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John G. Cooley Wood Type

John G. Cooley Wood Type

40-Line Antique Condensed (?) This recent purchase has the J. G. Cooley, New York makers mark. This places the date of manufacturing between 1859 and 1868. I told my Sister in-law that I’m now going to expect to find letterpress type every time I come to visit. Last visit I picked a few sorts at an antique store near her house. Prior to this visit she struck gold and found the “Bonanza”. Part of the lot was a small set of 60pt Cheltenham Condensed bold caps lead type. Pretty abused. We’ll have to see how well it prints. On the surface it looks like a few pieces might have been dropped, flattening a few serifs. Then there is about a 4A set of 10-line Gothic wood blocks that look pretty old. A decent amount of Tuscan sorts, but some are fragile and have cracks, if not already split. It was nice to find a matching letter “J” among my sorts. This batch truly showed that it was a barn find (see below). The feature of this find is the John G. Cooley 40-line Antique Condensed, circa 1868. This is a large set. Multiples of every letter except the “Z” and the “M”. The above sorts includes some unique letters. You have to love the lowercase Tuscan Condensed “g”. Who wouldn’t want an entire set of Antique Double Outline Shaded? I’ll settle for a beat-up old...
A Letterpress Bonanza!

A Letterpress Bonanza!

Bonanza? Well, maybe more like a Ponderosa. We recently added some curious items to our little garage studio. My Sister-in-law found some printer’s blocks and wood type at an antique shop near Carson City, NV. She picked up the entire box. Printer’s blocks, wood type and sorts. This bundle came with a bit of provenance. Seems the blocks came from the Ponderosa Ranch. The owner of the antique store said they were stored in the wagon barn. It stands to reason why there is a bit of magnesium corrosion on the printer’s blocks, and lots of Tahoe sand on the wood type. I have found no evidence of a print shop as part of the amusement park. Perhaps the twelve silly headlines were part of the “Old Time Photos”. They probably had a little showcard press setup. I’ve seen that “Wanted Poster” set up at other western attractions. Get your picture taken in western attire and display it on a newspaper with a headline like: To Star In Bonanza Found Sober – Shocks Town Found Drunk On Root Beer Escapes Hanging – Rope Breaks Picked Up In Vice Raid Goes On Wagon – Distillers Panic Arrested For Sobriety Elected Queen Of Deadwood Found Drunk On Beer Loses Crap Game­–Hocks Kids Escapes – Shotgun Misfires Caught, Bootlegging Booze I never went to the Ponderosa Ranch at Incline Village. Nevertheless I did enjoy the TV show. The park closed in 2004. Sad to see that nothing was ever done to preserve it. Little more information on the old Ponderosa Ranch click here. Test print proved that the corrosion may mean that...
Sigwalt No.10

Sigwalt No.10

The Ben Franklin Print Shop Sigwalt No. 10 Every once in a while I find a letterpress item in an antique shop. Usually it’s a piece of wood type here and there. When we’re really lucky we have found a whole bunch of type. We’ve even found a couple of Hamilton type cases.  We were on our way north to the wine country to pick up some bottles at Cline Cellars in Sonoma. It had been a while since we had taken a side trip to the little town of Martinez. There are a couple of stores worth visiting while in Martinez–Antiques On Main and Antique Corner. At Antiques On Main I noticed a box that said, The Ben Franklin Print Shop. Print Shop! What’s that? The kind gentleman brought it up to the counter so I could see what what inside. It was a small Sigwalt No.10. It was like new and even had a decent roller, plus an extra still wrapped. This is such a cute little press I had to have it. It looked so small when I set it on our 10x15 C&P. Not sure what year this was produced. The Sigwalts where around for many years. I figure it may be the late 1950’s or early 1960’s....
Veneer? Wood Type

Veneer? Wood Type

French Clarendon? When I was taking a close look at some recently purchased type I thought two blocks looked odd. When I started cleaning the type part of the lowercase “r” separated from the block. Looks like it may be veneer. I don’t know much about veneer wood type. Pretty sure I can perform a little surgery and repair it....
Another Antique Store Find

Another Antique Store Find

Whenever I walk into an antique store I always hope to find something letterpress. It doesn’t happen very often. There’s a nice store in Gardnerville, NV that we go to when visiting family. I really didn’t feel lucky at the slot machines so I told everyone I’d rather go across the street to the antique store. Guess I was the winner of the day. I didn’t hit rich but I did find a few gold nuggets. There was a large enough selection of wood type to look through. Cheap enough that I even thought about buying every letter they had. Instead I chose wisely. I hadn’t been very luck at the Casino the night before so I didn’t want to spend too much. I found 17 letter blocks. Enough to put a smile on my face. One of the more interesting letter was a letter “Q”. It has the appearance that it was roughly cut. Was this an actual font, or an unskilled attempt at hand made type? So I referred to Rob Roy Kelly’s book, American Wood Type 1828 to 1900. It appears to be Ben Franklin.   My favorite of the recent find are 8-letters that appear to be some sort of Antique Extended. Although these 5-line blocks appear to be ultra extended. Still trying to locate a font specimen for reference. The rest of the bunch is nothing to much, just nice additions to the misc. drawer. As you can tell from the photo, I have a little cleaning to do be for there get put...