Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Secrets of a letterpress

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I'm unable to finish the tile floor in the house right now. That fact, combined with a week of gorgeous weather last week, meant that I was finally able to get back to stripping the paint and gunk off my Chandler and Price 10x15 letterpress.


I scraped the last bit of grime off of it over the weekend. Now the pieces have been moved into the shelter of the workshop, where they await their new coat of primer (which I started yesterday), paint, and pin striping!

Press restoration_stripped 008

I love old things. But I really love old things with dates or other bits of information that provide clues to its history and age. It's sad that most things today don't have any permanent markings to tell future generations where it came from, and when. I guess it's even sadder that most things made today aren't really meant to last for future generations!

One of the funnest parts of stripping the gunk off my press was discovering the name of the press stamped over and over. The Chandler and Price Company certainly took pride in its work, because it placed its name or initials on at least three different parts of the press.

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I also thought it was pretty neat to uncover two patent dates on the press.

I believe this one says June 13, 1899

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And I think this one says April 12 of 1897. (And I discovered a third patent date yesterday while putting on a coat of the primer!)

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And the most exciting news came over the weekend when I finally got to the part where the serial number is stamped into the press. Serial number C56255 means that this press was built in 1917.

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