Wrapping Up & Winding Down

It's the end of Spring, the start of Summer, and our "It's too hot up here!" shutdown is close at hand.

Imagine: New England in July, high heat and humidity, an old brick mill building, on the top floor with about five open windows and a bunch of giant fans. Physical activity, even just standing still, equals buckets of sweat!


Two Open Dates remain pre-summer shutdown, Saturday June 24th and Sunday June 25th. The crew is working hard to wrap up a number of projects in order to have as much new inventory out on the floor for these Open Dates.

Come by on the 24th and 25th and you'll find:



+ A Variety of "new" fonts in the type cabs. +

+ Some wood type fonts and some "Alpha" (similar to the Franken-Fonts from last October.) +

+ A number of pounds of icons, borders, etc. +

+ A big bunch of new plates. +

+ A few table-top presses. +

+ A growing selection of "one-of-a-kind" things. +


So this is it for the Winter and Spring seasons. Soon we'll slip away to get some rest, do some traveling and generally "wind down" after what's been a busy Spring. Looking forward to having you stop in!

Plans for June 2017


It's June, summer and vacation time is approaching. We're busy wrapping up the final processing of several shop purchases from last fall and earlier this year. The goal is to finish before the heat and humidity of July sets in. This Saturday, we continue offering a variety of tools and things, first at the store and then subsequently on the website.


And there will be several 5 x 8 Kelseys available if you're looking for a press. In preperation for our summer vacation, we'll be open for two days the fourth weekend of June with an expanded amount of items. Details to come soon!

Tools & Machinery in Store



So what's new around Letterpress Things these days?

Well, at our commercial shop in West Springfield, a well-equipped workshop for cleaning and fixing tools, machines, presses, etc. is finally up and operational.



This improves our ability to more quickly process and prepare items acquired in recent months for sale on the floor.

In fact, this Saturday the 27th, there'll be a number of small tools available for the first time including several round cornering units, a steel rule cutter, a Hanson brass rule cutter, a single spindle drill, an ink scale and more.



There'll also be a 6 x 10 Kelsey, complete, ready to print and possibly several other units presently being worked on. There's even still some type and items left from the Howie Swoop.


It's a long weekend coming up so if you're looking for a day trip destination or coming through the area, stop in and say hello!

Gelbert Swoop 2.0


The Howie Gelbert Swoop on April 14th was well attended.

It was really nice to see so many letterpressers out and about on such a gorgeous Spring day.

The Swoop continues this Saturday, April 29th for anyone who couldn't make it earlier this month.


There's still a good variety of type fonts available as well as a furniture and reglet cabinet,

an Enkay Paper Trimmer, a 5 x 8 Kelsey, a half-size cabinet (12 cases), and a short open case cabinet in green.


Of course, there's lots of store inventory as well, including a rare item for us; 100 sheets of large rag paper.

See you Saturday! 

Swoop Details

Just a day left until this Saturday's Swoop at Letterpress Things. There's a nice variety of "finds" from Howie's printshop.

Presses, such as a Vandercook 099, 5 x 8 and 3 x 5 Kelseys, as well several toy presses with rollers.

There's several books including catalogs and 40 plus ITC type specimen pamphlets.


We've got cases filled with over one hundred fonts of type including:

Caslon, Gallia, Raleigh, Shadow, Comstock and many others.


You'll also find couple of fonts of wood type alongside plates, ornaments,

- and several tables of good ole' fashioned "letterpress things."

The weather's looking good, so come out and make a spring day trip to Chicopee!

Gelbert Swoop


Several weeks ago, a three day truck trip was made to Central Pennsylvania to retrieve an entire basement print shop. The shop belonged to Howie Gelbert, recently passed, a long-time avid letterpress printer, member of APA and the Westchester Chapel.


His entire shop- presses, type, tools, accessories, books - is now on the floor at the store and available to letterpress printers on Saturday, April 15th continuing on Saturday, April 29th.


A more detailed inventory of type and things will be posted in another blog soon. Sorry, no holds and no pre-sales. 

Golding Pearl No. 11


Spending time in the store during the winter is tough. It's cold, dark, and just plain uncomfortable to do anything! But winter's grinding by on the calendar and daylight minutes are on the increase. We've been spending more and more time out on the floor, changing some displays around, processing "things" in from last Fall, and preparing for several events coming up in April.


The big project at the moment is getting a No. 11 Golding Pearl readied for sale. Picked it up on very short notice a month ago just as a major snow storm began. It's in need of several parts which have been located, to be installed soon.

If you're interested in your very own Pearl, stop in this Saturday to take a look.


