Crane Stationery, A Tour – Part 2

After the introduction to engraving, we moved out onto the Crane printing floor.  Most of the presses, including engraving presses, letterpresses, and thermography printers, are all located in a large common area – it was difficult to get the full perspective in a single image, but hopefully these two photos will give you a sense of the general size and scale:

Crane Stationery Tour

Crane Stationery Tour

Engraving!  The printing presses are huge – I’m always amazed that these heavy machines are able to produce such delicate and beautiful stationery.

Crane Stationery Tour

Crane Stationery Tour

{going through the press}

Crane Stationery Tour

{a quick run under the heater to make sure the ink is dry}

Crane Stationery Tour

{and then coming off the press}

Crane Stationery Tour

{ink fountain behind the press}

Crane Stationery Tour Crane Stationery Tour

Crane Stationery Tour

{so much ink!}

Crane Stationery Tour

I couldn’t help but take a photo of each project that we passed during the tour.  This little dragonfly makes four total passes through the press – one for each blue color, then one for the gold ink, then one final burnishing run that gives the gold its shine – and it all has to line up perfectly.  It’s hard to tell in this photo, but the blue inks also have a bit of shimmer:

Crane Stationery Tour

Custom gold stationery – most likely for a newlywed couple:

Crane Stationery Tour

These sailboats were also a custom order – the printers were working on aligning the little red flags so that they lined up perfectly with the thin blue sailboat mast:

Crane Stationery Tour

Traditional invitations for a debutante ball, with black script text and a beautiful blind emboss monogram at the top:

Crane Stationery Tour

Crane Stationery Tour

Engraved business cards with white text on black paper:

Crane Stationery Tour

With the holiday season approaching, we came upon a few Kluge presses putting some gold foil on Christmas cards and gift wrap.  I’d never seen foil stamping in person before, but the printers were kind enough to walk me through the process:

Crane Stationery Tour

{gold foil on Kate Spade gift wrap sheets}

Crane Stationery Tour

Crane Stationery Tour

{that’s the gold foil above}

Crane Stationery Tour

Crane Stationery Tour Crane Stationery Tour

{a negative image on the gold foil after it passes through the press}

Crane Stationery Tour

Crane Stationery Tour

{the final product!}

I hope you’re all enjoying the tour as much as I am!  I’ll be back a bit later with a bit more from the trip!

{all photos by me}

*Disclaimer – Crane & Co. provided my accommodations during this visit; but this is not a sponsored post.  For more on my editorial policies, please click here.

Crane Stationery, A Tour – Part 1

Remember the blog field trip that I took a couple of weeks ago?  Well, I’m finally ready to share photos from the trip!  A couple months ago, Crane & Co. stationery invited me to visit and tour their facilities up in western Massachusetts (near the Berkshire mountains).  In case you’re not familiar with Crane’s history, the company was founded in 1801 and has been producing cotton paper and stationery ever since – making Crane one of the oldest companies in the United States!

Crane Model Farm

We started the tour off with lunch and a discussion at the Crane Model Farm in Dalton, Massachusetts.  The Model Farm was originally the home of founder Zenas Crane and is now used for social and business functions.

Crane Tour

Of course, a Crane facility wouldn’t be complete without a display of beautiful stationery…

Crane Stationery

Crane Stationery Crane Model Farm

Crane is known for its engraved stationery and invitations (I was particularly excited to see the engraving process in person during this visit), but also offers letterpress, flat printing, and thermography.  Fun fact: Crane also makes the currency paper for the United States and several other countries.  More on that a bit later on…

Crane Stationery

Crane Stationery

Later, we moved over to the Crane Personalized Design Services center, where all custom orders – from wedding invitations to business cards to personalized holiday and greeting cards – are processed and printed.  Now we get to some of the action shots!  First up, the pre-production process – where the custom text is etched onto a copper plate in preparation for printing.

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

{the red solution is a blocking material that prevents the chemicals from etching anything other than the actual text}

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

After the blocking material is applied, the plates go into a separate room to go through the etching solution…

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

{printing can get very dirty – no matter how elegant the result!}

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

{once the copper plate has spent enough time in the etching solution, it gets washed down to remove any residual chemicals}

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

{the photo above shows what the plate looks like after it comes out from the etching solution}

Crane tries to fit as much text onto each sheet of copper, often from multiple projects.  Once the plate is fully etched, the copper sheet is cut down to the appropriate size for each individual project.

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

Up next, the Crane printing floor – with engraving and foil stamping in action!

{all photos by me}

*Disclaimer – Crane & Co. provided my accommodations during this visit; but this is not a sponsored post.  For more on my editorial policies, please click here.