Cryer releases The Romance of Letterpress

By Colleen Bate | October 27, 2021

Printing industry recruiter James Cryer self-published The Romance of Letterpress, a journal of his grandfather’s travels as he traveled across the United States as a freshly minted letterpress printer from 21 years old from Sydney.

James Cryer: discovery of the diary

The book, which required six years of work and extensive research, documents Wal Cryer’s experiences from 1913 to 1914, captures the essence of society before the Great War, examines the contrast between two cultures and highlights the impact of printing. processes and products during this period.

“The starting point for the project dates back to 2014, when I discovered the diary in my father’s office,” Cryer said. Print21adding that the postcards were “coincidentally” retrieved from his cousin’s attic shortly afterwards.

Illustrated with a host of postcards written by Wal Cryer, which were sent to her fiancé at the time, the book was designed by Roger Cole and printed on demand on Fujifilm Iridesse Production Press by Intertype in Melbourne.

It was printed in landscape to best illustrate the postcards but, according to Cryer, “had some problems”.

James Cryer's book: The Romance of Letterpress
James Cryer’s book: The Romance of Letterpress

Cryer said the pandemic had an impact on production, he said, “With Melbourne in a long Covid lockdown, it took around 18 months instead of six to get to print.”

However, the end product is a beautiful 162-page tome, which features a “the book is mine” card as an example of what a two-color letterpress-printed product looked like a century ago.

The cards were printed by Sydney-based Watermark Graphics, using a special staggered-edge die, onto Gmund Max White cotton cloth supplied by Ball & Doggett Australia.

The Romance of Letterpress book is available now for AU$64.95 (including Australian postage and packaging). To buy here.