“Black Friday” is coming up at the end of this week! A big shopping day for mega-stores, malls online etc. However, in recent years, the following day has become “Small Business Saturday,” a shopping day to support smaller home-town businesses. Letterpress Things is a small local store and we’ll be open this Saturday, November 24th with special extended hours - 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. If you’re visiting family or friends in the Chicopee/Western Mass. area here’s a chance to visit for an hour or two to experience a bit of letterpress. A great way to get away from the stresses of the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!
Here we are, the beginning of November and the year is fast winding down. Working in the store now requires a wool cap, jacket, and a pair of fingerless gloves. It wasn’t so long ago a sweat band and t-shirt were the necessary attire. How quickly the seasons change! The next open date is Saturday, November 17th, and the 18th Anniversary of the opening of Letterpress Things! No big celebration this year (well, maybe just a few cookies and pastries for our sweet tooth and friends!) We recently came back from the LA Printer’s Fair in Carson, CA. It was a really great two day event, despite the rain Saturday morning. (The song says it doesn’t rain in Southern California! Really?) All the unsold items, type and collectibles finally made their way back to the store and are now out on the tables again.
During August and September, several small shops were retrieved, but have sat untouched since. With the fair season over, processing has begun again. For the 17th, over 40 cases of type have been added to inventory, a dozen plus fonts of wood type and more than 100 plates will be on display.
Additionally, work has resumed also on preparing table-top pressed for sale.
Here I am working on a 6 x 10 Kelsey, a recent acquisition. Several others are waiting on rollers or accessories. When those are ready, you’ll see them on the machinery page.There’s also a few new cabinets available, including several Thompson press stands/cabinets.
It’s nice to be back working on the floor, getting “new” stuff out.
Be sure to stop by on the 17th, you never know what treasures you’ll find!
We’re on the way to the 10th Annual Printer’s Fair at the International Printing Museum in Carson, CA. Always a really BIG show, but this year’s Fair is a two day event, Saturday October 13th and Sunday October 14th. As in years past, it seems we pack up half the store to ship out. With this year being a two day even, we really had to pull a lot together. There’s one good sized pallet with 700 lbs. of type, tools, and supplies rolling across the country due in Carson soon. As part of our effort to clean out the dark corners and empty the high shelves, a variety of old, rare and collectible items will be available. The photo attached shows a lot of what’s going to be the tables 10 a.m. Saturday morning. And yes, there’ll be some pizza boxes too! Stop by, say hi and catch up on what the Barrett’s have been up to in 2018!
Saturday, September 15th one entire block of North Queen St. in downtown Lancaster was closed for the 2018 fair. The weather was perfect with attendance at the highest yet and 30+ vendors. A tip of the hat to the .918 Club/Heritage Press Museum members and volunteers for a first class event!
The Barrett’s set up three tables overflowing with supplies, type, tools, even a few cabinets and a tabletop press. It was nice to get reacquainted with friends who’ve visited the store and meet those with whom we’ve only emailed on occasion.
The fair also hosted two fellows who embody the spirit of the traveling printing craftsman of yesteryear. One being Dave Seat of Hot Metal Services, who travels the country servicing hot metal casters and presses. The other, Chris Fritton (known more commonly as the Itinerant Printer) who’s traveled around the country since 2015, visiting various letterpress venues and documenting his visits in a newly released book!
This years trip wasn’t without some serious stress before and after the fair. The day before we were due to load up the van and leave, the elevator broke down. Everything had to be hand carried down four flights of stairs!
(If you’ve been to the store, you know about those stairs.)
After packing up and leaving the fair, we in Lititz for a cold brew and some snacks. Upon returning, the van just wouldn’t start. Ultimately, a major repair was required and the van was subsequently towed to a local repair shop. So after a gas station breakfast, an Uber ride to the Lancaster Airport for a rental car and a long, tiring drive, we finally made it home.
It was a great event and we were glad to be there, but we could have done without the stress before and after!
Last Saturday was the first of two consecutive Saturdays for "cleaning-out" years of accumulated letterpress stuff. Revamping the floor began in mid-July and continued non-stop until late last week. The previous weeks weather was insufferably hot and humid everyday, quite uncharacteristic for this time in August. Being on the fourth floor of an old New England mill, conditions day to day became unbearable by mid-to-late afternoon. The spirit was willing, the body just couldn't tolerate it, at which point we'd retreat to home and the AC.
