Bowne & Co.

Bowne & Co. South Street Seaport Museum's custom letterpress printing shops, workshops location, and art gallery. Bowne Printers is a letterpress printshop in downtown Manhattan and part of the South Street Seaport Museum.
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The shop's resident printers use the Seaport Museum's extensive collection of historic printing equipment, moveable type and engravings to print custom jobs and retail items that are sold in house and next door at Bowne & Co., Stationers. The shop is open 7 days a week and invites visitors to watch and discuss letterpress printing in New York City. Please inquire about our monthly typesetting and linoleum block carving workshops!

Operating as usual

6-line Roman, ca. 18286-line Gothic, ca. 1835#36daysoftype #36days_O
04/19/2021

6-line Roman, ca. 1828
6-line Gothic, ca. 1835
#36daysoftype #36days_O

10-line unidentified6-line Gothic, ca. 1835#36daysoftype #36days_N
04/18/2021

10-line unidentified
6-line Gothic, ca. 1835
#36daysoftype #36days_N

12-line Hamilton No. 169, Hamilton Manufacturing Co., ca. 18926-line Gothic, ca. 1835#36daysoftype #36days_M
04/17/2021

12-line Hamilton No. 169, Hamilton Manufacturing Co., ca. 1892
6-line Gothic, ca. 1835
#36daysoftype #36days_M

6-line Aldine Expanded, ca. 18726-line Gothic, ca. 1835#36daysoftype #36days_L
04/16/2021

6-line Aldine Expanded, ca. 1872
6-line Gothic, ca. 1835
#36daysoftype #36days_L

8-line Armenian, William H. Page & Co., ca. 18726-line Gothic, ca. 1835#36daysoftype #36days_K
04/15/2021

8-line Armenian, William H. Page & Co., ca. 1872
6-line Gothic, ca. 1835
#36daysoftype #36days_K

10-line French Clarendon Condensed, ca. 18706-line Gothic, ca. 1835#36daysoftype #36days_J
04/14/2021

10-line French Clarendon Condensed, ca. 1870
6-line Gothic, ca. 1835
#36daysoftype #36days_J

12-line Latin, Heber and Wells, ca. 18806-line Gothic, ca. 1835#36daysoftype #36days_I
04/13/2021

12-line Latin, Heber and Wells, ca. 1880
6-line Gothic, ca. 1835
#36daysoftype #36days_I

5-line Octic Extended, ca. 18806-line Gothic, ca. 1835#36daysoftype #36days_H
04/12/2021

5-line Octic Extended, ca. 1880
6-line Gothic, ca. 1835
#36daysoftype #36days_H

10-line Brush No. 113, 18796-line Gothic, ca. 1835#36daysoftype #36days_G
04/11/2021

10-line Brush No. 113, 1879
6-line Gothic, ca. 1835
#36daysoftype #36days_G

8-line Gothic Triple Extra Condensed, ca. 18556-line Gothic, ca. 1835#36daysoftype #36days_F
04/10/2021

8-line Gothic Triple Extra Condensed, ca. 1855
6-line Gothic, ca. 1835
#36daysoftype #36days_F

8-line Hamilton No. 167, Hamilton Manufacturing Co., 18796-line Gothic, ca. 1835#36daysoftype #36days_E
04/09/2021

8-line Hamilton No. 167, Hamilton Manufacturing Co., 1879
6-line Gothic, ca. 1835
#36daysoftype #36days_E

8-line unidentified6-line Gothic, ca. 1835#36daysoftype #36days_D
04/08/2021

8-line unidentified
6-line Gothic, ca. 1835
#36daysoftype #36days_D

10-line DeVinne, ca. 18956-line Gothic, ca. 1835#36daysoftype #36days_C
04/07/2021

10-line DeVinne, ca. 1895
6-line Gothic, ca. 1835
#36daysoftype #36days_C

16-line Trenton, ca. 18896-line Gothic, ca. 1835#36daysoftype #36days_B
04/06/2021

16-line Trenton, ca. 1889
6-line Gothic, ca. 1835
#36daysoftype #36days_B

We're off to the races with 36 Days of Type! 3-line Antique Extra Extended, G. F. Nesbitt, ca. 1838 6-line Gothic, ca. 1...
04/05/2021

We're off to the races with 36 Days of Type!

