Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My New Toy

This is the new toy that is responsible for the type in my latest batches of cards. Found on Ebay, this is a Cub Rotary Press, an incredibly intricate and complex children's toy from the 1940s, which came with (apparently) all its pieces intact (signifying to me that most likely a child never got his or her hands on it!).

I have lately become enamored of letterpresses (check this out, I'm a big fan!) and was searching ebay on the off chance that someone out there had an awesome old press that they just happened to want to give away, possibly even deliver to Vermont. Naturally, that scenario didn't play out, but this little rotary press seemed a good place to start.

As it turns out, children of the '40s must have had incredible patience, or toy manufacturers of the time must have been very optomistic or out-of-touch, because this is just hard! The first job was sorting out the little bitty type and arranging it in its little bitty box.

Painstaking and neck-aching are two terms that come readily to mind. But see how neat when it was done? And the two little picture blocks came along too!

The mini bottle of ink that was part of the original set is firmly closed and no doubt dried up, so I tried caligraphy ink and it seemed possibly a bit too wet. I don't really know about ink consistencies, but I had difficulty coating the type. Using only a single line worked best, so I just made little word tags, but would love to try to write out something longer. Just got to figure out the ink situation. This evening I tried Chinese brush painting ink, but it seemed pretty much the same.

If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them!

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At May 31, 2007 at 4:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh my gosh! that is very cool indeed. what a great find. i bet you could e-mail the San Francisco Center for the Book, or anywhere that gives letterpress classes, to find out what sort of ink is best (it might even be in their materials lists for projects). now i want one of those!

At June 12, 2007 at 5:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just purchased something very like this at a second hand store. Can't wait to use it. It had more letters and some picture "cuts" that I guess you fixed on with rubber cement (two very old tubes of same were inside). I say I guess because the instruction book was missing! Is it possible for you to make a scan of your instruction book, or make a photocopy of it for me? I'd appreciate it (and pay your postage and copying costs if the latter). Please write me at Thanks!


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