Hamilton Type Museum

I first heard of Hamilton Wood Type Museum a couple years ago, shortly before the fabulous Typeface documentary came out.  In fact, I attended the Seattle premier of Typeface followed by a Q&A with Jim Moran, Hamilton’s resident archivist and printer. Ever since, Hamilton been on a short list of must-see destinations. Located in the remote town of Two Rivers, Wisconsin on the shore of Lake Michigan, it’s definitely off the beaten path. From Milwaukee, Two Rivers was nearly a two hour drive north, one way. Adam Beadel, printer extraordinaire, and I departed for the small town early Saturday morning, with a quick stop at Denny’s for breakfast.

Warning: I chose to upload all the photos in this folder at once, instead of breaking the post in two. This will load slowly.

After over an hour of driving, we finally reached the lake front, driving along its frozen shore until we entered Two Rivers.

Never far from a brewery in Wisconsin!

The outside of Hamilton Wood Type!

Upon entering the museum, we were greeted with this beautiful broadside:

Inside the museum, we were greeted with a lot of merch, a visitors log, and flat files upon flat files of posters and broadsides.

Looking over from the entrance ramp, into the museum. I was struck by the poster below, made for Hamilton’s 10 year anniversary a couple years ago. The poster is made of different ornament systems and printed in two colors. The design is quite beautiful.

This is the area where type was produced using a pattern and a router. The technicians who worked in this trade, pantographers, were unbelievably skilled. The art is nearly lost, with only a few old souls still capable of working the machinery.

Hamilton also had a linotype machine in its collection. A new film is in production, Linotype: The Film, which is being funded through kickstarter (I contributed!) and should be an amazing collection of near forgotten information. Instead of individual characters of movable type, the linotype machine set whole lines of type out of molten metal. After the material was printed, the lines would be melted down again within the machine that originally cast them. The history of print in this country is fascinating.

This machine is how rule, or lines, were applied to paper. This machine dates from the 1870s!

Looking down the main aisle of the museum. The display cases house beautiful, rare wood type faces from the past century and a half.

These were some of the most beautiful typefaces I have ever seen, and my favorite specimens I discovered at Hamilton.

In the back, Hamilton has a working shop. For $75/ day, you can print with a large selection of wood type. They have a Vandercook, several platen presses and many sign presses for use.

Finally, my new motto for 2011:

Visiting Hamilton was both an overwhelming and a wonderful experience. Here’s a gorgeous poster I purchased from Hamilton almost a year ago. It hangs over my bed.

Table of Contents