3-line Antique Extra Extended, G. F. Nesbitt, ca. 1838
6-line Gothic, ca. 1835
#36daysoftype #36days_A

Prepping for 36 Days of Type, starting next Monday! Along with thousands of other type and lettering enthusiasts around ...
03/30/2021

Prepping for 36 Days of Type, starting next Monday! Along with thousands of other type and lettering enthusiasts around the globe, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite letterforms, a single character at a time.

Seen here is an early stage of our project getting underway: proofing #woodtype and leafing through our specimen book to find the best characters!

#36daysoftype #printing #inkyfingers

That feeling when you discover #type in your collection that was designed by a woman! Ballé Initials, designed by German...
03/22/2021

That feeling when you discover #type in your collection that was designed by a woman! Ballé Initials, designed by German Maria Ballé in 1930, have long been a favorite of ours for stationery projects.

We only own a handful of Ballé initials, but we were pleased to learn a little about Ballé herself while working our way through the new book by Yulia Popova, “How many female type designers do you know? I know many and talked to some!” It’s a survey of female type designers throughout history, withinterviews with about a dozen currently-working female designers. We learned that Ballé was a staff designer at Bauer Type Foundry and won several awards for her work in her lifetime—a rarity to say the very least.

#WomenHistoryMonth #womenhistory #printinghistory #typography #designhistory #SSSMcollection #SouthStreetSeaportMuseum

This month wraps up one long year of #IsolationType. Social distancing is not over, but we are moving on to other specim...
03/08/2021

This month wraps up one long year of #IsolationType. Social distancing is not over, but we are moving on to other specimen projects; stay tuned! Coming soon, #36daysoftype!

#woodtype from “Condensed Specimen Book of Wood Type,” Morgans & Wilcox, 1890.

Take a look a very special object #fromthearchives!The original Bowne & Co. produced this specimen of handset typefaces ...
02/27/2021

Take a look a very special object #fromthearchives!

The original Bowne & Co. produced this specimen of handset typefaces in the mid-20th century. It was printed for use at the Bowne & Co. production facility at 163 Front Street, the company’s final printing facility in the Seaport district, which operated until 1961 before a move to a larger space at 345 Hudson Street.

By this time, the practice of setting type by hand for body copy in books, newspapers, and other publications was nearly extinct. It was still common to set type for titles or headlines, so having a specimen of display faces would surely still come in handy. This small catalogue features classic faces for any mid-century typographic arsenal: Brush, Spire, Futura, and a favorite of ours, the eternally friendly Cooper Black. Each typeface has its own sheet in a miniature ring binder, allowing the printer to add new typefaces as they were acquired or remove them when they became unavailable.

One of the most endearing details about this catalogue is that it still bears the business card of the employee who owned it on the front inside cover. It reminds us that utilitarian items—simple, functional, and used by everyday workers—can be worthy of being treated as museum objects.

Happy #ValentinesDay!Psst… #IsolationType is wrapping up soon! Have you read our post about it on the Museum’s blog yet?...
02/14/2021

Happy #ValentinesDay!

Psst… #IsolationType is wrapping up soon! Have you read our post about it on the Museum’s blog yet? Link in bio.

#woodtype from “Specimens of Wood Letter, Corners, Borders, &c.,” Harrild & Sons, London, 1906.

Our new blog post is up! We wrote about the past year’s Bowne & Co.’s #IsolationType project—wrapping up soon!—on the Mu...
02/11/2021

Our new blog post is up! We wrote about the past year’s Bowne & Co.’s #IsolationType project—wrapping up soon!—on the Museum’s blog this week. Check it out at seaportmuseum.org/isolation-type/

The snow days keep coming! We counted 102 picas (that’s 17 inches for non-printers!) of snowfall in our neighborhood ear...
02/07/2021

The snow days keep coming! We counted 102 picas (that’s 17 inches for non-printers!) of snowfall in our neighborhood earlier this week. How much more will we get today? #IsolationType

#woodtype from “Tubbs Wood Type,” Tubbs and Company, Connecticut, 1880s. Image from the public domain.

