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Handset Press Interests

Items of interest to Handset Press's proprietor...

San Jose Printers' Guild

I bgan volunteering with the San Jose Printers' Guild at History Park in 1997. The focus of activity is having a trained Guild member in the Print Shop on weekends to interpret the exhibit -- describe letterpress printing to visitors and show how the equipment works. The video to the right shows our indomitable Chairman, Jim Gard, showing things off to a local TV personality.

As Jim wrote in the Guild's annual cooperative book, "We work together to produce typesetting and printing demonstrations at special events and selected weekends. With our help, visitors learn to pull the handle of a table-top letterpress and make their own souvenir impression."

The Guild usually meets on the second Saturday of each month to review the Print Shop schedule, plan upcoming events, and talk about printing. Every now and again, Guild members are mobilized to rescue printing equipment.

Since 2014, the Guild has sponsored the S. F. Bay Area Printers' Fair and Wayzgoose, held at History Park in the spring.

Liberty Platen Press

The Print Shop at History Park in San Jose has an unusual jobber press: an F. M. Weiler Liberty built about 1885. Originally designed in 1859 to avoid patents held by the more common Franklin press, it was fairly popular in the last half of the nineteenth century, particularly in Europe. Most were scrapped, and only a few remain.

I put together a detailed description of the Liberty, including how to identify the press's key characteristics and a run-down of known presses.

Golding Printing Presses

The workhorse at Handset Press is a Golding Jobber No. 6 press, made by the Golding Manufacturing Co. Golding had several lines of printing presses in a variety of sizes.

With assistance from Steve Saxe, I created a page of information about Golding presses.

Type Catalogs

The American Type Founders and Barnhart Brothers & Spindler type foundries produced large catalogs from the 1890s through the twentieth century to display their offerings of type and other printing equipment. I put together a page of ATF and BB&S Catalog Information with spreadsheets showing which faces were in various catalogs. There are also links to lots of Internet data.

AAPA, NAPA, & The Fossils

In 1970, I received the pamphlet About Amateur Journalism with Kelsey's The Printers' Helper. The idea of printing a small paper for circulation to several hundred other enthusiasts was intriguing, so I filled out the application and joined the American Amateur Press Association. A few years later I joined a similar organization, the National Amateur Press Association, and later The Fossils, the historians of amateur journalism.
As AAPA's webmaster, I created a number of pages related to letterpress printing:
Resources for Letterpress Printers
Printing Museums
Private and Professional Letterpress Shops
Local Printing Groups
Typefaces Available from U.S. Foundries

Redwood Chappel

The printers of The Redwood Chappel mainly come from the area of Northern California near Eureka, but members are scattered as far as Oregon and Arizona. The focus of activity is the calendar, with different printers producing a page for each month. Members meet in late October to bring the pages together and catch up with what's been going on. There are also two mailings during the year. Annual dues are $10.