Stephen Saxe

A.B. Harvard 1951, M.F.A Yale 1954. Stage and television scenic designer (CBS “Edge of Night” and “As the World Turns”; “Porgy and Bess” for the New York City Opera, “Death of Lord Nelson” for Mme Tussaud’s, London.) Book designer, Harcourt Brace, NY. Founding Board, American Printing History Association. Editor, APHA Newsletter, 1985-1990. Author, “American Iron Hand Presses”. Editor of books on printing including “Nineteenth-Century American Designers and Engravers of Type,” Rummonds’ “Nineteenth-Century Printing Practices and the Iron Handpress.”

Stephen Saxe has been a major contributor to the following articles:

Golding Jobber

“William Golding of Boston set up shop as a printer’s supply house in 1869 and soon graduated to the manufacture of seals, then small amateur presses, and finally full-sized jobbing presses. Golding first manufactured his Jobber in 1880, eleven years after he introduced the simpler, popular Pearl press (see Pearl … Continue reading

General Tools and Supplies

While no one can deny that the printing press is at the heart of every print shop, there are a multitude of print shop tools and supplies that are either incredibly helpful or downright necessary to a functioning shop. Some tools are “compositor’s tools,” useful for the person printing with … Continue reading

Pearl Improved No. 11

William Golding of Boston set up shop as a printer’s supply house in 1869 and soon graduated to the manufacture of seals, then small amateur presses, and finally full-sized jobbing presses. (More at Pearl OS No.1). The Pearl remains today one of the most popular presses for amateur letterpress printing. … Continue reading

Compositor’s Tools

Every letterpress printer—amateur or professional—uses compositors’ tools (tools used in composing handset type) that are essentially unchanged from those of the last century. It would not be too extreme, in fact, to say that some tools, like the composing stick itself, are essentially the same as those used by Gutenberg’s … Continue reading

Restoring Iron Handpresses

The parts most likely to be missing from an iron handpress are the forestay, the tympan, and the frisket. The forestay (the outside support for the rails) can be easily made from wood, using an engraving of the press from a printers’ manual or catalogue for reference. This was often … Continue reading

Restoring Treadle-operated & Motorized Platens

On old platen presses, the parts that are most often missing are rollers, roller trucks, and treadles. New Rollers and Trucks The least serious are the rollers, since there are several companies that sell new composition or rubber rollers complete on the proper-sized core. The main problem here is to … Continue reading

Ottmar Merganthaler and the Linotype

Early Training Although Ottmar Mergenthaler was born in Hatchel, Germany in 1854 and received his early training as a watchmaker in Württemberg, his creative career started and flourished after he arrived in Washington, D.C. in 1872 at the age of eighteen. His first job could not have been more serendipitous: … Continue reading

History of the Platen Press

Earliest attempts in Britain The earliest attempt at making a treadle-operated press with a hinged platen was that of Daniel Treadwell (1791-1872.) Treadwell, an American living in England, devised a press and had the Scottish press builder David Napier to build it in 1821. It was made of wood, and … Continue reading

History of Job Printing

Job printing—a nineteenth-century term—is traditionally defined as printing that uses display type and no more than a sheet or two of paper. Short as that definition is, it encompasses a world of paper items—tickets, letterheads, notices, invoices, vouchers, coupons, cards, labels, posters, receipts, and timetables, to name only a very … Continue reading

Early Printer’s Tools

Tools, conceived in the mind and made by the hand, become an extension of both. Nothing is more basic to the development of any craft. The best sources of information about the earliest printing tools are fifteenth-, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century woodcut and engraved images of the printing operation. The earliest … Continue reading