Portable type case?

As a dabbler in letterpress who lives in New York City but who doesn’t own his own press, I find myself in need of a method for carrying type (which I do own) from one borrowed press to another.

I’ve seen a lot of lovely antique wooden type cases on offer in various places, which will be great when I settle down in the country and have a room for cabinets and my yet-imaginary Vandercook.

But for the moment, are any of you aware of a good solution for toting my lead type around?

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is the type in cases currently? when i first started out i couldn’t afford the $1.00 a case that cases were selling for back then, i used egg cartons, the 18 egg ones. if you have the type in cases and you are driving around with them in a car you will bounce the type all over the place, you should tape chipboard over the case to prevent this. good luck dick g.

I’ve heard of people putting sawdust or somesuch in the boxes of the case to keep the type from being battered during transport.


Hello AW,

There are all sorts of containers with small compartments you might use. Here’s one I found especially good for type:


You can get bead boxes at a crafts store, and there’s usually an assortment of containers for hardware at places like Home Depot.

You’ll find these kind of boxes useful even after you get regular type cases. I’m starting to move all my type into regular cases, but I’m keeping some small fonts in the bead boxes because they take up less room than a regular case. I also keep spacing material and ornament sets in the bead boxes.


There’s a thread somewhere in the letpress archives about “Lyons Boxes,” which are these fantastic little card boxes with a little inner tray which slides out so you can easily proof the entire box (if you have a proofing press). See here:


and here:


I don’t have anything that fancy, but I’ve found that most of my fonts fit quite nicely all lined up neatly in the little boxes that christmas cards come in (if you don’t have an attic full of old card boxes that you can raid for type you might check Paper Presentation on 18th between 5th and 6th. They have some nice fairly sturdy looking jewelry and card boxes in various convenient sizes). The ones with the transparent tops are especially nice, I think. I have some smaller fonts and little dingbats and things in Jewelry boxes. They’re often about an inch tall which is perfect for type. I don’t have any pics of my card-boxed type but here is a little jewelry box that I fitted with a fancy mylar flap:


The boxes aren’t a perfect solution but they’re pretty convenient and much more compact and portable than cases and cabinets (I even have a lovely hamilton cabinet full of lovely empty mismatched cases—it lives, along with my big C&P and my beautiful, beautiful paper cutter, at my parents’ spacious upstate abode, waiting for the day that I don’t live in tiny little room with a 3 flight walkup). I have some craft-store bead boxes too which I use for spacers and things.

I stacked the boxes in a square bottomed tote bag (with shoulder-length handles) when I had to move it. You can then quite easily transport as much type as your bag (and shoulder) can support.

That’s been my solution so far anyway!