Latest News

The romance of letterpress

Tuesday, 29 May 2018
By Print 21 Online Article

San Francisco, 1913 (photo: SFMTA).

Industry storyteller James Cryer will be at the Penrith Museum of Printing this Saturday to share the captivating tale of a pioneering Australian letterpress printer – his grandfather – who worked his way across the US before the outbreak of World War 1.

James Cryer, JDA Print Recruitment.

“This is a discussion about how printing was starting to emerge out of the shadows and become a part of everyday life,” says Cryer, owner of JDA Print Recruitment.

“This is not a technical dissertation, rather it’s a genial wander through what life looked like in 1913 – not through the eyes of a boss or even a historian – but from someone who was actually there, viewing the world from the bottom up, feet on the ground, trying to earn his living as a letterpress printer, as he worked his way across America in the months before the outbreak of hostilities in Europe.

“Like it or not, one can trace the rise of rampant consumerism – with all its embedded ambivalence – back to this era,” Cryer says. “My grandfather was part of this era, an unwitting participant if you like, as he stepped off the pier in San Francisco Bay into this maelstrom.

“He had come from a benign industrial regime – Australia had just passed the world’s most enlightening IR laws – into arguably the free world’s most aggressive, unregulated economy where boss/employee relations could best be described as ‘dog-eat-dog.'”

The presentation, titled The Romance of Letterpress Youthful Impressions: A printer’s journey across America, 1913 will begin at 2.30pm this Saturday, 2 June 2018, at the Penrith Museum of Printing – located on the grounds of the Penrith Showground/Paceway, Ransley Street, Penrith, NSW.

For more information, visit or phone 0415 625 573.

Comment on this article

To receive notification of comments made to this article, you can also provide your email address below.