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Blog > The Little Mail Carriers at Museumsdruckerei Hoya (and a giveaway)!

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It’s not everyday one gets an invitation to learn more about the history of printing presses and how they work… so when the invitation came, the Little Mail Carriers jumped into their envelope and made their way to the north of Germany, where the newly revamped Museumsdruckerei Hoya (Hoya’s Printing Museum) is re-opening today! Here they are, to tell you all about what you can discover inside.

Being Mail Carriers, we hold many paper goods in our hands every day. These are letters and postcards in various sizes and colors with all kinds of stamps on them – lots of printed and written paper. Like thousands of postcrossers in the world, we are fascinated by stationery, paper and other printed matters. So are our hosts Claas (aka Speicher3) and Christine (aka Reisegern), who have shown us today how the printed letters and images have been applied to paper since ages.

They invited us to come with them to Hoya, a small town on the river Weser in Northern Germany.

The Little Mail Carriers look onto the Hoya bridge

Once we arrive in the letterpress printing office Museumsdruckerei Hoya, we are welcomed by Michael Linke, who built up an amazing collection of printing presses and types over thirty years.

Overview of the museum, showing lots of printing presses and wooden drawers Rows of wooden chests of drawers, filled with letterpress letters

Right at the entrance of the museum, we spot a figurine on a wooden construction. Michael, who’s that?

There are two images: on the left, Michael is standing by a desk, laughing. A poster lies on the table. On the right, there's a mini statue of Gutenberg, and the Little Mail Carriers are standing next to it.

“That’s Johannes Gutenberg, Michael explains. “The figurine is placed on a reproduction of the Gutenberg printing press. Gutenberg is known as the inventor of modern printing.” While we drink some coffee and eat butterkuchen, a typical northern German cake, Michael tells us about the history of printing:

"Already several thousand years ago, simple printed (stamped) seals were used in Egypt and Mesopotamia. More progressive printing technologies were developed in China more than a thousand years ago. For printing books, in the beginning whole pages were carved into wooden blocks, later on moveable letters were invented. That made printing much easier, though for printing something in Chinese, a lot of different characters were needed.

“In Europe, books were mainly multiplied in monasteries by copyists — all handwritten. Until at the end of the Middle Ages, in the 15th century, Johannes Gutenberg triggered a gigantic media revolution. He used moveable letters made from new materials, found a new ink recipe and invented a special printing press. He combined known printing technologies and his inventions to an efficient printing system. This allowed inexpensive, high-quality mass media production for the first time. The Gutenberg printing system spread across Europe and the whole world.”

But what are moveable letters? Michael encourages us to explore the printing workshop, where we find an aisle full of drawers.

A set of three images filled with letter

Opening them, we discover an overwhelming amount of moveable letters in different sizes and fonts. Yay, let’s take some of them and build a word! It’s a bit complicated, as all those letters are mirrored.

The Little Mail Carriers spell out the word Postcrossing in reverse on a tray, using moveable type.

Michael lets us know: “Before the invention of digital printing, all printed texts were composed by typesetters. They put every single character of the texts line by line into composing sticks, which were then transferred to the printing press.” Wow, what an effort! Can you imagine how many types a typesetter has to handle for a daily newspaper?

In another drawer we find images that look like rubber stamps, but they are made of metal instead of rubber, some very old ones even are woodcuts.

The Little Mail Carriers stand in a drawer, surrounded with old wooden stamps, that can be printed

Let’s take some and see what they look like when they are printed! We’ll combine them with the text we composed in the composing stick. For our first printing experiments, we use a very simple printing press. We put our design in there, add printing ink, lay a sheet of paper on top, close the lid and press firmly.

Images of the printing process: adding ink and lifting the paper after printing Several papers with images printed in the letter press machine. One paper reads Postkarte and Postcrossing, and has two postal horns

That’s fun! Look, the images at the bottom of the page seem to be postal stamps. Michael, would that be possible? Michael explains: “Of course. Stamps were also printed with so-called printing clichés (that’s the name of those images).”

Does this mean, we could print our own stamps in this printing workshop? 🤔 “Good idea!”, Michael says, “We can print your personal stamps here. Did you iron your uniforms? I’ll take a photo of you.” With those photos, a metal cliché is being produced.

