C – Counterweight

Naming a Press

In graduate school at Miami University, I saw a PBS program about an old lighthouse. The one thing that stuck out most to me was the counterweight system used to keep the light turning in the lighthouse. Like a grandfather clock, it consisted of a weight attached to a long chain, and as the weight descended from the top of the lighthouse to the bottom, the light turned. This meant, however, that a lighthouse keeper had to wind the counterweight back up ever few hours over the course of the night to keep the light turning. At this particular lighthouse, the keeper slept beneath the counterweight so that as it reached the bottom of the lighthouse, it would wake him by lowering on to his chest.

As a creative writing student, I couldn’t pass up this image and so I wrote about it.

counterweightNot Shakespeare, but there are few nice moments (it must not be too bad…I wrote for my girlfriend–who is now my wife).

When I purchased the press I knew I wanted the name to have both personal meaning and be evocative of the Great Lakes region. Having visited many of the lighthouses that dot the coasts of Michigan, it was hard for me not to think of the poem I’d written years before. Counterweight calls to mind all of those lighthouses, it calls to mind the poem I’d written, and it calls to mind the motion of the press…the forces opening and closing to create an impression.


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