Category Updates

The Printers’ Hall Experience


Printers’ Hall is one of those grassroots organizations that puts the individual printer first . . . In the words of Thomas Edison “Opportunity is often missed because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” That sums up Printers’ Hall. Come in your overalls, be prepared to work, and see what opportunities arise for you!”
Mel Stockwell, owner at Calico Press and TOTC 3 Teacher

Mount Pleasant is a tiny town nestled in the Southeastern corner of Iowa, boasting a population of fewer than 10,000. You won’t find a Starbucks here (though there is espresso!), but the town’s agricultural heritage is rich and you can hop aboard the California Zephyr all the way to San Francisco for one of the most beautiful train rides across North America. At Printers’ Hall, you’ll find a grand collection of all things printing; a huge warehouse/time capsule/playground . . . and all of it working condition. The treasures here are numerous and range from the huge to the weird to the enviable. You’ll see the country’s only operating Miehle Model 00 ( , a massive 30,000lb press with a print area of 55″x38,” along with a steam-operated Babcock cylinder press, intertype machines, platen presses, hand presses, Windmills, cutters, and more type than you could shake a line gauge at. You can even cast your name in a lead slug on one of the working Linotype or Ludlows.

And these beauties aren’t sitting behind tape lines just to be admired. You can get your hands and apron dirty at Type On the Cob and take in all of what Printers’ Hall has to offer as an interactive museum of invaluable, living printing history. The founders and caretakers of Printers’ Hall will be on hand and will gladly share their wisdom and stories with you. Perhaps most exciting, though, is the annual Midwest and Great Northern Printers’ Fair, ( where you can ogle all things letterpress, connect with other printers, and probably snag a sweet deal or three on obscure equipment and printers’ toys. Once a year, printers come from all over the country, bringing letterpress jewels of all types (pun intended). This incredible event happens on the last day of Type on the Cob, and you won’t want to miss it. So if you were wondering, “why Iowa?” then don’t just take our word for it. Register for Type on the Cob 2016 in beautiful Mount Pleasant while class space is still available!

Theory and Practice at TOTC 3

Type on the Cob

Image by Meghan Paine of Iron Heart Workshops

Though summer is in full swing, we are already looking forward towards this September’s Type on the Cob gathering in Mt Pleasant, Iowa. This quiet corner of Iowa might seem like an unusual choice for a wayzgoose. But the campus of Midwest Old Threshers holds one of the largest collections of working letterpress equipment in the U.S.: three Windmills, two Vandercooks, numerous handpresses and platens, a steam-powered Babcock, and a working giant of a press, the mythical Miehle 00. Plus a ruling machine, metal and wood type, and more.

This flexible space allows us the unique chance to gather many printers, from beginner to professional, to work together under the same roof. And that’s what we’ll do Wednesday and Thursday of the conference.

One of the most popular features of the early conferences were the panel discussions, so we’ve brought those back for Friday the 16th. There’ll be talks on navigating running a business as a one-person shop; scaling your shop up to support numerous jobs; the clarifying power of deadlines; fabulous post-printing finishing techniques; and a recent international collaborative sonnet-printing project. Plus two night-shift talks after dinner Wednesday and Thursday! It’s going to be an info-packed, inky long weekend.