If a tabletop interests you then come check out a fully ready-to-print 5 x 8 Kelsey.

We've got a couple of other units which are being checked over now so stay tuned for updates!


Happy New Year!


Our heartfelt thanks to friends and associates for your visits and web support during 2016.

Our warmest thoughts and best wishes for good health and an active letterpress year in 2017.


~May your composition be letter perfect and typo free~

~Your ink always lay well and stay open until done~

~Registration be dead on with first proof~

~Impressions be just the right "kiss" to impress~

~And wash-ups be quick and finger nails spotless~


Here's to a most Happy Letterpress New Year!


Over the years, Letterpress Things has accumulated a large collection of orphan wood type, and though we try our best to complete as many sets of type as we can, some letters are so odd and rare that we've never been able to find a home for them.

So, in the spirit of the season, we've cobbled together several wood type sets we're calling "Franken-Fonts." Each font contains every letter of the alphabet in varying styles and sizes along with assorted punctuation.

                                                     FF-01  sOLD!

                                                     FF-02  Sold!

                                                      FF-03 sOLD!

While these three wood type sets are for sale online, there are seven more of these "Franken-Fonts" available only for purchase in store during our open date, Saturday October 29th. All fonts are sold on a first come, first serve basis.

We hope you'll visit the store this weekend to see rest of our wood type creations!


Cabinet Clear Out

For our next Open Date, October 15th, our focus is on cabinets; type, furniture, reglet, and utility.

At the moment there's 26 units shown on the website, but there are more than twice that out in the store.

Walking around, you'll find C-246 and C-247; Thompson/Kelsey press stands with 11 cases each.


Close by is C-262, a two column, 12 x 18 galley cabinet.

C-255, C-256, and several others, are perfect for wood type or plate storage.

There's even a few small counter-top type cabinets like C-259.


For the Ludlow owner, we've got C-196, a flat-top matrix unit.

Or a Hamilton roller cabinet , C-264 which can be easily converted utility storage.

Also on hand, a reglet cabinet and yes, furniture cabinets; midget, standard, and even a mammoth, some with assortments of furniture, some without.

Here's a very nice midget cabinet filled with new and slightly used furniture.


Been considering getting another cabinet?

Now's the time! Our inventory is the largest and best it's been in a long time.

Flea Market Review

Whew, the Printers' Flea Market happened!


What a great weekend at Letterpress Things.

Over 60 people journeyed to Chicopee from as far as North Carolina and Montreal!

Now that there's some room on the tables, we'll be adding more items for our next Open Date on October 1st. There's also dozens of cabinets available: type, furniture, galley, utility, etc. There's many more in stock than just the units shown on the website. Now's the time to get those loose cases and stuff organized!

Our thanks again to all who visited the Flea Market! 

Further Details Regarding the "Flea Market"


Little more than a week from our Printers' Fair on the 17th and 18th. Here's how the tables on the floor are beginning to look. 

There's eight plus pallets of type, tools, and "things" being processed for Saturday and Sunday. Dozens of composition sticks quions, half a dozen or more furniture cabinets, a few fonts of wood type, even a couple of table-top presses...


...And lots more yet to unpack! By early next week, everything should all be out on the tables and pricing will begin. 

Prices will be at "Flea Market" levels. There are bargains to be found!


Printers' Flea Market


It's September, and the oppressive heat here in Chicopee is finally behind us. Now that it's cooler, we're spending more time working in the store. Over the past several months, quite a bit of inventory from half a dozen shops was brought in. It's now being processed, sorted, priced, and put out on the floor for sale.


There's a lot of stuff, probably four or five full tables and more, enough to where we've decided  to have a "Printers' Flea Market." A two day event to be held on Saturday, September 17th and Sunday the 18th. This will be a fast developing project; there's much to be done, a lot of inventory, and not a lot of time. Things will be "raw," just as they came out of the basement, garage, or warehouse.


We'll be posting more photos and details of the inventory in the next few weeks leading up to the event.

Stay tuned for updates.


John's Collection


Over the decades of retrieving shops and presses, a collection of rare and unusual units has been gathered. The intent was, in our old age, to break them down, clean and restore, throw some ink on and experience the thrill of printing on a rare or older press. Well, I'm approaching "old age" for sure and it's time to be realistic. Much of my time in the past three decades has been spent retrieving and selling "letterpress things", something I'll continue to do, but time to clean and restore? Not really!  So periodically in the months to come, a unit will pop-up here on the website. They'll most likely be "as is, where is", but you'll know up front what's needed to get the press up and running. And they'll be reasonably priced. So the first unit I'm saying "good-bye" to is a Baltimore No. 14. See the Machinery page for pictures and more information about the press.

