Monday, February 8, 2010

The Story of a Pearl

Those of you who read my "Wednesday Wants" know how badly I'd been looking for a Golding & Co. Pearl press. Briarpress, Craigslist, and ebay were becoming my daily morning reads as I ate cereal, hoping that I would find the perfect press. These floor model presses are very sought after for their relative (I use this word lightly) ease in moving, and for the work that they produce. Before I found my pearl, I had been working with two other table model presses, a 5x8 Kelsey and a 6.5x10 Chandler and Price Pilot press. While they both did the job well they are hand-lever presses, which means that with every impression my arms would get quite the workout, especially if I was working on large projects.

I decided to call the printing museum, where this journey started for me, to see if they had any for sale. After speaking with the director I was disappointed to learn that he had just sold the one he had, but was able to refer me to two men he knew in the printing business that might be of help. The first was Mike Anton, aka the Golding Guru, located in St. Louis, Missouri. Mike actually had one that he was in the process of restoring, and that he could sell to me as soon as he was finished (which is probably still available if anyone is looking to purchase one). Unfortunately because he was located half-way across the country, shipping the press was the only option, and not one I was too excited about.

I then called the director's second reference, Jim Reck who by some miracle was located in La Mirada, California -- 20 minutes from my house! And you can probably guess the rest, but Jim (who is a great letterpress resource) had a Golding & Co. Pearl No. 3 that he was thinking about selling. My husband and I were at his house the very next day, and to my surprise, he also had a guillotine paper cutter that he was hoping to sell as well (I had actually been looking for one, but had decided to wait until after I found a press). They are both two fantastic additions to my studio, which is now outgrowing its space! I also learned that according to its serial number, this press was manufactured on March 1, 1887 making her 123-years-old in 3 weeks!

With the help of Bill and George (two of my husband's friends, who are also two of my best friends' husbands) we loaded up the press and paper cutter this past Saturday, and brought them home. Chance of rain was about 80%, which meant that we had to work quickly. We used George's truck and went to U-haul to pick up this bad boy:

The car ride home was the most nerve-wrecking 20 minutes. The boys had tied her down pretty well inside the trailer, but I was afraid this old girl might have a spill. When we finally got to the house, getting her up to our fourth-floor condo wasn't too difficult since we have an elevator:

Billy and the pearl in the elevator

George and Spiro moving the paper cutter

And now she sits pretty in her new home:

Scary guillotine paper cutter :)

Big press / Little press

My time spent researching, waiting, and my persistent efforts to find the press of my dreams was worth every minute. It was a good weekend :)

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