Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Check the back of you Christmas cards this season. They may have been made here in Syracuse. Boxcar Press is one of the largest letter press print shops in the county, using old techniques to make luxury letters.
“Letter press printing is the simplest printing method. We’re just hitting the printing plate into the paper…we ink the surface and hit into the paper,” explained Boxcar President Harold Kyle.
It’s a simple technique with a rich history.
“All of our printing is done on machines that are old, very old by printing standards...They are letter presses and letter press is the type of printing that Gutenberg invented back in the 1400s and we really try to keep the spirit of craftsmanship alive that he started,” Kyle continued.
Kyle says it's the growing interest in quality, eco-friendly crafts that is helping to revive this type of printing.
The cards feel like cardboard, but they're actually made out of bamboo. Boxcar Press was the first in the country to print on bamboo paper.
Kyle says bamboo grows without pesticides or fertilizer - unlike cotton - and customers seem to be appreciating that more and more. As the busy season picks up, Boxcar Press ships out 30 custom orders a day.
“Right now we’re really busy printing custom holiday cards for people all over the country, but December is also a really busy month for engagements,” said Marketing Manager Erica Hemriksen.
So there are plenty of wedding invitations, reply cards and envelopes spinning through the machines, alongside paper filled with red and green -- all carefully hand fed.
“That's what's special about letter press. When you get something that's made by letter press, the operator really had to know what they were doing. It takes a tremendous amount of skill to get something good out of the letter press. We try to preserve that art here,” Kyle said.
If you’re looking to buy the cards, keep in mind they can be costly. Each custom pressed letter costs about $9 on average. To find out how to get yours, click on either of the links below: http://smockpaper.com/http://www.boxcarpress.com/