So we worked out some size questions and I built another set of prototypes. Stephanie and Jim played around with the standard sizes of big blocks and came up with two sizes. I made prototypes of those sizes and we tested everything.

Now I had a clear goal to make 15 of each size and take them up to Hamilton. With the samples that will give them 17 of each size. I built a large assembly table in my garage, got some more 90 degree clamps to hold the steel in place and welded thirty more easels. I’ll probably make more than that.

I especially like doing this design and build because I came up with the initial idea of getting some of the big blocks up where they can be seen by visitors to the museum. And I get a lot of pleasure seeing the museum grow. Sometimes I walk around and meet people looking at a press or paper cutter and I’ll tell them what I know about the museum. That’s really fun.

The end.

Photos for this post are from Lester Public Library and Tipocracia

Bruce McConachieDisplayEnquirer CollectionLetterpress

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