In 1881 Cleveland, Ohio, USA was a major industrial center and home to a fledgling company run by Harrison T. Chandler and William H. Price. Like other printing equipment makers of the day, the Chandler & Price ‘old series’ letterpress was based on the Gordon Jobber design whose patent had expired. Unlike the others though, a C&P press was truly built to last. It became the pressman’s favorite and the 3/4 ton beauties were soon found in print shops across the nation.
With most of their competition eliminated, the improved C&P New Series letterpress range was introduced in 1911. For the next 50 years, society and business was fueled by literature produced on C&P machines. By the mid 20th Century, with the rise of offset lithography, letterpress printing became a thing of the past. Chandler & Price made their last press and closed in 1964.
Computer imaging transformed the graphic arts industry even further beyond recognition from the 1970s through the new millennium. Some letterpress machines were kept in operation by a handful of traditional craftsmen. Commercial printers also used them for scoring, perforating, numbering and die-cutting. Most presses that were not sold for scrap sat unused collecting rust and dust caused by the new digital era.
Today, a revival is taking place. With sturdy trucks and sturdier backs letterpress machines of all descriptions are being salvaged, saved and restored by hardcore creative individuals everywhere.