January Recap

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                 It's February, we're now well into 2018! Temperatures have moderated somewhat, daylight minutes are increasing, thoughts of spring are creeping in.

                 For the Barrett's, January was an unequivocal disaster. First Saturday of the New Year, walking down the stairs at home JoAnn stumbled on the last step. Broken right leg, eight weeks immobilization, then lots of rehab. Few days later, a stairway tread I was standing on dropped out beneath me. Fell between the other two treads about 8 feet down straight down. Many scrapes, bruises, broken finger, and two broken ribs. Of all the physical ailments the body can suffer broken ribs are one of the worst. It's been over a month now and the pain has moderated, but there's still a ways to go.

                 With the both of us injured, the family room became an upscale convalescent ward. Bed, recliner, walker, crutches, etc. Cooking and food shopping became a real challenge and getting in and out of vehicles took great physical effort. January's weather was miserable; bitter cold, several snow storms, constantly dreary, just depressing. We're so indebted to family, friends and associates for many kind words, best wishes and helping hands. It's now Februdary; winter is slipping by and we're on the road to better times. Can't wait!

                Needless to say, very little has been done in the store, but soon there'll be some new and exciting "things" to tell you about. Stay tuned.

John B & JoAnn


17th Anniversary


Time flies when you're not paying attention! It's been 17 years since the first cabinet and press were dragged off the elevator on the fourth floor at 55 North Chicopee St. During all that time, 5,000+ type fonts, 400+ cabinets and over 300 machines and presses have come up and down that elevator.

But the significant number (rough estimate over 4,000 to date) are the visitors from near and far who've walked up four flights of stairs to enjoy the ambiance, pick up supplies or find a treasure or two. It goes without saying the patronage is much appreciated. Those who have made the trek here know first-hand our passion and commitment to letterpress.

Saturday, November 18th the store is open; just another open date (over 350 so far!) Nothing special planned. Well, there may be some cupcakes with 17 candles. What we'd really enjoy would be for lots of folks to come by, say hi, hangout and check out our new inventory.

And promise, you won't have to sing "Happy Birthday."



November Open Dates


Autumn leaves are falling and the wind has a noticeable chill. November is upon us and it's now a head-long dash to the holidays! Of course, this year you're going to print your holiday cards and gifts early...right? Yeah!

Well, maybe we can help kick-start your efforts and enthusiasm just a bit.

This Saturday we're digging out plates, ornaments, borders, type and anything else we can find related to the holidays - Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanuka, New Years (maybe even Valentine's if we can find something) and the winter season.

So come on by to see if there's something here that can ignite some early holiday energy.


And a heads up, the open date on Saturday, November 18th is our 17th anniversary! That's right, seventeen years ago that weekend we started hauling "things" into a 1,500 square foot area. Now the entire fourth floor (6,500 sq ft) is filled. Check back in a week or so; for sure there'll be something special going on that day.


Review of September and Preview of October

September was a very active month; two busy open dates and two printing fairs.

The first was the .918 Club Heritage Printing Museum, Lancaster, PA letterpress fair.

Next came the fair at The Museum of Printing in Haverhill, MA.

Both were great events, well attended by vendors and letterpressers.

Lancaster had an unusual activity; tube roll printing, a fun take on laying ink on paper.

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As always, nice to travel, see old friends, make new ones and talk a lot of letterpress.

But now we're preparing for October with two open dates (the 7th and the 21st) as well as the LA Printers Fair on the 14th.

Hope to see you somewhere along the way.

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Museum of Printing Fair

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After a several year absence while moving to a new location, the Museum of Printing is once again producing their ever popular "Printing Fair." The fair will take place on Saturday, September 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at their new location; 15 Thorton Ave., Haverhill, MA. A variety of vendors will be on hand with lots of letterpress related products. Letterpress Things will be present with supplies, type, books and more. In addition to the vendors, the museum doors will be open free to one and all as part of the Smithsonian Magazine's 13th Annual "Museum Day Live" - a yearly initiative to generate interest and visits to local museums across the nation. The Museum of Printing's fair will certainly show visitors the community side of letterpress printing. Be sure to stop by and visit our booth!


Lancaster 2017 Fair

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Starting to gather type, supplies and "things" for the Lancaster Letterpress Fair on Saturday, September 16th.

This year's fair will be a real "street" fair, being held on the North Queen Street block from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

As in years past, Letterpress Things will be set up under the canopies with overflowing tables of equipment. From fonts of wood type to boxed metal fonts, icons, even some brand new sets of type from Swamp Press. Lots of plates, books, and one-of-a-kind "things," and of course supplies including stones, planers, quoins and keys, gauges, tympan, pressboard, quads, thins, cleaner, brushes and more! (If there's something special you're looking for, contact us soon.)

We might even bring one of the small presses shown on the website.

This year's fair is happening during the middle of three days of Letterpress events. Follow the link for details.

Be sure to stop by to say "Hello" we always like to see old friends and meet new ones!  

Moving into September

 Summer is slipping by and Fall is right around the corner! September will be a busy month for sure with three Open Dates and several Fairs to prepare for. New type fonts were recently posted, and we're presently working on more offerings including icons. Processing continues on more "Things" and several additional presses will be available during the month. Activity is high, both in the store and on the road. "New" inventory from several small shops have just been brought in and is being sorted-out presently. We've got a retrieval scheduled which will bring in four cabinets of decent type among other items. Check back later in the month for it's availability. 

August 19th & 20th Weekend


Our August 5th "reopening" was a great day! Almost 20 letterpressers came by throughout the day; more than half first-timers. The rest comprised of good friends needing a letterpress "fix" after six weeks of being closed.

Presently, our efforts are focused on our next set of Open Dates: Saturday, August 19th AND Sunday, August 20th. The emphasis for those two days will be on presses and machines. In process at the moment are several 5 x 8 and a 6 x 10 Kelsey, a sigwalt, two tabletop Craftsman (one a 6 1/2 x 10, the other an 8 x 12). You'll also find a floor model paper cutter and a round cornering machine. Photos and details of each unit will be posted soon on the Machines page.

Check 'em out and be sure to stop by if something interests you as we will not be holding items beforehand.



2017 Store Reopening!


Hoorah! First few days of August and the heat of July is behind us. Day time temperatures creep up for sure, but at night temperatures cool things down. It's possible now to comfortably work mornings in the store and that's what we've started doing. This Saturday, August 5th is our first Open Date after shut down. We've got a few projects underway, and we're doing a bit of reorganization as well.

But come 9 a.m. Saturday, the we open our doors once again! So come by, be nice to see you.

P.S. Although we technically took a vacation during the month of July, we spent a good deal of our time off attending several letterpress events. Sarah represented Letterpress Things at the Buffalo Bookfest in early July. Later in the month, JB traveled out to the APA Wayzgoose held at the International Printing Museum in Carson CA. Both great events, met many friends and letterpressers.

More on those trips in upcoming blogs. Stay tuned!



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!