Printers Fair September 16-17

Midwest & Great Northern Printers Fair
September 16-17, 2011
Printers’ Hall at Midwest Old Threshers, McMillan Park, Mount Pleasant, Iowa
Has anyone been to this? I am considering going but it is 13 hours away.
Is it only exhibits and a few “sellers”, are the sellers like a flea market or just people selling things they have printed lettepress.
Does anyone know how many exhibitors there might be?
I just would like to know if this is a show/sale worth attending and maybe picking up some extra “goodies” for our letterpress shop.
Thank you-

Log in to reply   10 replies so far

Hi Jim,

This is a fantastic LETTERPRESS event.

There is no telling year-to-year exactly how many vendors/tables will be set-up for the swap meet on Saturday morning, but we have been averaging 25 or so tables each year. I expect this year to be the same.

The things at the swap meet are mostly letterpress materials - type, cuts and ornaments, cabinets, type cases, tools, composing sticks, reglets and spacing materials, books and pamphlets, etc. - just about anything a beginner or even seasoned letterpress printer could want or need. There are usually presses as well, but that varies from year-to-year. It all depends on what people decide to bring.

This will go all morning on Saturday.

We will also be there Thursday and Friday for anyone to come and play with our equipment. There is no set agenda or schedule for this. You can come, ask questions, learn to work on specific equipment etc. We will open late into the evening on both of those days. Usually shutdown around 9 p.m. or so.

Have have 3,000 sq. ft.+ of great machinery and equipment to play with.

There is a $5 admission fee on Saturday morning. The other days are free.


This will be our 4th Year as both an attendee and vendor at this outstanding event—-there is nothing that compares to
Printers’ Hall and the sale items are always plentiful as-well-as being quite affordable. We’ll have 5 sale tables
offering about 40 fonts of WOOD type, some 60+ fonts of NEW metal type in unopened packages, 30+ California job cases, 20+ Job Sticks, tweezers, bindery tools and the
list goes on and on——-if your looking for all things related
to letterpress——-DON’T miss this event! 13-hour drive——
sounds familiar——we’re coming from Lancaster, PA and
that’s a 17-18 hour drive——but VERY well worth it——if
possible try to attend ALL 3-days—-Thurs.-Fri.-Sat. *Bill

If anyone on this thread is involved with the organization of this fair, please post it in the ‘Workshops & events’ section of the Classifieds where the event will receive much broader exposure. Thanks.

I have decided to attend.
Are there any other Briar Press members attending?
I am arriving via the train and will attend both Friday and Saturday.

See you there!!!

Also look at the parallel thread at this site under Letterpress for Beginners titled “Save the dates…”

One thing that I mentioned over there is that we have new BIG attraction at the museum. Just last Saturday we moved in a 16+ ton letterpress and hope to have it up and running in a week or two. This should be the most impressive (pun intended) press that most people have ever seen.


OK, Rick, enough fun with the newbies! What kind of “letterpress” did you get that weighs 16 tons?


I might add that there’s quite a bit of “hot metal” activity at the fair as well. Printers’ Hall has several Linotypes and Intertypes, a Ludlow, and an Elrod. (Nothing from the Monotype world, though.) Every time I’ve attended they’ve had some subset of these running (always at least one Linotype or Intertype, usually the Ludlow, and last year the Elrod). As importantly, there are always many extremely helpful people there with a deep knowledge of linecasting. If you have any interest at all in hot metal, it’s worth it just for this.

There are also some really impressive steam engines next door.

David M. MacMillan

I was at Printers’ Hall several weekends ago when the presses (yes there are TWO new ones - but the second is nowhere near as big) were originally scheduled to arrive. They didn’t make it that weekend buty we spent a lot of time clearing out a space for them.

I was not there last Saturday when they did arrive but I will be there from this coming Saturday through Labor Day, so I have not physically laid eyes on them yet.

The leviathan I am referring to is a two revolution Miehle that is supposed to be 9 1/2’ wide and about 16’ long and tips the scales somewhere around 33,000 lbs.


I’m heading down to Printers’ Hall tomorrow morning and won’t be near a computer for ten days. One of the things that I should have mentioned is that everyone is welcome to look at a good write-up (with pictures) from last year’s Midwest and Great Northern Printer’s Fair. Simply go to and then scroll down to the October 2010 issue and click on it. ENJOY!


Just got home last night from ten days down at Printers’ Hall and will be back again next Wednesday night to get ready for the Midwest & Great Northern Printer’s Fair.

I finally got to lay my eyes on the beast. I was just a little off on the weight. I hadn’t factored the turtles and smaller press that were also on the load.

The press is a Miehle, Model 00. It weighs 30,000 lbs. (15 tons) by itself. This press was first used at the Bureau of Printing and Engraving in Washington, DC in 1907 (we understand that it did print money!!!!!) and remained there until 1961 when it was sold to a printing company in Ohio. It continued in operation in Ohio until around 1991 and was then bought by a collector and put into storage until we obtained it this past spring and finally got it moved to Printers’ Hall two weeks ago.

This is the only one of its kind left in the original operating condition. We hope to have it up and running by next year.
This will take a 54” x 38” sheet of paper. It definitely looms large on the east end of our shop.