carter studios


Next weekend I'm going to be opening up my doors as part of the Philadelphia Open Studio Tour.

My studio is located in Northeast Philadelphia at Globe Dye Works, a beautiful old factory building converted into artist's studios. There will be a half dozen or so other exhibiting artists in the building, painters, boat builders, photographers, and more.

If you're live in or happen to be in Philadelphia next weekend, I really hope you can stop and say hello.

I'll have some new work to show you and you can see the new up and running press, type collection, and other neat things. There will also be refreshments.

See you there!


You know what? Fixing a press is not easy, especially if you're unfamiliar with the inner workings of the type of press you're trying to fix. I've used Vandercooks for years, and feel confident tinkering with one, because I know how it's supposed to act when it's working. But this press...

my press where it sat for 30 years unused

Is a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a vest. Recently though, I've made some more progress, and more importantly, I'm gaining confidence. I'm also coming to terms with the fact that this press will never look perfect, but it should work.

A few months ago, I found out that my press has some parts that weren't manufactured by Chandler & Price.

my press, ink disc bracket

My ink disc bracket is made up of three parts, two arms that bolt to the frame and one that lays over top, like a post and lintel. On a C&P, this is all one piece.

my press, ink disc lever

Another mystery was how come the ink disc lever, the mechanism with a little hook that turns the ink disc, was much smaller than a C&P's. It worked, it just didn't look like it was supposed to.

Lastly, there's the gripper cam.

my press, gripper cam

A C&P's gripper cam

Well, as you can see, one of these things is not like the other. I knew these parts weren't homemade repairs, because they had serial numbers on them, but I didn't understand where they could have come from.

So I did some research and found out that around 1887, Chandler & Price was not the only press manufacturer around. There were many regional manufacturers building nearly identical generic presses lumped under the description of old style Gordon jobber presses. The article George Gordon's Dream Press is a great resource if you want to learn more. I plan to buy A Catalogue of 19th Century Printing Presses by Harold E. Sterne when I have some extra dollars too.

Now that I knew that, I searched for images of "gordon jobber presses" and started finding some presses that had parts that looked like mine! Like this one, an S&L old style jobber press with a three piece ink disc bracket.

three piece ink disc bracket

And most striking, I found the Old Reliable. The Old Reliable was only manufactured for one year, 1888, and then the patents were sold to Chandler & Price.

Old Reliable

Chandler & Price Old Style

The two press's look nearly identical! So what I've come to realize is that my press is a mutt. The main frame and platen is from a 1887 Chandler & Price. The flywheel, gripper cam, ink lever, and ink disc bracket...not Chandler & Price. They could be from any number of regional press manufacturers that were around back then. I'm so glad I figured this out, because now that I know that there's plenty of other mystery presses out there that are working. Will it work even though it's a mutt? I think so.

Adventure Adventure

Adventure adventure...both on screen and in real life. Exploration in new lands. That is the theme of today's post.

:: from the Carter Studios website ::

Yesterday, we went to visit my good friends Mike and Jess of Carter Studios. Jess and I were roomies in college. It made me very happy to see them again. They are both incredible designers and artists, working in a variety of materials.


They took us on a tour of their incredible studio/live space in the old Globe Dye Works factory. The place is in the midst of being converted into artist's studios. Very exciting.

On screen, we've been watching hours and hours of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and Michael Palin: Pole to Pole. I fondly remember watching Pole to Pole on PBS years ago (I was a huge Monty Python fan in my teen years) and now realize how indebted these newer travel shows like No Reservations are to this classic. They're both guaranteed to make you long for exotic landscapes (the fjords!) and very very hungry.

:: anthony bourdain ::

:: michael palin ::

And what do you need to go on an adventure? A good satchel. I've become smitten with the designs from two etsy shops, Cotton Petal from Scotland and Wooly Bison who makes wonderful bags out of recycled wool clothing. I'm torn between the choice of getting a smaller bag or something that will carry my laptop. Any thoughts?

:: cotton petal ::

:: wooly bison ::

Once I have my satchel, it's off to the fjords for me.