Our team loves art. And we have an appreciation for others who have embraced the craftsmanship of the past and revitalized it for modern day purposes. One such craft is wood type and letterpress printing.
You may recall the classic western ‘Wanted’ poster from year’s past, but know that wood type was used broadly to sell newspapers, land, horses – even create circus posters. This art hasn’t been lost – thanks to Wisconsin businesses like the rauhaus design+letterpress and Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum.
rauhaus is owned by Kevin Rau. He’s a professor, a singer and guitarist for a local rock n’ roll trio, loves ol’ cars, and happens to be a designer who owns a 1946 Chandler & Price ‘clamshell’ press. There’s a certain hand-felt beauty in holding a finished piece. Even more exhilarating is seeing the manual turn of an antique press producing modern day pieces – now popular for business cards, stationary, events and specially inscribed wedding invitations.
The Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, founded in 1999, is the only museum dedicated to the preservation, study, production and printing of wood type. The Hamilton collection maintains 1.5 million pieces of wood type, more than 1,000 styles and pattern sizes and an amazing array of advertising cuts. In its heyday, the Hamilton Manufacturing Company was the largest wood type producer in the country. Today the working museum hosts thousands of visitors who come to learn and understand the beauty of this art.
Both of these businesses have taken the simple application of the American alphabet and invigorated this past art with extraordinary enthusiasm so others can learn and enjoy. Their dedication is priceless.
Keeping watch. Pat