A Milestone for NA Graphics

Back in 1992, Hal Sterne and his friend Tom Bell set up NA Graphics in the basement of Tom’s house in Cincinatti. Hal and Tom were both in the printing business—Tom owned his own business in Covington, Kentucky and Hal was plant manager for S. Rosenthal that among other things printed TV Guide. Rosenthal was a large firm that dated back many years and its president, Wilber Rosenthal, had been a national leader in the printng industry. His picture was a prominent feature in the Inland Printer during the 1950s and 60s. Hal and Tom both retired and their little start up business of selling letterpress supplies took off, much to the dismay of their wives who complained of being promised a rose garden when their husbands retired, and had not anticipated them starting another career. Along the way in their short term of ownership, they acquired the remains of the Kelsey Company, all that remained of Vandersons, the successor to Vandercook & Sons, and the Cowan Pressroom Products Company. They had also purchased the letterpress supply part of Midwest Printer’s Supply and that company formed the core of NA Graphics.

We purchased NA Graphics in 1996 from Hal and Tom and moved it to Colorado. Hal and Tom both came out and spent time with us getting things set up before exiting stage left. I was in business already owning a restaurant and a hotel, and with my business partner, owned a construction business that to this day specializes in historic restoration. We took on NA Graphics not knowing how certain any of our then existing businesses would continue. We sold the restaurant by 2007 and have concentrated on the printing supply and construction business since. I relied on my past letterpress experience that now dates back 60 years to when I was a teenager and along the way I picked up a degree in printing management and worked for a number of years in the industry in California.

Today we issued invoice number 25,000, which when I think about it, is a lot of stuff going out the door. The lucky customer was the Center for the Book Arts in New York City. We have also made slightly over 14,000 purchase orders with our various suppliers. We have over 6000 customers in our computer data base, and all but a handful, have some connection with letterpress. Even our web site has now generated over 10,000 hard orders and that was set up back in 2006 by Chris Chen, who was working with us at the time. I said it wouldn’t fly, but Chris was insistent saying that I lacked tech savvy, which is true. Chris is now well placed in IT work with Twitter in San Francisco, but still works with the C.C. Stern Type Foundry in Portland.

One of the great features of this business is getting to know more printers than I ever knew existed, and each one has more than one interesting story. Thus with order #25,000 under our belt, we’ll see what happens in the next few weeks, months or years to come.

Fritz Klinke

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Congratulations, Fritz, and many more years and orders to you…..db

Congratulations, Fritz! Thank you for all of your help!

Here’s to another 25,000 orders for you! Thanks for taking care of us weirdo letterpress people.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

Thanks for all you do, Fritz. I don’t know how we’d survive without you. In fact, I doubt The Arm would even be here!

Daniel Morris
The Arm Letterpress
Brooklyn, NY

Congratulations, Fritz! Best wishes for continuing success!

Congratulations and above all, THANK YOU for having the vision and sticking with it!

Thank you for your commitment to the letterpress world, and for all the help you have been over the years. The many conversations we have had have expanded my knowledge immensely.


Getting too damn old with too many things to do— I was just down looking at the progress on a narrow gauge railroad caboose we are restoring—the oldest caboose in Colorado and it is looking sharp. This work is paid for by a grant from the State of Colorado Historical Fund paid for by taxes on gambling, and so far we are on contract #36 or #37 from the state for work like this. Then a quick check on my new print shop, and back to work to do today’s invoicing.

I appreciate all the nice comments on my original posting. I celebrated yesterday and bought a new desk chair for my use in the office, and the salesman wanted to know what I was looking for in particular, as I was testing out the various display models—really simple, it has to be comfortable enough for my afternoon nap. Elrod, the office cat, and I take an extended “rest” every afternoon so we are ready for the evening meal.


Congratulations to Fritz and NA Graphics who helped me tremendously when I first got started.


Congratulations, I admire the work you do.
And, I also take afternoon naps on my desk chair. Haha!

I join in saying “Congratulations” and “Thank you!” So grateful for your presence, service, and wisdom.

Emily Hancock
St Brigid Press
Afton, Virginia

Congratulations, you know the odds of staying in business over the time you have! Thanks for being there and helping me get started on a new career, in printing, by making easily available the many things you do. I wish you many more years of enjoyment.

Congratulations on the milestone! I believe you are the same Fritz I bought a linotype machine from back in 1994 or 95, in Ft Collins. It served me well for 5 or 6 years (in Colorado Springs), until I sold it. Someday I will make it up to your area, I will stop and say Hi.


Congratulations and thank you from Canada! I really appreciate your efforts which make letterpress printing a lot easier and more fun.

That was 1996 in Ft. Collins and we were were both buying stuff from the widow of a printer. Two #31s were saved, yours and one that went to Van Buren, Arkansas—the machines came out of Rocky Mountain Bank Note in Denver. I bought a lot of mats, Reid magazine racks, and metal. That was just before I bought NA Graphics—nice shop but the widow had already trashed a lot of good stuff before she agreed to a sale to vacate the space. I got a nice run of Helvetica and a backup of Optima in 6 through 12 pt. The guy had been a Compugraphic salesman and as he sold Compugraphics to close out hot metal in dozens of shops, he picked up the best of what these places were getting rid of for his own personal use.


We at Lead Graffiti love telling the participants in our workshops that we get almost everything we can from NA Graphics. And have since our first start in letterpress back in 2002.

Keep it going.

Congratulations and thank you from Australia - your advice has been invaluable as has been the letterpress equipment that I can get in Colorado and not here.

Congratulations Fritz on your business and supplying parts and equipment to the letterpress printing community.


Casey McGarr
Inky Lips Press

Congratulations Fritz and all there. I hope you have a hundred more years in the business.

Fritz, we are all indebted to you. I have been doing business with you for decades and, if you don’t have some arcane tool or supply for letterpress, it probably can’t be found. I do however, have one minor complaint. If I call to ask you a simple question about some printing issue, chances are the conversation will last a few hours. Reminiscing about Miehle Verticals; arguing gas pots vs. electric; Lino vs. Mono, etc., etc. It is just too much fun talking to you. It’s only a problem when I have oil base ink on the press.

You are a National Treasure and I expect you to be awarded some Presidential Medal any day now.

Keep it going,

Pat Reagh

Congratulations Fritz, you are an indispensable resource.

Tom & Terri


Congrats Fritz! From myself and all the folks at C.C. Stern…

Congratulations, Fritz!
And I am proud to one of many that have purchased from you.

Aaron Poscovsky
Three Cats Publishing

Wow very inspiring for a newbie! Congratulations


You did it your way, and the hard way (bone, tissue and feathers!).

Sanctified by time and persistence, you are a true servant of the glorious word.

Let us celebrate the heart and fiber of such a genuine hero.


William J. (Bill) Murray

Congratulations, Fritz, and thank you for being there. The last time I spoke with Hal Sterne shortly before his passing he mentioned you and how valuable you were to all of us. Here’s to an other 25,000 invoices.
Carlo Mario Nudi
Letterpress Coordinator
Tampa Book Arts Studio
University of Tampa