The Little Mail Carriers stand in front of the steel plate (cliché) that was made with their photos. The plate show the images and text in reverse

We are so excited! The cliché is fixed in a big printing press. Now we have to work very accurately, because if the height of the image is off by even a tenth of a millimeter, it can make a difference that’s visible in the quality of the print.

The Little Mail Carriers put their plate in the machine securely in place

Can we now print? “I think you forgot something”, says Michael. “You need to grab some printing ink.”

A close-up photo of two tubes of ink, with other ink tubs in the background The Little Mail Carriers stand on top of several tubs of dark ink. The ink is black and looks very sticky

Oh gosh, that’s some thick, sticky stuff. Michael smirks and shows us his totally paint-smeared work coat. “Indeed. If you get that onto your uniform, you won’t be able to remove the stains ever again.”

For this printing press, we don’t need to hand-ink the composition. Instead, we put the ink onto the rollers of the printing press and can print our stamps. Oh, they are wonderful, aren’t they? While the ink is drying, we have some snack and listen to Michael, who tells us more about printing history.

The finished print is shown on the letterpress machine, with the Little Mail Carriers standing in front of it

“Gutenberg’s invention initiated meaningful social developments. Through the mass printing of texts, knowledge, information and opinions could suddenly be spread much easier, more widely and without the control of state and church. Just like today with the internet, many more people were able to access knowledge or publish their own texts through the printing press than ever before.”

Enlightening! We never thought about all that.

Our prints are dry now. But something’s missing. Our stamps cannot be taken apart from each other. So more accurate work is needed for perforating our stamps with a vintage perforating machine.

A hand holds a sheet of stamps, which are being perforated in an old machine

Done! Now we can send out postcards with our own decorative stamps in addition to the normal postage.

Nowadays, most printed matters are being produced with offset or laser printing technologies. We enjoyed our visit to the museum printing office with all those fascinating machines, strange sounds and odors.

Michael and the Little Mail Carriers The Little Mail Carriers sit atop a box, itself on top of a drawer with moveable type

Thank you Michael, we love our stamps. What’s next? “Let’s grab some ice cream and enjoy the evening on the banks of the river Weser.” A great suggestion, Michael!

Information: Michael decided to commit his collection to the public, and now the newly founded association Museumsdruckerei Hoya “Zwiebelfisch” is responsible for running the place. Speicher3 and Reisegern are members of the association. The museum’s website (in German) is www.museumsdruckerei-hoya.de, and you can also find it on Facebook: Museumsdruckerei Hoya (no login required!).

Our huge thank you to Claas, Christine and Michael, for this fantastic tour and giveaway! The Museum is opening today again after a long break, and we’re excited to see this beautiful collection be shared with the public, so that people can learn from it and make beautiful things. Hurray!


Reisegern and Speicher3 would like to give away five of the stamp sheets* that were printed with the Little Mail Carriers to the readers of the Postcrossing Blog. If you’d like to win one of these, leave a comment below sharing a memory concerning letterpress machines, suggesting what the next thing we should print should be or what we should write about on our website! The giveaway will run for a week, and Paulo’s random number generator will select five winners by this time next Saturday. Good luck!

A sheet of six cinderella stamps with images of the little mail carriers profiles

(*) Please note that these are Cinderella stamps and cannot be used for postage on your outgoing mail.

And the winners of this giveaway, as chosen by Paulo’s random number generator are… joyoustmjp, paicontea, pbjohnny5, kaitmmo and evbirch! Congratulations everyone, thank you for your enthusiastic participation!

