The pica pole pictured above is a piece of Portland, Oregon printing history uncovered recently by Dee of Magpie Messenger Collective. When Dee first came upon this treasure discarded in the street, he recognized it for what it was most recently used for: a "slim jim" (tool for breaking into cars) but what caught his eye was that this tool was crudely fashioned from a printer’s pica stick. It’s an old one, and has a name engraved on it in several places: “WM S LINTO”. Upon referencing old trade journals and an old phone directory that we have here at Stumptown Printers, we discovered that Linto (William) was a prolific local hot-metal era printer born in 1885. He started working in the printing trade at age 19.

On top of that, the printer’s tool was supplied to Linto from the Portland American Type Founders office, one of 4 such offices west of the Rocky Mountains during the early twentieth century (Fellow printing geeks will appreciate this - American Type Founders were the King-Daddies of type founding and design for much of the twentieth century). Linto was a compositor at the Oregonian newspaper, but is also known in the world of stamp collectors for his private press work, in particular his printing of cachets. Most of the examples that we could find were of World War II era propaganda (if you search for it, be warned: some of the stuff is a bit over-the-top and can be offensive) but we did find earlier examples of cachets commemorating local events such as the Portland Rose Festival (Pictured Above. The image was lifted from this website).

So how did this antique pica pole get into the hands of someone who is more interested in breaking into cars than typography and small press? That’s the mystery. Anyone who has worked in a print shop knows that printer’s pica sticks and line gauges are not to be messed with, once a printer claims his/her pica pole, it stays with them. Printers rely on their own, if they were to use another, they may find their measurements off by a half a point, so it’s best to stick with the tool that they are familiar with. Linto knew this: his name is engraved in 3 places on this pica stick. Undoubtedly he kept this trusty tool close to him, which aided him in creating an estimated excess of 5000 different cachets (source).

This American Type Founders pica pole is roughly 75 years old, why did it surface now? The person who was using it as a slim jim was no craftsperson, the conversion is very crude and the “rope work” making up the lanyard is bungled. So I’m guessing that the assumed thief isn’t a former printer looking for a new livelihood. But you gotta hand it to whoever appropriated this printer’s tool. It does appear to be the right size and shape for breaking into cars. Pretty clever. This use of a pica stick is something that has never occurred to us. We had better keep an eye on ours. But the real question is: How would Linto feel about his precious tool being used in this way?

Thanks to Dee for sharing this find, and for having fun researching this bit of Portland printing history with us

Our buddy Elijah Klauder is wrapping up his stint as our Printer’s Devil. We started him on the dirty jobs: sweeping, recycling, ink clean-up and folding shop towels. He then moved to letterpress type distribution. He tackled some standing forms that were more dust than type. After the type distribution he focused on cataloging cases, sorting display type and moving them to galleys. Eventually he learned the basics of setting type, ran some lines on the Linotype, printed and die-cut using the 13 x 18 Heidelberg platen press.
We’ll see if we can get him to run some more ink here before he heads off to college, but in the meantime we wanted to thank him for his dedication and hard work. We’re proud of his accomplishments and wish him the best with whatever creative endeavors he chooses to pursue. The card Elijah is holding was hand set, printed and die cut by him. We’ll be including them with orders while they last. 

Our buddy Elijah Klauder is wrapping up his stint as our Printer’s Devil. We started him on the dirty jobs: sweeping, recycling, ink clean-up and folding shop towels. He then moved to letterpress type distribution. He tackled some standing forms that were more dust than type. After the type distribution he focused on cataloging cases, sorting display type and moving them to galleys. Eventually he learned the basics of setting type, ran some lines on the Linotype, printed and die-cut using the 13 x 18 Heidelberg platen press.

We’ll see if we can get him to run some more ink here before he heads off to college, but in the meantime we wanted to thank him for his dedication and hard work. We’re proud of his accomplishments and wish him the best with whatever creative endeavors he chooses to pursue. The card Elijah is holding was hand set, printed and die cut by him. We’ll be including them with orders while they last. 

More love from Japan. Stumptown Printers featured in this guide: “True Portland The Unofficial Guide For Creative People.” Like Elle magazine’s Portland guide, we’re happy to be nestled in these pages along with some of our favorite Portland small businesses. I believe this piece mentions the namesake of our “Arigato Pak" package design. Thanks to Travel Portland and all the folks behind the True Portland / Bridge Lab guide.

More love from Japan. Stumptown Printers featured in this guide: “True Portland The Unofficial Guide For Creative People.” Like Elle magazine’s Portland guide, we’re happy to be nestled in these pages along with some of our favorite Portland small businesses. I believe this piece mentions the namesake of our “Arigato Pak" package design. Thanks to Travel Portland and all the folks behind the True Portland / Bridge Lab guide.

