˙pǝʇɐʌɐɹbbɐ ǝq oʇ puǝʇǝɹd oʇ ǝʞıן ʎǝɥʇ ɥbnoɥʇןɐ 'ʇı ǝʌoן ʎǝɥʇ ˙ʇxǝʇ dıןɟ buısn sʇuǝpnʇs ʎɯ oʇ buıɥʇǝɯos ʇuǝsǝɹd ı ɹɐǝʎ ʎɹǝʌǝ ˙ʎɐp sןooɟ ןıɹdɐ ʎddɐɥ
If you have read my blog before, perhaps you have seen this table. It started out a little forlorn. I had been looking for a good table with a lip around the edge. I knew that I wanted to make a letterpress table and the lip would help keep the blocks in order.
These are the letterpress blocks. They come in all shapes and sizes and fonts. Just like our many fonts today, there are also many sizes and fonts for letterpress blocks. The different colors on the block are from the ink that has been rolled over them. A lot of times, the red is there to stay (which is fine with me!). To clean these blocks, the printers (back in the day) had a little jug filled with gasoline. It had a mesh circle on top that would press down and a small amount of gasoline would come up through the mesh. The printer would soak his rag with the gasoline and use it on the blocks to keep them clean and gunk free.
My family has been in the newspaper and publishing business for almost a hundred years. (There IS a difference between newspapers and publishing by the way.) As a young girl I would see these letterpress blocks used all the time. I began collecting them at antique shows, long before Ebay. Then I collected them off Ebay. I used them for decorating fun, but I was just waiting on the perfect table. Finally, I had it and I poured out my bag(s) of letters one night and had fun. If you will notice, the letters are backwards. They are supposed to be. The word is laid out, the ink rolled on, the paper (or other) set on top and the weight rolled over the paper. Then when you pick up the print, your words are correct. Get it?You know the old idiom, "Mind your p's and q's"? Well now you understand what they meant. When building your words or lines, it is easy to naturally put the letter down as we know and see it. (I am the WORST at that!) Therefore the p's and q's could not be mixed!
As you can see in the pictures, I set up names, places and things that are special to our family. I also put in special numbers. I laid them out and sat them on the table then gathered the extra letterpress blocks around them. There is TAYLOR3 (her birthday day) above.
Tim & Lori (above). Yes, I interchanged the fonts frequently. I had to because of the blocks I had. Plus it just makes it more fun.
Kelly.The SON from Ferguson. Sooners and Wucas. (Well I did Wucas for two reasons: 1. I was out of L's. 2. When my youngest son was little, he said his L's and W's. Therefore that made him Wuke Wucas. :) Since I had the other letters for Lucas, I figured why not make it Wucas?
Yes, I even included our beloved pets. Howie. (We've got them ALL on the table!)
I flipped the picture, so the words/letters were facing the camera. The arrows are just a sampling of the words and dates that are on there. I did not "arrow" them all. See what you can pick out! (Don't forget...dog is really God!!)
The same picture without the arrows. See how seamlessly the words and dates all blend together? It's a great puzzle and conversation piece!
Notice the really big blocks, like the L and 1? Aren't the fractions fun?
I also have every single type of punctuation in the big size. An ode to the English teacher in me! This could be a comma or an apostrophe, depending on how it was used. Notice I did not put all the filler letters and numbers in the same direction either. I just filled to fill!
In this picture (in the lower left corner) and the big block in the middle, are advertising blocks. I have lots of old advertising blocks as well. Many of the advertising blocks are brass and can be shined up beautifully.
Believe it or not, I need to start another table. Since I did this one, we had two grandbabies, Leightyn and Behr. One of my sons is engaged as well, so we need to add Tiffani. I thought it would be fun to begin another table, instead of trying to redo the original. I have already begun to store up more letters, numbers and advertising. If you plan on collecting them, be aware, the letterpress blocks are on wood. There are some metal pieces as well, but those were used in linotype machines. I have a few of those as well, but they are the tiny filler pieces.
Now you know everything you ever (or never!!) wanted to know about letterpress blocks and why the letters are always backwards. Don't you agree it was a great April Fools Day lesson?
Here is the ugly little table that I got for $10 (along with another one).
Here it is after I cleaned it up, painted it and made a cute little chalkboard table out of it. It would have been great to keep it just like that.
But I had all these blocks that needed a permanent home.....
I added some very small casters. Mainly for the effect!