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.
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.
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.”
Here are his gorgeous Christmas cards!