Embossing Tool?

I received an email from a 4th generation printer who would like help identifying a hand tool. He said that someone sent him this tool that has his company name on it, which will be 110 yrs old this spring, Nether he nor his father has any idea what it is. See photo below.

The tool resembles a large pair of pliers. On the inside of one of the jaws is the name of the company, mirror image and etched out of the steel, as if to emboss. There is no male-female connection and when he tried to use it, it did not convey the image onto paper. He wouldn’t have thought it was related to the printing industry if it didn’t have the name of his great grandfathers printing company on it (est.1900). His guess is that it might leave an impression in something soft like leather if it were thick enough. I could not locate such an item in my equipment catalogs.

image: IMG_2351.jpg


image: IMG_2352.jpg


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The company name might be a clue, if you would share it. Otherwise, my first supposition would be that it could make a source mark on the margin of stereotype mats sent to other printers. Stereotype flong wouldn’t need a counter-die to be impressed in this way, and a mirror-image die would give a right-reading mark on the mat.

The company is Goetzcraft Printers, Inc. in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Flong! What a great word!

The things I’ve learned since taking up letterpress printing…