Many professors and other instructors were saddened to learn recently that the Silver Buckle Press, a cherished teaching resource for hands on work in print and text technologies, would no longer be available for our class visits. After a retirement and budget cuts in the UW Libraries, the press was given, via permanent loan, to the truly great Hamilton Wood Type Museum near Green Bay. Though marketed as an expansion of accessibility, the move was really a big loss for the UW-Madison teachers who relied on the press to provide memorable hands on learning opportunities to students in courses covering a range of topics including book history, art, literature, writing, geography, and web design.
Thanks to a collaboration between the SLIS Library and the Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture, starting in the Fall 2016 semester, we are able to offer a similar (if for now much smaller) hands on learning experience to faculty and students.
The Text Technologies Press is located in the SLIS Library on the fourth floor of Helen C. White Hall. We have all you need to compose a brief message in lead type and print it on a table-top clamshell press (which was something like the blogger platform of the 1880s and 1890s). This hands on work is perfect for showing how news, literature, and everyday print (like tickets and forms) was printed through the mid-twentieth century. It’s also a great exercise for writing classes (what is the meaning of “proof” in proofreading anyway?), art classes, and even web design.
Someone will be available to greet your class, give a brief lesson in typography and printing, and get your students to work at the press.
Please email Jonathan Senchyne (senchyne at wisc dot edu) or Anjali Bhasin (bhasin2 at wisc dot edu) to set up a class visit for your class.
In the future, we hope to expand our offerings to include this iron frame press which will allow students to experience the craft nearly as it was done in the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. But, we need to show that students and courses need and benefit from this kind of resource before we can commit to this larger (and easier to use) press!
Looking forward to seeing you at the Text Technologies Press this Fall!