Bowne Printers on Water Street NYC
In a recent visit to New York, I had a chance to stroll to the South Street Seaport just past Wall Street. I had only briefly visited this area once before and wanted to revisit it. This was when I walked past this quaint press printing shop and museum.
I love the texture of fine paper and have an appreciation for classic prints like what I discovered in this little shop. Seeing that they had a few presses on display, I could not resist taking a few snaps of the ornate presses. I love wrought iron eagle and the worn patina of such an industrial equipment.
Hoping to see a demonstration of the press in action, one of their employees - Ally - obliged my curiosity. He explained how the typeset were wooden, and that this press was setup for test prints or small batch printing. I was hoping to find a nice gift for my niece so he set the type with her name. And I remember my days in art class of inking and hearing the ink crackle once you've rolled over the type block a few times.
And as simple as that you've got a test print. He shows me the characteristics of the print how some letters have that salted look and what they would need to do to fix it. So fascinating to me this entire process. I love the tactile nature of an art form like press printing. The mechanics of placing spacers between the letters, and setting up the roller properly and even the risk that each print isn't exactly the same. I hope that this little print shop will see better days ahead and that it can be appreciated by future generations. If you want to visit for yourself, here's a link with some information about their shop at the South Street Museum website.