The Clark Library’s Head Cataloger was at the International Printing Museum in Carson, CA to celebrate 100 Years of Wood Type with the Southern California chapter of the American Printing History Association. If you’ve never been there, you should know that there are literally hundreds of printing presses, a few linotype machine, monotype casters, acres of moveable type and other typographic goodies. They have classes, demonstrations, a small yet impressive reference library, and an army of knowledgeable volunteers. What’s even better? Most of the presses on display to the public are in working order.
On this particular Saturday in August, the Washington hand-press (no. 473) manufactured by the Cincinnati firm, C. Foster & Bro., was set up for attendees to try their hand at the pull. During the time it took to ink up the forme, it was revealed that this particular press was once owned by the “famous Los Angeles-based wood engraver, Paul Landacre.”
When asked about the chain on one support, the docent explained that Mr. Landacre had put this press out in his yard one afternoon in anticipation of its move to a new studio. Surely, a large iron hand-press was too much for someone to steal, but, as a precaution, he secured it to a fence with this chain and a padlock.
Apparently, Mr. Landacre did not spend the night at the old place (or perhaps he was a heavy sleeper), but when he awoke the next morning, the press was gone.
But how did it find its way to the IPM? Stay tuned…
Part II, coming right up…?
We still haven’t gotten a real confirmation of the facts, but we are actually going to post an update to the story later in the morning.
This information on the Foster press sheds light on my own Foster press. Up to now, mine and one other at the Center for Sacramento history, formerly at the Sacramento Bee newspaper co. are the only two Foster presses known (to me) . Interestingly, this one in LA and the one in Sacramento have consecutive serial numbers, 473 and 474. Mine is not numbered as the brass identification plate is missing. Mine differs in that the very top of my press is crowned with a large shell shaped casting. All other details are identical to the one in your pictures. If you or anyone else reading this knows of another C. Foster & Bro printing press, or has any information about these presses or the company, I would like to know about it. Thanks for your blog. Charles
[…] and the Ward Ritchie Press. Landacre’s engravings are incredibly detailed and his prints (he printed his work himself on a Washington hand-press) are stunning: dramatic and sultry, capturing both the […]