At Livingston Letterpress, most of our products are printed on this antique press, affectionately called Oliver by our family. The press is a 1911 Old Style Chandler and Price 10x15 powered by a foot treadle. Ink colors are mixed by hand. The studio is a lovely space filled with antique and vintage printing equipment.
Letterpress printing was developed in the 14th century and remains a beautiful art form today. The process begins with wooden or metal type that is handset in reverse and locked into a metal frame, or chase, held in place by wooden strips called furniture. The frame is placed in the press and the text is inked by rollers. The text is then pressed into the surface of the paper, transferring the ink and making an impression that can be felt in the paper.
In order to create more intricate and unique designs the modern world enters this antique process in the form of polymer plates. This method involves designing an image on a computer and turning this design into a polymer plate with a raised image that functions the same as the wooden or metal type.