Look what came in the mail this week! After years of hard work on the part of Brandon Mise (of Blue Barnhouse Press) and many others, the Adventures in Letterpress book is out! Its pages feature over 200 photos of letterpress printed items from around the world, including a couple from Stumptown Printers. Pick up a copy for yourself at Laurence King Publishing.

Look what came in the mail this week! After years of hard work on the part of Brandon Mise (of Blue Barnhouse Press) and many others, the Adventures in Letterpress book is out! Its pages feature over 200 photos of letterpress printed items from around the world, including a couple from Stumptown Printers. Pick up a copy for yourself at Laurence King Publishing.

Still reeling from the amazing performance by Lubomyr Melnyk at YU on Friday night … great sounds in a great space! We’re lucky to have worked on the printing of two of Lubomyr’s releases through Hinterzimmer Records, including the recent “Windmills” which he performed live on Friday.

Still reeling from the amazing performance by Lubomyr Melnyk at YU on Friday night … great sounds in a great space! We’re lucky to have worked on the printing of two of Lubomyr’s releases through Hinterzimmer Records, including the recent “Windmills” which he performed live on Friday.

Hot off the sewing machines, we now have two colors of Stumptown Printers ball caps available. We wanted to make an all American baseball cap with all made in America parts and materials. It was a little trickier than we thought to do that. As it turns out, most custom embroidered patches and ball caps you can buy in the States are made overseas. We were surprised to learn that even companies with names like “Patriot Patches” and “All American Patch Embroidery” outsource their labor to overseas markets. Luckily for us, Blazing Stitches right here in Portland worked with us to make the beautiful yellow twill-backed patches. We used American Made Cap company out of Texas for the high quality twill ball caps with traditional snap-backs. And to put it all together we turned to the fine folks at Queen Bee, right up the hill from us here in North Portland, to have them apply the patches to the caps using heavy duty stitching. The hats are now available, in both red and black, in our store for $25 each.

Hot off the sewing machines, we now have two colors of Stumptown Printers ball caps available.

We wanted to make an all American baseball cap with all made in America parts and materials. It was a little trickier than we thought to do that. As it turns out, most custom embroidered patches and ball caps you can buy in the States are made overseas. We were surprised to learn that even companies with names like “Patriot Patches” and “All American Patch Embroidery” outsource their labor to overseas markets.
 
Luckily for us, Blazing Stitches right here in Portland worked with us to make the beautiful yellow twill-backed patches. We used American Made Cap company out of Texas for the high quality twill ball caps with traditional snap-backs. And to put it all together we turned to the fine folks at Queen Bee, right up the hill from us here in North Portland, to have them apply the patches to the caps using heavy duty stitching.

The hats are now available, in both red and black, in our store for $25 each.

Congrats to Eli West & Cahalan Morrison on the great NPR and Folk Alley coverage this week! The physical album has great artwork — printed here at Stumptown Printers just a couple weeks ago using 2 colors on Chipboard, with our Phillip’s Favorite package design. Listen to "I’ll Swing My Hammer With Both My Hands" here, but be sure to pick up a copy for yourself.

Congrats to Eli West & Cahalan Morrison on the great NPR and Folk Alley coverage this week! The physical album has great artwork — printed here at Stumptown Printers just a couple weeks ago using 2 colors on Chipboard, with our Phillip’s Favorite package design. Listen to "I’ll Swing My Hammer With Both My Hands" here, but be sure to pick up a copy for yourself.

Arigato Pak! Where did you guys come up with that name?

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Good Question. I’m surprised that it took you so long to ask it. Over ten years ago we applied this somewhat oddball name to our (at the time) new and equally unconventional disc package design. We thought that the name may raise an eyebrow or two. We also imagined that one day we would grow tired of explaining the name’s origins. But nope. The name stuck, the album package design rapidly spread by word of mouth across independent music communities around the globe, and we’ve only shared the story of the name a handful of times. I suppose we underestimated the community of Arigato Pak users. Of course the name wouldn’t seem like an oddity. The Arigato Pak! has always appealed to a creative avant-garde crew of artists, musicians and the like who wouldn’t bat an eyelid to such things.