257 comments so far

TwasBrillig, United States of America
Wow, thank you for sharing that fascinating road trip! I would be honored to win a sheet of the Little Mail Carriers' stamps! How about printing sheets of stamps with Owney, the postal dog. Owney was part of the US Postal Service but also travelled internationally with the mailbags to Europe and Asia. So he was an international mail carrier, and deserves recognition!
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bgalloway84, United States of America
What a great story about the printing press. I do enjoy this blog, so many interesting stories. When I was in elementary school, in the 1970's, one of our neighbors had a printing business and we went on a school field trip to visit. It was fascinating to see all the big machines and layouts of letters. I would love to be able to win a sheet of the little carrier stamps. Thank you
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WilhelmNottbohm, Gambia
Was für eine fantastische Idee, da würde ich gerne auch mal hinfahren - ist auf jeden Fall auf der "Bucket list"
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Norway_girl, Norway
At Sunnmøre Museum in Ålesund (which the mail carriers have visited), they have a room dedicated to letterpressing. One time I visited the museum one man manned the room and showed how it worked. And I was allowed to choose one template and make it into a card. I think it said "Sunnmøre museum", "Merry Christmas" and maybe the date of the event.
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inuk, Germany
Hi, I don´t really have a memory about the printing press, but my father was an independant journalist and brought his articles to a printer. I sometimes went with him to the printery and one day the owner gave me an old typecase as a gift. I still have it and really love it. It´s a good memory!
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PizzaBuckwheat, Russia
What a wonderful article! I hope that the Little Mail Carriers will one day visit our Russian Post Museum here in Moscow. Maybe not this or next year, but one day...
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evbirch, United States of America
What a great article, thank you! Many years ago, when I was in school I took an art class where we made wood blocks for printing. It was a very short seminar course, so mainly it was just learning about the process and creating our own quick and dirty wood block attempts. About 10 years later, the office where I worked was next door to a card artist who used a vintage letterpress. She was very inviting and offered to demonstrate her process and it was fascinating!
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islander61, Bahamas
Awesome! Took me back to when I first worked in the art department of a local newspaper that started in 1903, and was given a tour of the premises. Downstairs was the ancient machinery they first used including the letterpress. Yes, each line of type had to be set by hand; impressive!
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MythOwney, United States of America
We got to make our own letterpress pictures at Living History Farms in Des Moines, Iowa! It was very fun! And Michael is right about the ink being permanent! ;) I like TwasBrillig's idea of Owney (see profile photo :) ). I also think some World Postcard Day stamps might be nice. (I also liked learning the term "Cinderella stamp," so maybe some with fairy tale characters.)
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Jeanlane, Taiwan
I am from Taiwan. This is a very interesting article ! In Taiwan, we have the only type-casting shop in Taipei ciry, we can experience letterpress printing and play with typesetting, print bookmarks, and make letterhead stamps. It is only one traditional Chinese typewriting store in the world
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industria, Germany
I loved reading about the Little Mail Carriers' adventure in first person point of view. Thank you so much!
I remember a fact about the printing press: Luther's German translation of the Bible was one of the early works being printed and it had a big influence on society: it excellerated standardization of the German language. Before, people of different regions spoke German dialects so different from each other, that some had a hard time understanding each other! Now, they had a way to communicate.
(exemplary source: https://www.welt.de/sonderthemen/luther-2017/article159059526/Fuer-die-Bibeluebersetzung-mussten-Schafe-sterben.html)
I'd love to win one set of the Cinderella stamps.
printing suggestions: Air Mail - Stickers or "Happy Postcrossing" Cinderella stamps
writing suggestions: How were postal codes in different countries developed? What systems do they follow? - How did an international mail system develope? I find it astounding that I can pay the German Post to send a card to Australia and it gets there, even though German Post only is stationed in Germany?
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mdmsamm, Canada
First compliments for the exceptional photos…with everything computerized today how wonderful it is to see this today …I love those stamps of our wee mail carriers, I would embrace having them available to all of us postcrosser extraordinaire…
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Shokukuma, Singapore
Some ideas for could be printed next:

