The Common Press

The Common Press is the letterpress printing studio at the University of Pennsylvania. It is supported by a collaboration of interests at Penn, including writing (15th Room Press, Kelly Writers House), print culture (the Rare Book & Manuscript Library), and visual arts and design (the School of Design). The Common Press was founded on January 17, 2006, the 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth. The Common Press provides a mixed media environment to support the teaching of design and fine arts to students, to encourage collaboration on projects across the university, and to expose students to contemporary print culture

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


In light of our recent acquisitions, see images below of both the extremely large quantity of large wood type and wood block patterning (made from old furniture from India) and the engravings of silver pots, cups, teapots, and other such silver things, see this link and you will want to pee yourself.

Heres some information and here's some more if I spark your interest: link. First you should know that the majority of wood type was made by the J. E. Hamilton Type Company. Wood Type became popular in America during the Civil War, when the lead was needed for gunning people down, then Hamilton came into the picture and revamped things a bit. He originally worked in a chair factory. Then he thought: why am I making all these chairs, people are going to get bored of sitting, gotta give 'em something to do while sitting, let's bring reading to the table!!!. Then you know what he did, he switched things up a bit, changed the way woodtype was made. Instead of using Maple, he made the letters of the more cost efficient Hollywood, like a true celebrity, which he then glued to Pine to make them type high.


On First Friday, March 5, from 6 to 8 p.m., the Wharton Esherick Museum will be having an opening: "Wharton Esherick -- Rustic Modernist." This is an exhibition of Esherick woodcut prints, printed by the Common Press. The opening is located with a car at the Phoenix Village Art Center, 207-209 Bridge Street in Phoenixville, PA.

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