Letterpress & Printing
Of all the invitations sent and received, one of the most gorgeous and recognizable is a letterpress invitation. Running a finger over the deep impression and cotton paper, you can literally feel each part of the printed design. Letterpress’s recent revival has brought this ancestor of printing back to us. The entire process is a labor of love; it is truly handmade and artisan. Printers go back to their roots while using today’s technology. For instance, computer software is used to create a design that is turned into a polymer plate – which has a raised design and looks like a rubber stamp – it allows us to print almost anything, without movable type.
A quantity of 100 simple 2-color invitations, reply cards and printed return addresses, can be about 700 runs through the press – which is all operated by foot pumping (no electricity). After cleaning up the press, we double-check all the pieces to ensure they are equally beautiful before shipping out the package to the lucky couple.
We are the proud owners of a Chandler & Price New Style 10×15 Letterpress. In our print shop in Vermont, our letterpress’s presence is humbling – weighing in at almost 1 ton or 1,800 pounds – it’s amazing that her 98-year-old frame can produce something so beautiful and delicate. Her legacy continues as we print beautiful invitations and stationery on her. We are proud to say our designs are truly hand crafted, and that we are part of continuing the life of a wonderful and age-old printing technique.
LETTERPRESS IN ACTION
We create our own designs and see them come to life, hand fed sheet by sheet, one color at a time, on a press that’s been printing for nearly 100 years. The indentation left over by the plate being pushed by thousands of pounds of pressure into soft, cotton paper is simply gorgeous. No electricity is used to print, only a foot peddle keeps the motion of the heavy flywheel rotating, which opens and closes the press while printing.
- 1450’s — Johannes Gutenberg invented the first printing press with movable wooden type
- 1450’s to 1950’s — Printing remains greatly unchanged
- 1918 — Our very own Chandler and Price NS 10×15 Letterpress is “born”
- 1950s — Offset printing was invented, almost rendering letterpress obsolete for the next 40 years
- 1990s — Martha Stewart Weddings published an article that helped letterpress became popular again
- TODAY — Letterpress is considered one of the main forms of printing fine wedding stationery