History and…

An odd little addendum, this page is intended to chronicle the little bit we know about the history of the press and type that resides in our basement.    The Cranky Press owes much of its existence to Otto Graser and his Black Squirrel Press.   Long a mainstay of private presses in Eastern Ontario, Otto generously parted with most of his print shop when he struck out in new – and digital – directions in 2003.  Visit Otto’s site at:  www.ottosart.com/.

Otto purchased most of his equipment from Don Black in the mid 1980s; the Reprex, a Craftsman’s Monarch platen press, two banks of full type cases, a bank of 2/3-size cases and various bits and pieces.   

Among the fascinating assortment of type and equipment acquired from the Black Squirrel Press is a full font of Jim Rimmer’s beautiful “Fellowship” in 24 pt.  It was Otto’s chosen house font, and we understand that Otto was present at the Pie Tree Press and Foundry while it was cast. What a wonderful experience that must have been!

Mystery: who were they?

typecase with printers' inscriptions, c1930s

Hidden at the back on one of the type cases in my print shop is an intriguing collection of signatures and dates, scratched in pen directly onto the back of the case. Presumably, these were marked by compositors and pressmen who once worked with the case.

Although we know nothing else about them, it would be wonderful to learn more about who they were and where they worked.   We’ve listed below all the legible signatures we could identify (there are others which are illegible.) 

  • Jerry Gorman –April [12?], 1942 
  • “Mac” – 1937 
  • Howard Boucher – Feb 4, 1942 
  • Ron Beecham

Tips and leads from the letterpress community will be most happily received!

Contact us at info (at) thecrankypress (dot) ca

The ubiquitous Kilroy made an appearance as well…

Typecase signed by Kilroy