Sunday, December 7, 2008

Kelton Etching Press 1 (Front of shirt)

My connection to old printing machinery has a personal facet as well. The first etching press I owned was made by this company, M.M. Kelton, out of Brooklyn and New York City, and was very much like the one in this design. It is a cast-iron direct drive etching press. I bought it right after finishing my undergraduate degree ---the finding of it was a pre-wedding gift from my late husband, Jim. It just so happened that an acquaintance of his at that time had a big old farmhouse in the Philadelphia suburbs with a basement bursting with artifacts from the WPA. The man's father had been a WPA artist. Rather fitting, considering that this year is the 75th anniversary of the WPA!
Unfortunately I had to sell the press after having it for 10 years, because I moved and had no usable space in which to keep it. The press moved around a lot while I owned it and its current owner has moved it around quite a bit also. Although I still miss the press, I am happy that it has an appreciative home! (And I have since gotten a tabletop Charles Brand Etching press and I am very pleased with it.)

I have always been especially intrigued with the lovely lines of this press, and I know the memory of having owned one like this has been a prime motivation for doing this series.