It isn’t fancy

The photo above shows the wood furniture I use to lock up type and linocuts into the press. It’s fairly old, somewhere around 60 or 70 years. It’s been used in at least two other shops that I know of and it has the fantastic look and feel that only comes with age and handling. The case that holds the furniture is handmade and utilitarian.  It isn’t fancy, but that’s how I like it.

Likewise, the Chandler and Price 8 x 12 OS press was built and 1894. It still has a little of it’s original paint. There are a few solid welds in places, but overall it has been well cared for. The mechanics spin cleanly and with small clinks and clacks as the press opens and closes. It’s a calming sound and repeats over and over as the press works.

Everything in the shop has had multiple lives. All of it has been worked with by multiple hands…all of which, other than my own, I will never know. It’s hard not to instinctively know this–the patina on the wood and metal, the smell of the ink, the sounds of the press turning and type being placed on the composing sticks.

It’s the thought of this that makes the process of printing so enticing…in an age where things are designed to break and wear out…that machines and equipment can not only outlive their workers, but be used to create– they are a legacy that is hard to find and one that I feel is precious.


2 thoughts on “It isn’t fancy

    1. I’m not entirely sure. After looking through various printing sources, I can find definitions for furniture (basically, objects, usually wood or metal, that are below type-high that are placed around/between forms to make spaces and fasten forms into the chase), but not the exact derivation of the word as it pertains to printing. According to Oxford Dictionaries, furniture can refer to “small accessories or fittings for a particular use or piece of equipment.” So it may be that the term ‘furniture’ may have had a more common usage than it currently does–the dictionary sites printing and rifles as using ‘furniture.’

      Liked by 1 person

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