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Donald Kilpatrick
I love the smell of letterpress ink in the morning...
posted:
The Golding Map press. c. 1906
A few years back I was surfing the Briar Press classifieds (a site devoted to letterpress), and noticed that someone in Rawlings Wyoming wanted to sell a couple of tabletop letterpresses with some various supplies. I was living in Salt Lake at the time, and realized that it was only a three-hour drive from my home. I borrowed my sister’s truck, dragged my brother along for the ride, and set out to purchase this stuff. 

When we arrived I realized that what this gentleman was selling was worth more than what he was selling it for, and he told me that if he hadn’t sold it that week, it all was slated to go to the city dump. He was happy to see it all go to a loving home.

There have been times in the past few years where I have toyed with the idea of selling this stuff because i needed the money, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it. Not only because of the potential of really regretting it later on, but because the man who sold it to me had a stroke after he bought it. He bought all of this stuff with the intent of teaching it to his grandkids.

The press in the photo is another story. I was telling some of my friends about my Wyoming adventure, and of them who happens to be a sculptor tells me that he has a press that he was just about to take a blow torch to and cut up for a sculpture. I was able to convince him to sell it to me, and only after having purchased it, realized that it is a Golding Map Press. The Golding Map Press is rare, and offers a lot of pressure for a tabletop press.

It is a beauty of a press, and still works like a charm after a hundred years. I haven’t been able to really put either of these presses to good use until now. I am lending the Craftsman (green color) press to a friend of mine who studies at Cranbrook currently, and I had the rollers restored for the Map Press. I also just built a heavy-duty workbench for the Golding press, and almost killed myself lifting it onto the bench!

I finally will be able to make good on my promise to letterpress a series of Christmas cards and promotional postcards this year, and really experiment with this thing. I am going to start working on this in September. If anyone out there wants to be included on the mailing of these, e-mail me.

Just for fun, here are some videos from my friends at Boxcar press that instruct one on how to properly get the job going on the press. You can see all of this by clicking here.

The fine folks at Boxcar press also run Bella Figura.


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Kilpatrick is teaching at TutorMill, an online mentoring site for students of illustration!