Press here

The Adana and all its accessories and type took up quite a bit of space in my bedroom. My dad built a typecase rack on castors which fitted neatly under the desk but I still had drawers full of printing equipment, paper and card. I produced dance tickets, notepaper, business cards, invitations and change-of-address cards for family, friends and local customers. I had a hobby which made money!

I even managed to get the press and enough typecases and equipment into my car when I went off to university. A very tolerant room-mate put up with me churning out admission tickets and party invitations.

My life moved on, and so did technology. It became easier and cheaper to photocopy or print direct from a computer. I also became interested in offset-litho which enabled high-volume colour printing of any original – text and graphics, limited only by one’s imagination and creative ability.

The Adana still had its uses. It was better for printing on thick or heavily embossed card, for example wedding invitations. But now, instead of composing copy with movable type, it was also possible to have photopolymer ‘plates’ made from your original. These were simply mounted on a wooden block with double-sided sticky tape.

That was all years ago, and the Adana has been sitting in the corner of a garage, unused. I really thought that it would be of only scrap value, but a quick look on eBay made me realise that there has in fact been a resurgence in letterpress. The last new Adana was apparently sold in 1999, so nowadays there is a healthy demand for second-hand Eight-Fives and other presses. I bought a chase and some brand new rollers, and recently sold my forty year old printing press for £350. I am sure it could last at least another forty years.

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