It’s late winter in New York City, which means that Bowne & Co. is busy with stationery jobs! And as always, we look at ...
02/05/2021

It’s late winter in New York City, which means that Bowne & Co. is busy with stationery jobs! And as always, we look at specimens #fromthearchives for design inspiration. Most of our specimen books feature metal and wood types, but as stationery printers we are especially lucky to have this specimen of monograms!

This book, “Art Monograms and Lettering” by the prolific designer J.M. Bergling (1866–1933), would have been a staple in any shop offering fine stationery around the turn of the 20th century. It’s an exhaustive tome of lettering covering a range of styles, from delicate and sophisticated to, at times, unintelligible and grotesque.

As a helpful reference for our stationery clients, Bergling specifically states that the specimen is also “designed… to interest everyone in the artist world.” This world includes not only printers of all kinds, but also those who engrave jewelry, metals, and stone.

It’s the last day of January. How are your 2021 resolutions holding up? #IsolationType#woodtype from “Tubbs Wood Type,” ...
01/31/2021

It’s the last day of January. How are your 2021 resolutions holding up? #IsolationType

#woodtype from “Tubbs Wood Type,” Tubbs and Company, Connecticut, 1880s. Image from the public domain.

Printing presses and moveable type like the ones in our shop are manufactured with exacting standards that allow a skill...
01/29/2021

Printing presses and moveable type like the ones in our shop are manufactured with exacting standards that allow a skilled printer to produce a refined product, but this quirky book #fromthearchives reminds us that almost anything can become a printing surface with a little imagination!

Even if you don’t have access to professional equipment, printing using clay, plaster and common household items can be really fun. We love the idea of using scissors to make a pattern, as in the spread on clay printing.

Have you tried #printing at home recently? How did it go? What kinds of interesting things have you printed from? PS. We’re here to help! Comment or DM us for advice or ideas.

“We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour—but within it we found the power to author a new cha...
01/22/2021

“We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour—but within it we found the power to author a new chapter”—Amanda Gorman, inaugural poet laureate.

This week’s #IsolationType is a much-needed fresh start.

#woodtype from “Tubbs Wood Type,” Tubbs and Company, Connecticut, 1880s. Image from the public domain.

Thank you so much to everyone who made our online pop-up a success over the holidays! We’re keeping the online shop open...
01/15/2021

Thank you so much to everyone who made our online pop-up a success over the holidays! We’re keeping the online shop open a few weeks longer - January 31st is the last day to place orders. It’s definitely not too late to send out your New Year’s cards or stock up on stationery at www.bowne.co. #shopsmall #stayhome

Happy #NationalTechnologyDay!
01/06/2021

Happy #NationalTechnologyDay!

Happy #NationalTechnologyDay! Celebrated annually on January 6th, the National Technology Day honors the technological enhancements that have enriched our daily lives. Since the invention of the wheel, the scope of technology is beyond imagination.

Here at the Seaport Museum we are particularly fond of the invention of the printing press and the ways in which it changed the world, disseminating knowledge wider and faster than ever before.

As most of you know, German goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg is credited with inventing the printing press in the mid-15th century, but he was far from the first to automate the printing process. Woodblock printing in China dates back to the 9th century, and Korean bookmakers were printing with moveable metal type a century before Gutenberg. Nevertheless, most historians believe Gutenberg’s invention, which modified a screw-type wine press to squeeze down evenly on the inked metal type, was the key to unlocking the modern age.

The objects and skills on display at Bowne & Co. are the culmination of the 500-year development of commercial printing technology. At the Printing Office, our professional printing staff continues the tradition of 19th-century job printing. They begin each job by arranging movable type, individual pieces of cast metal or carved wood. The type is then inked and pushed into paper using a press, a process now referred to as letterpress printing. Letterpress printing using moveable type was the primary means of commercial printing from its invention in the 15th century until the second half of the 20th century!

