Type Cabinet Road Trip

When I started in printing at age 12 in 1973, the little weekly newspaper and print shop in Cuba Missouri had an old Hamilton type cabinet way in the back of the old part of the building. When I bought a Kelsey press the next year, they would let me borrow some of the type to print with, or cast some Linotype slugs for me for some projects I had for Grandpa’s plumbing business, or stationary for Grandma.

Fast forward 40 years, and the former owner KEPT the type cabinet after he sold the business and retired. He has now offered it to ME since I am the only person who worked there as a kid who stayed in printing! As I approach retirement, I want to use it for my own letterpress work. The catch is … it is 850 miles away!

Since I don’t have a truck, or a trailer, or a van, or a hitch on any of my cars … it starts getting expensive for me to think about going to get it. BUT, it was the first type I used in letterpress—from my first job … and I could REALLY use 48 cases of type with many type families in various sizes!

SO … next weekend … ROAD TRIP!

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Enjoy your trip and post some pictures when you are back home. It will be a great story for your grandchildren!


Nice Story, put that in print with your type.

Mission Accomplished!

1925 miles, 6 states, 4 days, and 44 fonts in 6 families. The 48 drawer Hamilton Type cabinet originated in the St Louis Area from a book publisher, who sold it to my former boss who starting a new weekly newspaper in Cuba Missouri in 1960. This type was used for headlines and job printing into the early 1970’s, but the paper converted to offset, and most of the printing did too. Eventually the Linotype was shut down, too.

For another 30 years into the early 2000’s, this type cabinet sat in the back of the old building’s back room before being moved to an open garage in St Louis where it was exposed to the elements. It has now been moved to Virginia (and eventually to North Carolina when I retire in two years) to be used by me for my own letterpress projects.

4 drawers/cases are missing. I was aware ONE was sacrificed to make a coffee table for the owner (I suspect the type was dumped, to my horror!), and was probably the 48 pt Alternate Gothic No. 3 that has an obvious HOLE in the list below, but the table maker didn’t remember exactly which one he used.

I feel honored to be entrusted with this type for the next 15-30 years, with the promise I would passed them on to another letterpress printer in my later years.

Only 6 families of type, but most of the font sizes within several of the families:

Franklin Gothic–in point sizes 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18, 24, 30, 36, 48, 60, & 72.

Alternate Gothic No. 3–in point sizes 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18, 24, 30, 36, 60, & 72.

Goudy Old Style – in point sizes 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18, 24, 30, & 36.

New Caslon Italic – in point sizes 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18, 24, & 30.

Stationers Text – in point sizes 8 and 12.

Plate Script – in point sizes 18 and 24.

I did travel beyond St. Louis to visit the original owner of the type, and the newspaper (which was my first job). He is 85 years old now, but gave me a little additional information on the newspaper he started and is running strong today (the paper, I mean). I also visited extensively with the man who taught me printing during my Jr. High and High School years at that same newspaper—which sparked my interest in letterpress printing which continues to this day—40 years later.

This is a wonderful story! I await photos of this wonderful addition to your shop!

As requested, some photos of the trip to get this type cabinet, and it’s arrival home.

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and a few more …

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and finally …

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