The Story: Around the time when we were revising some designs of paperboard based disc packaging which would evolve into the “arigato pak,” we purchased a new (to us) press. It belonged to a retired artist who used the machine to print four-color reproductions of his oil paintings. We were on the hunt for a machine that had a small foot print but behaved like a larger press; one that could handle thick 18pt paper board but still register on a dime. Judging by the quality of the process color printing that the previous owner was producing, we knew that this little work horse could handle the later. But could it handle the heavy weight board that we were using for packaging? “Yes, Jake can do it.” Answered the artist-printer. “Jake?” We inquired. “Yes, the press. Jake. Mr. Jake Arigato.” Ah Ha! Arigato! We fed paper cut to the press sheet size required for our new package design, and it ran beautifully. The machine was designed and manufactured in Japan by Hamada, and so after completing a successful print run, the previous owner would thank the press by using the Japanese word for “thank you” (short for domo arigato = thank you very much). The name came with the press, so we passed it onto the new design.

We decided to use the mis-spelling of the word “pack” (pak) as an homage to ubiquitous utilitarian packaging whose manufacturing names use this spelling. (If anyone knows where this hackneyed spelling came from or why, please let us know) I’ve seen many packaging companies who use it: such and such pak, etc. The one very notable example is “fold-pak”. They’re the company who manufacture those clever paperboard take away food containers, popularized by American Chinese carry out restaurants. Picture: white waxed paper with illustrations of pagodas and the words “Enjoy” and “thank you” printed in red ink. The “hook” fasteners on the Arigato Pak! are reminiscent of the hook closer of these carry-out food containers, so we thought that this spelling is appropriate. So there you have it– The story of how the Arigato Pak! got its name. We’re proud of this oddball name and oddball package design, and happy that it has made it to far corners of the world while it houses many generes of music from many cultures.

Look for the Arigato Pak! name which appears on the inner flap (hidden when assembled) of every package that we print and manufacture. Designed and made proudly in Portland, Oregon by yours truly: Stumptown Printers. Arigato! Arigato!

Read more about the Arigato Pak anniversary here.

Arigato Leaf Baby illustration by Bwana Spoons

Portland, we hope that your banjo hangovers are subsiding as the dust settles upon the 2014 15th annual Old Time Music Gathering. Good times were had, whiskey was spilled, 76 year-old upright basses were shattered and plenty of good music came busting out of dance halls, pubs and house parties for nearly a week. As proud supporters/sponsors of this non-profit volunteer run event, we were happy to host an open house here at the shop which dovetailed into many old-time music happenings. Thanks to everyone who stopped by, and thanks to the musicians who played tunes and sang songs over the sounds of the Linotype and printing presses.

Portland, we hope that your banjo hangovers are subsiding as the dust settles upon the 2014 15th annual Old Time Music Gathering. Good times were had, whiskey was spilled, 76 year-old upright basses were shattered and plenty of good music came busting out of dance halls, pubs and house parties for nearly a week. As proud supporters/sponsors of this non-profit volunteer run event, we were happy to host an open house here at the shop which dovetailed into many old-time music happenings. Thanks to everyone who stopped by, and thanks to the musicians who played tunes and sang songs over the sounds of the Linotype and printing presses.

The Portland Old Time Gathering is in full swing — year 15!!! Quite an accomplishment for an all-volunteer event! We’re proud to have been a sponsor of the Gathering almost from the start, printing a new poster each year. In celebration of this collaboration, we have put together an Open House on January 17th.
Since Stumptown Printers also turns 15 this year, we have invited some of our out-of-town customers to play as duos to celebrate the dual anniversaries. From 3-6pm this Friday there will be music in the front room, and an opportunity to see the presses and production area in the back. Stop by to talk shop and hear some tunes from Clancy Ward & Sarah York (Wisconsin), Charlie Beck & Charmaine Slaven (Washington), and Beth Bingman & Rich Kirby (Kentucky).
Afterwards, hop on the Max Yellow Line to get down to the Scottish Rite Center for the Old Time Gathering concert. There is a great line up of music, workshops and dancing scheduling all weekend long.

The Portland Old Time Gathering is in full swing — year 15!!! Quite an accomplishment for an all-volunteer event! We’re proud to have been a sponsor of the Gathering almost from the start, printing a new poster each year. In celebration of this collaboration, we have put together an Open House on January 17th.

Since Stumptown Printers also turns 15 this year, we have invited some of our out-of-town customers to play as duos to celebrate the dual anniversaries. From 3-6pm this Friday there will be music in the front room, and an opportunity to see the presses and production area in the back. Stop by to talk shop and hear some tunes from Clancy Ward & Sarah York (Wisconsin), Charlie Beck & Charmaine Slaven (Washington), and Beth Bingman & Rich Kirby (Kentucky).

Afterwards, hop on the Max Yellow Line to get down to the Scottish Rite Center for the Old Time Gathering concert. There is a great line up of music, workshops and dancing scheduling all weekend long.