Bowne & Co. is currently closed to the public, but you can learn more about its history from a recent program in partnership with our friends at Turnstile Tours here: seaportmuseum.org/a-conversation-letterpress-printing-a-19th-century-business-today/

Image: Paul Shniedewend & Co., Baby Reliance Press, 1902. Gift of Mr. Challen Beattie, South Street Seaport Museum 1976.027.0001

#printinghistory #technologyday #letterpress #SSSMcollection #SouthStreetSeaportMuseum

We bid farewell to #2020 with this #woodtype from “Specimens of Vanderburgh, Wells & Co.'s Wood Type, Borders, Rules, &c...
12/31/2020

We bid farewell to #2020 with this #woodtype from “Specimens of Vanderburgh, Wells & Co.'s Wood Type, Borders, Rules, &c.,” manufactured at 110 Fulton, 16 & 18 Dutch Sts., New York, 1872.
Image from the public domain. #IsolationType

Behold, our (slightly grumpy) Bowne & Co. holiday postcard! It’s been a very different holiday season this year, so we w...
12/24/2020

Behold, our (slightly grumpy) Bowne & Co. holiday postcard! It’s been a very different holiday season this year, so we want to thank you for attending our virtual programs, ordering #jobprinting, and shopping at www.bowne.co! We wish you all the happiest and safest of holidays. #2020 #stayhome

We're sorry to report that the Seaport Museum website is experiencing downtime since this morning. Hoping to make an end...
12/23/2020

We're sorry to report that the Seaport Museum website is experiencing downtime since this morning. Hoping to make an end of the year donation today while our site remains inaccessible? You can still donate by emailing [email protected] or calling (212) 748-8731.

One bright spot, our pop-up shop www.bowne.co remains unaffected, so visit today for stationery, gifts, prints, and more.

The incoming snowstorm is just another reason to #stayhome, everyone. Stay warm! #IsolationType#woodtype from “Tubbs Woo...
12/17/2020

The incoming snowstorm is just another reason to #stayhome, everyone. Stay warm! #IsolationType

#woodtype from “Tubbs Wood Type,” Tubbs and Company, Connecticut, 1880s. Image from the public domain.

Don’t forget to register for tomorrow’s lively conversation with our friends at Poster House! We’ll be on Zoom from 6:30...
12/13/2020

Don’t forget to register for tomorrow’s lively conversation with our friends at Poster House! We’ll be on Zoom from 6:30 to 8pm ET to discuss #letterpress printing in early New York City. Visit @posterhousenyc to sign up.

#woodtype from “Tubbs Wood Type,” Tubbs and Company, Connecticut, 1880s. Image from the public domain. #IsolationType

We’re so excited for our upcoming virtual event with Poster House! Join us for an evening conversation on Zoom next Mond...
12/11/2020

We’re so excited for our upcoming virtual event with Poster House! Join us for an evening conversation on Zoom next Monday, December 14, from 6:30 to 8pm ET.

We’ll be talking about the early history of letterpress printing in New York City! We’ll explore a number of production processes that built the visual landscape of New York, with special attention paid to the typographic trends of broadsides and handbills from the 19th century. Rob Wilson, our Art Director and Operations Manager, will show and tell how we preserve the skills and traditions of 19th century letterpress printing and how artifacts from the Museum’s working collection are used in a contemporary practice.

This online event will be hosted on Poster House’s Zoom account, and closed captioning will be provided. To register visit Poster House!

Join us on Monday, December 14, for an evening talk on the early history of printing in NYC! We will speak with Poster H...
12/08/2020
South Street Seaport Museum

Join us on Monday, December 14, for an evening talk on the early history of printing in NYC! We will speak with Poster House about preserving the skills of 19th century #letterpress printing.

Register from the link below!

Address

209-211 Water St
New York, NY
10038

Opening Hours

Wednesday 11:00 - 17:00
Thursday 11:00 - 17:00
Friday 11:00 - 17:00
Saturday 11:00 - 17:00
Sunday 11:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(212) 748-8651

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Our Story

Bowne & Co. are letterpress print shops in downtown Manhattan and part of the South Street Seaport Museum. The shops’ resident printers use the Seaport Museum's extensive collection of historic printing equipment, moveable type and engravings to print custom jobs and retail items that are sold in house. The shops are open 7 days a week and invites visitors to watch and discuss letterpress printing in New York City. Please inquire about our monthly typesetting workshops!


Comments

If your company prints shares certificates for the SEC then you must be interested in my multimillion dollar printing contract for Sports Cards! Keep up the good work from super international sports
If your company prints shares certificates for the SEC then you must be interested in my multimillion dollar printing contract for Sports Cards! Keep up the good work