First Press: Morgan Co. Write-A-Sign

I’m not a letterpress novice, but not a pro either. I’m a graphic designer with a BFA in printmaking. I took a few semesters of letterpress with part of my thesis body utilizing letterpress mixed with other things, but I am a complete beginner in ownership. I’m dipping my toes in with a small press that fits in my apartment and in my price range.

This evening I purchased a Write-A-Sign off Ebay and pretty much all I know about this family of sign presses is from the two posts here on Briar Press.

The one I bought has a 14”x22” bed and comes with the set of magnetic type. The photo below is from the listing.

Given that the type is a different height, I know I’ll be limited by that, but I think I’ll try and figure out what thickness of backing I’ll need for linocuts and polymer plate. I’m wondering if it is really necessary to make the backing magnetic (this was a recommendation in another thread) if it is made to fit the same size of the glass plate.

I did see on a blog somewhere that someone was using a Write-A-Sign for monotype. I figure I’ll mess around with doing monotypes and pressure prints with this as well.

Curious to know if anyone here still has one or had one and any general tips or advice about it. Also what did use in your Write-A-Sign to print besides the rubber letters? I’d like to learn what I can while I wait the week or so for it to arrive.

image: sl1600.jpg


Log in to reply   3 replies so far

I have not used one of these but have printed on several showcard / sign presses. This is similar to a simple proofing press where you ink the type and then roll your paper over it with a blanket between the roller and paper. The blanket could be sheets of newsprint, felt etc.

Lino and mylar plates can be printed by sticking them to a sheet of clear plastic e.g. Perspex and then underlaying with card to bring up to printing height. Magnetic backing is not required I use double side tape. Other materials could be used for printing from such as rubber sheet,thin plywood etc.

For the history buffs I believe the presses were first called Rite-a-Sign[email protected]/albums/72157686699614850 and later Write-a-Sign[email protected]/albums/72157687317213983
At some time Morgan made Line-Scribe[email protected]/albums/72157660969943978 showcard presses which used normal height type and presumably dropped the Write-a-Sign.

I have no experience with this particular kind of press, but I just wanted to say how happy I am to see it pop up here! I also saw it on Ebay and was curious (but not able to justify purchasing it myself), so I hope you’ll post updates as you discover its possibilities. Good luck!

Yeah, I definitely plan to share how it goes! It will arrive this weekend and I’m pretty excited about starting to tinker with it.