Lucky Duck!

I am in awe with Lucky Duck Print Letter Press etsy shop . Their vintage Christmas card designs are absolutely gorgeous! You could say printing is in owner, Patrick Barrett’s blood seeing as his great-grandfather’s press business dates back to 1901. Barrett was kind enough to share the history of his families business as well as photos. Here is their story in his own words. Many thanks to him for being so kind!

“In 1901 my great-grandfather, Howard Deming, started the Sterling Press in the small city of Winsted, Connecticut. I’m not sure how long he operated solely as a job printer but it was at least until after he was married in 1907.

Howard Deming

Howard Deming

The story goes that he came home from the shop one day to find his wife in tears! The laundry had marked her shirtwaist with a pen (of some sort) and the ink had run and destroyed the garment. This gave old Howard an idea and he, allegedly, developed a “wash proof” ink and began to produce a line of name tapes (one’s name is printed on cotton tape) that could be sewn into garments thereby eliminating the need for the marking with a pen.

He found a rich market in institutions that had laundry service: hospitals, boarding schools, etc. He expanded and changed the company name to the Sterling Name Tape Company. His largest customers were summer camps for kids. In fact, if one went to camp in the U.S. and had name tapes made prior to around 1970, chances are they were Sterling Name Tapes!

He further expanded the business to include other personalized items for campers: towels, toilet kits, and the like. He also began to engrave names on pocket knives, scissors (for medical institutions), and all manner of things.


Locked-up type form


Standing Type

The Sterling Name Tape Company still exists today and is run by my father and brother. They don’t print letterpress any longer (which is why I was able to take a good portion of the old equipment for my own use) and have embraced more modern machinery. They do still sell name tapes though, among other things.

In 2001 (one hundred years after my great-grandfather opened his print shop) I brought some of his lead type and a hand press to Brooklyn and Lucky Duck Press was born! I now work primarily on his foot-powered 1889 Golding Pearl Old Style No. 3 and the 1905 Golding Official No. 9 hand press, creating note cards, wedding invitations, announcements, holiday cards, personal or business stationary, and other custom items.”


Golding Pearl Old Style No. 3

Here are his gorgeous Christmas cards!

Holiday Card With Snowflakes

Holiday Card With Snowflakes

Snowflake card

Decorating The Tree Holiday Card

Decorating The Tree Holiday Card

Decorating The Tree

Brooklyn Holiday Card

Brooklyn Holiday Card

Brooklyn Holiday Card

Parade Of Children

Parade Of Children

Parade Of Children


18 Responses

  1. This was a spectacular look into your life and heritage! I’m so jealous of the long line of letterpress in your family! These are amazing photos, by the way!

  2. Great find! I went to the Etsy shop and also love their rounded business cards!

  3. Great find! Thanks for the heads up and the background. Love to hear a good story.
    Lisa & Alfie

  4. wow, i love these Holiday Cards, the snow flakes is so precious but I love the vintage look of the decorate the tree card.
    Love this post candi, great “Family” story behind the wonderful cards!!! I will need to check out more of their products.

  5. wow. That is awesome. ….and the cards are adorable!

  6. great find and interview! letterpress is one of my favorites. just the feel of it in your hands is heavenly.

  7. Thanks, Candi, for featuring me on your blog! It looks great!

  8. These really are spectacular…I adore that they use phrases from classic Christmas carols!

  9. This is simply AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL! In a world where we are constantly exposed to mass producted ‘junk’ it is nice to know that we can still buy handcrafted items that are made with love and passion.

  10. What a terrific story. The cards truly are lovely. I enjoyed this post. I love cards that are ‘crafted’, so much nicer than Hallmark.

  11. What a lovely story! Thank you for sharing it. The Christmas cards are especially beautiful, especially the Hark the Herald one.

  12. that is way cool! love those cards.

  13. Hey now don’t diss Hallmark my grandparents own one! But I do like the thought of having a history or an interesting story to share with each card you give!

  14. Oh my goodness I love this story, and I love these cards! I’m such a history nerd, I get all teary eyed to learn the wonderful background of such things. To imagine him crafting his beautiful pieces on the same press his great grandfather used…so romantic!

  15. i like the snow flake card. i will need to buy some holiday cards soon. this is the only time in the year i write personal cards.

  16. What a fun story and I LOVE those cards!

  17. I want those cards! All of them 🙂

  18. really neat post!

    and, of course, i love the Christmas cards!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: