A 21st-Century Guide to the Letterpress Business
How to acquire, restore, operate, and turn a profit with your platen press
Letterpress printing may be technologically obsolete, but to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, a quick survey of the stationery trade would suggest that we are living in a new golden age of letterpress jobbing and card manufacturing.
Letterpress continues to grow in popularity as a hobby, and also as a specialty printing service. It remains a viable business opportunity for creative and courageous entrepreneurs, but the contemporary letterpress printer faces an entirely different marketplace and a whole new layer of practical concerns than her predecessors in the trade.
This book offers a broad overview of the contemporary letterpress business, from the practical aspects of printing to standard business practices. The first part deals with the practical aspects of acquiring, restoring, maintaining, and operating a letterpress, while the second part is designed for those who already have some printing experience and are considering launching a letterpress business of their own.
Paperback, 6 x 9, 180 pages, 30 b/w illustrations
Published November 15, 2010
Elementary Platen Presswork
Ralph W. Polk
Platen presses were the essential engines of the printing trade through the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but these once-ubiquitous letterpress machines gradually gave way to more efficient offset and digital technologies. By the late 20th century, platen presses had all but disappeared from the landscape of commercial printing, relegated to junk heaps and back rooms. The past two decades have seen a remarkable revival of interest in the art and craft of letterpress printing, and a new generation of craft printers has breathed new life into these elegant iron workhorses of the past. Originally published in 1931, this concise manual of presswork has guided generations of printers through the basic operation of platen presses. Everything is covered here, from hand-setting type, to adjusting the press bed, to regulating ink coverage and impression depth. Advanced operations such as scoring and die-cutting are also discussed. Polk's clear and accessible writing style has made this book a favorite among hobbyists and professionals alike, much sought-after on the used book market. A must-have primer, shop manual, and desk reference, it is now available in an affordable paperback format for a new generation to enjoy.
Paperback, 5 x 8, 160 pages, 30 b/w illustrations, $24.95
Published January 15, 2007