Hence, when the doors opened last Saturday not all the inventory was out on the tables. Twenty plus people from New England and New York made the trek to Chicopee. One fellow even traveled in from Maryland! There was still a large selection of items to rummage through and good finds were found. Plus, everyone got to experience the ongoing hot, humid, and sweaty conditions firsthand. Our appreciation to all who came by for putting up with the steamy conditions and especially for your purchases.
The "clean out" event continues this coming Saturday and two factors are certain. First every table will be full with lots of stuff, and second (which affects the first) the weather forecast calls for cooler, drier conditions through next Saturday. This means it'll be much more comfortable to work in the shop to get ready, and more pleasant for a visit. Hope you do come by, for sure there are things here you know you'll need/want when you see them!
This coming Saturday (the 18th) and the following Saturday (the 25th) will be a long needed clean out of all the odds and ends squirreled away over the years at Letterpress Things. The crew has been rearranging the store's entire floor and there's now fifteen 4' x 6' tables on which an abundance of letterpress "things" are displayed. Some tables hold one type of specific items, like reglet cabinets, paper trimmers, type, and slug cutters. Other tables are filled with one-of-a-kind items; tools, accessories and more.
This "clean out" project has become more extensive than anticipated for several reasons. First, the out-of-sight areas and dark corners are yielding a lot more stuff than expected. There's much more "new" inventory than we realized. And second, the HEAT! The weather has been quite warm the past several weeks and working on the fourth floor really defines the term "sweat equity."
Plan to come by one or both days. For sure there are "things" here you'll know you need when you see them!
In seventeen years, Letterpress Things has physically expanded to fill 4,000 square feet. The entire fourth floor of an old New England mill. And filled it is! Walk about the floor and you'll find counters, tables, racks, and shelves loaded with all sorts of letterpress items. Behind the scenes is another 4000+ squad feet crammed with more inventory. There's even a few pallets from earlier retrievals waiting to be processed.
It's time to clean out; move stuff out of our space into yours. They'll be over a dozen large tables with merchandise spread out, and piled high; ready to be picked up and picked over. This includes inventory from the closely guarded "backroom" and the 3rd floor.
So, what's included? Well, cabinets, table and some odd fixtures. Presses, a few being sold as is. Round cornerers, miters, slug cutters, and some old saws. There'll be plenty of type, about 100 fonts out for the first time, some in cases, others fonted. A bit of wood type, mostly orphans. You'll also find furniture, tools, boxes, cases, rusty composing sticks, and other assorted old letterpress implements.
Come on by, either or both days. There's plenty to poke through and when a space opens up on a table, something else will take it's place. Bring a few boxes for all the letterpress things you didn't know you needed (or wanted) until you saw them!
Back from a wonderful and relaxing time in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. Eight sun filled days with comfortable temperatures, no rain, lots of good food, and some breath-taking scenery along the way. Driving the Cabot trail, visiting the Alexander Graham Bell Museum in Baddeck, touring the Fort in Louisbourg, the Maud Lewis Museum in Halifax, and a quick stop at Peggy's Cove were among the highlights. All in all, a very pleasant, relaxing wind down from the tribulations we've endured this year.
But now it's back to letterpress stuff! Before we left, and since our return, a major reorganization has been underway. With the remaining Swoop type now integrated into our regular inventory, it's time to reinvent the floor layout. We probably won't be completely done by this Saturday, but come the next open date, August 11th, all will be in place.
Part of our labor presently is the processing of "stuff" that's been laying around for awhile. Over the years, as we retrieve equipment from shops some of it never gets completely processed. It seems there's always more coming in and it gets buried further back. So we're venturing into the dark corners now and finding some things we weren't aware we had. More info on this as it develops, so be sure to stay in touch!
Summer continues to move along and we hope yours has been pleasant so far.
The last few weeks have been active for us, both in the store and on the website. During our June 2nd open date, several visitors took home some nice cabinets. There's still a good selection of cabinets and several recently received units will be up on the website soon. However, the biggest level of activity came from the website. Eighteen fonts of wood type were posted and within a couple of days, every font was scooped up and mailed all over the country. We wish we had more, but wood type isn't as easy to come by these days.
In place of the wood type, we've added a number of new metal fonts from the Swoop in typefaces and point sizes that are a bit more unusual or challenging to find and come from older type foundries. We box these type fonts for two reasons; first it's expensive to pack/mail a case with distributed type and second, you eventually end up with an empty cabinet.
LT-348 32pt. Minret from Johnson Type Foundry