Hearing the word vintage brings up images of trendy “retro” items being sold at small, often overpriced boutiques in the hippest parts of town. From clothing and jewelry, to records and even now cassette tapes, this trend for appreciating the leftover remnants of simpler times has been growing for years. What is generally not imagined, however, is vintage print shop machines. As the generation that first made “retro” popular starts to get married and have children, demand has popped up for authentic vintage feel invitations, announcements, and other printed items. When Nancy Hill and Beverly Wolfe found a listing on Craigslist from a long-time print shop closing its doors, they knew they had hit the jackpot. The machines, including a letterpress and a paper cutter, dating back as far as 1922, were the backbone for their new business Hazel and Violet INK.
Here is selection from “Hazel and Violet INK’s Vintage Printing and Modern Inspiration“, by Carrie Wheeler with the Phoenix New Times Blogs:
The women’s work flow is pretty close to how it was done a hundred years ago; they feed each page, by hand, into their 1922 Chandler & Price letterpress they affectionately call “Beauty.”
Most of their work has a decidedly vintage feel, after all, most of their equipment comes from the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s. “We have stuff from later years,” says Hill, “we’re just not as excited about it.” They have cases and cases of type in different sizes and fonts, plus some hard-to-find wooden type. At one point, they had so much extra type that they unloaded a bunch to the ASU print shop.