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luckyduckletterpress

Lucky Duck Press - Letterpress job printing

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My workhorse press; a Golding Pearl No. 3 Old Style, born 1889.
A form of type set for a wedding invitation job.
A hand-carved linoleum block for a show poster.
The finished poster.

The History of Lucky Duck Press

Lucky Duck Press is a direct descendant of my great-grandfather’s Sterling Press of Winsted, Connecticut.

In 1901, my great-grandfather, Howard Deming, purchased a printing press by mail for $36.10 and started The Sterling Press in the small city of Winsted, Connecticut. His business offered announcements, calling cards, invitations and business brochures and was printed by the method of the day, letterpress. He carried on, building this company, for at least seven years. At that point, though, a household crisis caused him to think about another avenue for letterpress printing.

Not long after his 1907 wedding, Howard came home from the shop to find his young wife in tears! The laundry had marked her new shirtwaist with a pen and the ink had run, destroying the garment. This led Howard to develop a “wash-proof ink” and a product line of cotton nametapes that could be sewn into garments to identify the owner and eliminate the need for marking by pen. He found a rich market in institutions with mass laundry service, such as hospitals and boarding schools.

Howard expanded the business, renaming The Sterling Press, The Sterling Name Tape Company. Parents of summer camp attendees became his largest customer group. In fact, if one went to camp in the U.S. prior to 1970 their nametapes were most likely from Sterling!

The company expanded further into personalized goods for campers, such as towels, laundry bags, and backpacks and also began printing labels for crafters and small clothing businesses. Today, my father and brother run Sterling and have continued Howard’s legacy of looking for innovative printing methods for today’s market. (Visit www.sterlingtape.com to see what they’re doing today).

Over the years, any printing equipment that became outdated was moved to the basement of the Sterling building. And so, just over 100 years after Howard opened his print shop, I brought some of his hand- and foot-presses and lead type to Brooklyn, and Lucky Duck Press was born!

During the next few years I've returned to the old Connecticut shop to ‘liberate’ Howard’s foot-powered 1889 Golding Pearl Old Style No. 3, 1905 Golding Official No. 9 hand press, Challenge proof press and an automatic card press. Returning the equipment to its turn-of-the-century vocation of personal and business stationary. I work with Sterling’s original lead type and images, as well as photo-polymer plates, to create note cards, wedding invitations, announcements, holiday cards, personal or business stationary, and other custom items.

In 2010, I brought Lucky Duck back home and returned the presses to the family-business building in Winsted, CT in beautiful Litchfield County.
Patrick Barrett
owner
Designer and printer.

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