It’s a sleepy Thursday afternoon, and printer, typesetter and “poster boy” Lucas Hennessey is in the basement of Bay View Printing Co., 2702 S. Howell Ave., Milwaukee, feeding card stock to Jean: a 75-year-old Chandler & Price platen letterpress.
“This is where the ink gets applied,” Hennessey says, using a palette knife to spread ink on a disc. “The rollers continue to spin, so every time they come up, they are evenly distributing the ink that’s on the disk.”
While Jean hums away, Ashley Town, the owner of the 105-year-old letterpress print shop, fields questions from designers Daniela Valle Chavelas and Alison Kleiman as they design wedding invitations that will soon be transferred to photo-polymer plates and put into Hennessey’s hands.
In an era where digital printing is king, Bay View Printing Co. has maintained a loyal and growing customer base by marrying modern design techniques with a centuries-old craft, making everything from foil printed cards and coasters to posters printed with wooden letter blocks larger than the palm of your hand.