wood type museum

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The Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum—a former steel factory in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, that overlooks Lake Michigan—evokes an era when industrial manufacturing reigned supreme. Inside the museum transports you to a time of pounding machines, toxic inks and shellac, sawdust and wood chips, with workers bent over cases of typefaces.

The Hamilton is a working museum, where first-time visitors and longtime patrons alike can get their hands dirty. It is, in short, heaven on Earth for today’s artisanal printers, typographers, and graphic designers, most of whom were weaned on clean and quiet digital tools.

 Read more about the museum.

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Come away with us to Two Rivers, Wisconsin—birthplace of the ice cream sundae, and home to the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum with its 1.5 million pieces of wood type. A group of Chronicle Books employees spent a week volunteering at the museum where they learned about type, and how delicious cheese curds taste after a long day.

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Much has happened to the type and printing industries during what’s been called The American Century: wood type, with some exceptions, gave way to metal, which was surpassed by photo-type, and by the end of the 20th century all type was digital, what we now call “fonts.“

A funny thing happened, though. Generation Xers, and now millenials are infatuated with craft. Hell, there’s been a White House Maker Faire and the president declared June 18th National Day of Making. Almost in direct disproportion to the ubiquity of everything digital, hands-on, impressing ink into paper has become a national and international sensation. 

Chronicle Books Creative Director Michael Carabetta pays a visit to the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Wisconsin to explore this letterpress phenomenon.

 via Chronicle Books Blog