Help from Southern California printers?

Old Town San Diego State Historic Park happens to contain the original offices of the San Diego Union, est. 1868. Those offices happen to contain two presses, a Roe & Co. iron handpress, and a “California Reliable” platen press, both in working order, and a selection of type. I happen to be in the process of rehabilitating the shop from a dusty museum into a working letterpress shop.

I am a total rank amateur. I have been reading and figuring stuff out on my own, but I need help from experienced letterpress printers to get me up to speed. There’s no money in it, but the more we can engage the public in the letterpress art, the more they might want to pay for it, and any expenses or donations you might make would be tax deductible (not that I’m begging for donations, the shop is fairly well-outfitted already)

Any takers?

image: printshop.jpg


Log in to reply   4 replies so far

Great opportunity — I wish I could help but I’m over 3000 miles away! However, you can help me — I would appreciate more information about the Hoe Washington hand press for the North American Hand Press Database: serial number, some measurements, a photo. You can contact me through Briar Press. Thanks!

You might also want to post contact info through Briar Press so people could contact you or the site.


I’d be more than happy to get you the information you’re looking for on our handpress. I’ll be at the shop all day today, so it won’t be any problem to get the specifics.

I’m organizing all this through my personal email and phone, so for spam reasons, I’d prefer if people contacted me through BriarPress at the moment. Soon, I’d like to get a website and email set up specifically for the Union.

I’d also like to mention that specifically what I’d like help with is packing and setup for printing on the platen press. I’ve got a decent handle on setting type, and we’re actually printing already on the handpress. I’ve read about packing, adjustment, and makeready here and in books, but as I’m sure you’re all aware, an ounce of experience is worth a pound of reading. I’d feel a lot more comfortable messing with these machines if I had a little bit of hands-on time with someone who knew what they were doing.

Hey there,

Have you found anyone to give you pointers yet? I am up here in Long Beach and will actually be in the San Diego area for Labor Day weekend (wedding in La Jolla). I would be happy to come by and help you out for a bit if we can schedule it right. Maybe Sunday? (not too early)

Send me a message so I can email you off the site.