Update on San Jose Printers' Fair 2016


After two eye operations the past month the question was whether it'd be possible to make the trip. Initially the odds didn't favor it. But the surgeon, expressing very distinct precautions, has given the green light!


Unable to do much physical work until shortly before the trip, Sarah has stepped up, pulled together and packed a complement of type and supplies.


It won't be the four tables we normally set up, but all the basic supplies will be on hand.


So please, support the Printers Guild by setting the GPS for History Park on the 9th!

And for sure, stop by to say hello to JoAnn and myself; I'll be wearing the big wrap-around sunglasses.

                                                                                                                - John B

2015 - A "Fair" Year!

The Barrett's were fortunate to participate is a number of Printing Fairs across the country this year.

Without question a lot of preliminary work goes into gathering and packing supplies, type, etc. West coast Fairs require shipping by UPS; generally a dozen or more cartons. East coast ones the van gets the miles.

April saw us in San Jose, CA with the Printer's Guild; their 3rd and best year yet.

May we motored out Rt 90 to Wells College, Aurora, NY for the Upstate New York Wayzgoose.

First time, an impressive gathering and program.

After a casual summer next came the LA Printer's Fair at the International Printing Museum, Carson, CA. the first Saturday in October.

This is a Fair for all Fairs; 50+ vendors, several thousand attendees in perfect Socal weather. Finish packing after the show, slap labels on the cartons and get them immediately to UPS for a journey to Lancaster, PA. Fly home, gather up additional supplies and four days later drive to attend the Lancaster Printing Fair produced by the 918 Club from the Heritage Printing Museum. Another excellent event put on by the Club; their third year also and bigger than last year!

Despite the physical work, the stress and the uncertainty of traffic and travel schedules, JoAnn and I truly enjoy attending these Fairs. We meet hundreds of letterpressers, many who have emailed or called for supplies or information through the years. Our compliments to the organizations and the many volunteers who make these events happen. And especially, our thanks to all who have stopped by our tables, said hi and bought a "thing" or two, your support is appreciated.

-- John and JoAnn

Halloween Happenings

October 31st, a fun day at the store!

Everyone who came in left with a Halloween bag of letterpress treats.



Visitors included a photographer looking for still life props and a few of our "regulars" who just like to stop in to see what's new. It was really nice to have a group from the Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY.

Their operation and programs are very impressive!



A special greeting to Angie and Daniel from Nova Scotia; they operate a letterpress print shop in downtown Halifax. 

The minivan had some weight going back home.




But the best of all; Darrell Hyder of Sun Hill Press dropped by with one of his latest projects. A multi-colored press sheet sampling quite a number of his personal wood type fonts!

Check out the photo (Darrell is the guy on the left).



It's been hot on the 4th floor at the store, challenging to spend much time processing up there. And there is new inventory to process; an entire truckload, two small basement shops retrieved on one of the hottest days of August.

Stay tuned for the "back" story and photos of what it takes to get the "stuff"




A number 'pressers took advantage of The Mass. State Tax Free Weekend, especially Sunday when the weather was a bit nicer.

Note the puddles from several downpours on Saturday.




Again, vacationers were welcomed to the store. Reggie, from Minnesota and staying with friends in Connecticut, came by to poke around and enjoy finding all sorts of supplies and treasures for his growing shop.




The visit almost ended in disaster when his friends car just wouldn't start. That is, not until after AAA was called, a tow truck dispatched, then it mysteriously fired right up. 

But all's well that ends well!



Vacations and Visitors

Well, vacation and the typical hot, humid days of July are behind us. The Barrett's took in the 4th of July festivities at the International Printing Museum in Carson, CA.


 It was a day of "hands on" on a variety of their presses with lots of visitors. The day topped off with plenty of hot dogs, lemonade and apple pie.


    The store reopened on Saturday, July 25th.  Despite being on the warm side, a steady flow of visitors continued all day. More than half were either en-route to or returning from vacation and had set their GPS for Chicopee. Letterpressers came from Michigan, Washington State, Central New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The furthest was a fellow from Prince Edward Island!

    As in past years, we try to accommodate travelers during the week. This year is no different with one or two people a week wondering if it's possible to stop for an just hour or two on a week day. Just a couple of days ago Brothers of St. Alben drove directly from Berkeley, CA to the store to visit and purchase supplies and type.


    To anyone traveling through Western Mass. this weekend (the 15th and 16th) we hope you'll plan to stop in. Big benefit is Massachusetts' annual "No Sales Tax" weekend. It's a chance to pickup some extra goodies without paying a sales tax. Stay safe out there. . .