I just had lunch with one of my old co-workers and friends, Sam Wilder. I used to work with Sam at a big letterpress print shop in Chicago ("big" being relative in the letterpress world--when I left we had about 8 press operators). Sam's been printing letterpress his whole life and he taught me pretty much all I know. I worked as a pressman there for about 6 and a half years before I was able to quit and go full time with the illustration gig. That happened just a short 4 months ago.
Anyhow, hanging with Sam and hearing the news of the shop and reminiscing about days gone, it made me wanna post some pics of my final days at the shop.
Sam and me, in front of one of the larger format Heidelberg cylinder presses. This particular one can run a sheet size of up to around 26" x 30".
Reid, my pal and cylinder press trainee during my final few weeks. This one's the biggest in the shop. Sheet size about 26" x 32".
Resident Die-Cut specialist, Don. Here he holds one of his many custom made dies.
Don and Reid standing at one of the several smaller format presses, the Heidelberg Windmill. These can run sheets of up to 11" x 15" in size.
A sideways shot of my favorite Ecuadorian pressman, Milton. Here, Milton is mixing a custom Pantone color on a very filthy mixing table.
A giant shelf (salvaged, actually, from another building tenant's trash) that holds pre-mixed Pantone colors, saved for future print jobs.
A cross-section of the shop. You can see some windmills, a light table, some furniture (way back), and Milton cleaning up.
Lastly, my pal Doug. We used to kill time, or liven things up, by pitching wadded up balls of shrink wrap at each other. Here's Doug at his windmill, head poppin out of said ball. Doug, too, has since left the shop. Thanks to Doug for all these pics (and many more!). Taken with his fancy digital cam.
It may not look it, but those were crazy times. I miss those fellers.