I am obsessed with antique printing technology. I am a printer. Or, I used to be. I co-ran an offset print shop for years. Printing is actually the only thing in which I have any formal education (I have a vocational training certificate in offset lithography). So, given my letterpress fetish, I have been watching, with great envy and excitement, as Jimmy DiResta gets the printing bug and begins to acquire, restore, and learn letterpress printing technology.
Every time Jimmy’s YouTube channel reaches another 100,000 subscriber milestone, he shows off one of his tool collections. He just reached 1.1 million subscribers, and so to celebrate, Jimmy gives us a tour of some of the typesetting machines and letterpresses that he’s been collecting.
In the video, we get to see Jimmy’s dog tag printer, paper stencil-cutting machine, and his check-cancelling perforating machine. He also gives us a tour of his 1911 Chandler & Price letterpress, the press that he found 7 years ago that began his printing hobby. It was a complete rusted hulk but he slowly nursed it back to operational health. We are also introduced to his larger 11 x 15 Chandler & Price machine from the 20s or 30s, a Peerless press from the late 1880s, and an adorable 11 x 7 Gordon’s machine from the 1860s on which Jimmy’s been printing his business cards. Finally, Jimmy shows off his Chandler & Price paper cutter. We used to have one of these in the print shop in my high school. It was always fun, and a little scary, to use. There is something very satisfying about locking down that giant wheel, throwing the cutting lever, and guillotining a freshly-printed, tall stack of paper. I still have that sound of the slicing in my head.