Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Collection of Printers Blocks

Thinking Backwards


Wood Type from MonkiVintage










I'm arranging my printers blocks. Numbers precisely hand carved from wood. Shiny, textured copper faces fastened to a solid wood block. There are letters, a small bird, a row of intricate musical notes used to print lines for an old hymnal. Darkened with ink that has seeped and spread along grain lines. Several blocks have penciled marks on the back, "MST", "Taylor", a small, scribbled "2X". I've invented stories about these marks. My three favorite wood blocks are tall, a little taller than my hand, self-standing, a red X, Y, and a Z cut from blond wood. The X and Y are symmetrical, so when I see the Z, for a second I wonder why it looks slightly odd. It's reversed, and I must think backwards to an old letterpress.

Stamps of Boy and Sister from FrenchAtticFinds





My collection of blocks can be arranged and rearranged, a single letter standing above other old, wood pieces. A small stack of vowels silently speaking their sounds, and they prompt the kids to sing their abc's. Words spelled for someone's name, or a celebration. Once I received six blocks in a special package, "be mine", spoken from his heart. I don't own the whole alphabet, yet, or lots of initials for all our names. I just mix my different shapes and fonts, of simple m's, and d's, and curvy s's. A wonderful mix to match and mix to arrange and rearrange, and read and use every season back and forward.
Letter T from gazaboo
Relief printing, letterpress printing, movable type, reverse print, linotype. Wood, zinc, paint, metal tools, engraved, embossed. Think Gutenberg (and the forward of the civilization of the world).

Punctuation marks (these are always special to collect and admire). Capital letters. Numerical symbols, fractions, advertisements, engraved prints, and batik and block fabric designs and painting (these are amazing!)

From A to the Z, keep your letters around, the backwards type is really forward.

Please click on the captions of the photos for more pictures and information. All these beautiful selections are from the EveTeam, an elite vintage team on Etsy.

Postmark Letterpress from LuccaBalesVintage
Capitol N from fallaloft

16 comments:

Andrea Holding said...

Loved reading this post! So nostalgic as I come from a long line of old fashioned printers and typesetters. Ancient history now except for some wonderful artists who are finding new ways to use old processes. Thanks for this!

Miss Farfalla said...

What an eclectic charming visionary post! I love the range! Beautiful items! A whole new way to look at the alphabet!

Anathalia said...

Great post! :)

TheInspiredTrader said...

Beautifully written! Fabulous post and selections all of which swept me away!

Kathi said...

Oh, I just love old type! Great finds, thanks for this wonderful post.

tracy said...

I love old letterpress, pen nibs, old letters and numbers, and this post!

Whimzy Thyme said...

Very cool! I never see that stuff in my thrift hunts. I will scarf them up if I do.

William said...

I like as things vintage industrial. This is a super cool thread.

gazaboo said...

Love vintage letters. Initials are always a great personal gift, making the recipient feel special. Whether it is for a new baby's nursery, a teenage, or office decor letters always fit forwards and backwards.
Wonderful post, thanks so much.

Modred Vintage said...

Such a great post, I love old printers blocks. Thanks for including me.

Cheryl said...

So thankful for what these printing blocks stand for, without which we would not have had the written word and lovely images so readily available!
Thanks so much!

Moody said...

I recently bought a piece that I've never seen before. Someone took a printer's tray and cleared out the dividers from the middle of it, leaving the sides alone. In the middle, they have arranged all different types of printer's blocks in a very artistic fashion. It makes a really cool shadow box for miniatures. I'm not sure I can sell it though - I fell in love with it too quick.

Great post! Maybe I'll fill my printer's block tray "shadow box" with what it originally held... printer's blocks.

Niftic Vintage said...

I have a huge collection of printer's blocks! I just love them! Thanks for a truly wonderful read!

luccabales said...

Love this post. There's just something romantic and nostalgic about old printer's block and engraving tools.

Rachel@rhapsodyattic said...

I never see these items in my hunts either, seems they are all the rage though! Love it!

SummerHolidayVintage said...

Gorgeous post...and so well written!! I hope to come across some printers blocks in my hunts as well!

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