After a long journey by truck from Berkeley, California, a 1936 Hacker brand letterpress that weighs about 3,500 pounds, along with about 500 pounds of type, arrived at the University of Montana.
Students will be able to learn how all that old-fashioned machinery sets words to paper. To see what it really can do, look to Peter Rutledge Koch, a master art-book printer and Missoula native, who donated the machine after decades of use.
“Not only are you involved in the history of writing, and the history of printing, and the history of art — because of course, art has always been printed — but also the history of the book itself as an intellectual form, as a political form, as a personal form, as an art form,” he said. “It’s all in one.”
The press will act as a cornerstone for a fledgling book arts program at UM, where students in English, creative writing, visual or media arts and other programs — or even community members — can collaborate on projects that take advantage of the tactile appeal of print.
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Ashby Kinch, the director