- The first 6 postcards ever sent on Postcrossing

- The 6 most-liked postcards on Postcrossing

- The first 6 World Postcard Day designs
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Kewl, Philippines
Great tour! Thank you for taking us with you. My first memory of letterpress machine was visiting the only letterpress machine in our province, which was owned by a family friend. I was only 4 or 5 at that time, and I cannot forget it because I got ink in my hand that I wiped on my shirt, then on my skirt then, smelled my hand (which got the ink on my nose)... it was just everywhere! And it took days before it finally got off my skin! :-)
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Hemang, India
Oh my, this Postcrossing Stamp made by Letterpress is amazing. I would say, little mail carrier had so much fun making this Miniature sheet and arranging mirrored Postcrossing xD , about future, we all love all the Postcrossing Blog, and we always love more travel with new adventures and Postcards:)
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tariqul, Bangladesh
Wonderful article!willing to read more stories like this !
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CorgiGirl, United States of America
Thank you for interesting information about printing presses. I think it took great talent to be a typesetter - as the letters are mirrored. Your photographs are excellent as it is like I was there with you. I always enjoy reading the adventures of The Little Mail Carriers.
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bmd200, United States of America
Love this! It would be cool to print pictures of postal trucks and mailboxes!
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ukwar93, India
Maybe around 15 years ago I have seen similar Printing Machines. The people who used to run it in Pondicherry (India) got to print wedding invitations, posters, greetings cards, etc. I was awestruck when I first saw the tiny tiny alphabets made from metals. The big roller machine which used to apply the ink over the arranged alphabets and print it over paper, looked magestic for a little kid and a bit satisfying. Glad to have seen it during my time.😄
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phantomcrane, United States of America
Cool article! Anything that takes time and labor is valuable to me, so I love the idea of a meticulous process to make something beautiful, like these stamps. I don't have any memories of a printing press (sadly), so maybe the next set of stamps could be an homage to the old ways of written communication? A quill, a letterpress, heck - a clay tablet! :D
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Bodding, Italy
I don't have any particular memory about letterpress machine... yet!
I hope one day I can visit this place in Italy 🇮🇹 ➡ http://www.tipoteca.it/ to participate to one of their workshops.
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alyysmail, Malaysia
My experience with the letterpress machine was not too long ago. I visited Melaka which is a UNESCO site in Malaysia (it also has the longest history) and came across this beautiful museum in a heritage shop house https://theroyalpress.my/discover They had so many different machines on display and historical artifacts around the place. I fell deeply in love with everything I saw! Additionally, I have several letterpress blocks that I purchased a while ago in London for my antique collection 😊 Thank you for sharing such a wonderful article! I would love to visit this museum one day
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Toggi, Germany
I come from Mainz and also live there, the city of Johannes Gutenberg. Here there is the Gutenberg Museum, which I can only recommend to everyone! When I "had" to do an apprenticeship more than 30 years ago, it was in a printing house (which unfortunately no longer exists...) If I'm ever in the vicinity, I'd definitely like to visit it!
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diana_pastoriza, Spain
Love this report and share your enthusiasm for printing presses!

Suggestion: use some of the types as stamps, you can dip them in ink and decorate your postcards. That’s what I do with the image of a heart and a bird, both of which I bought off a printing press that was closing down ☺️
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Rosedawn, United States of America
This was awesome to read and see how the printing was done. When I was in school we went to the library and the librarian told us about the first printing press. And we made wooden blocks with letters on them to show how some of the printing was done. They looked much like the rubber stamps we use today. I would love to have a sheet of the stamps.
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ch_nz, Germany
Interesting that the stamps say you visited in 2021! I regularly try to identify stamps and sometimes you have to distinguish between printing techniques. Letter set, offset, … it is sometimes pretty hard even with a magnifying glass or microscope. Interesting to learn something about the Letterpress machine.
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dershots, Canada
Really enjoyed this article. So much work involved. I would like to see next years World Postcard Day postcard printed this way. Take care everyone.
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nofrodelius, United States of America
One of my earliest memories was a trip to Washington DC with my family, where we visited a children’s museum. They had a printing press there, and showed us how to use it - and I still have the sheet I printed, with my name on it, 26 years later!
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Anjelikka, United States of America
How very cool is that? I remember as a child I had some alphabet letters and could put them together to print something. It always was very much fun.
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KeeksWanderer, United States of America
Oh wow! I always love the Little Mail Carrier posts! I don’t have a memory of letterpress machine…. But this is a Memory that is closest to stamps/letters I have and one of the first. We were living in Germany I was a young kid, visiting a butterfly house, but they had other outdoor activities with plants. They had us take leaves, put ink on them, and decorate paper. We also did this with flowers and eventually stamps that had letters and pictures on them.

That stuck with me. I still have my postcards from when I lived there.

This is such a lovely post. Thank you for sharing Michael and Mail Carriers.
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tw1nlyn, United States of America
I love this...the smell of the ink is a fantastic memory for me...I learned to use a press, set type, etc in a High School class.....then later i worked in a small copy/print shop in central Illinois. Lynne
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SalishSea, United States of America
yes, put me in for a chance to get a copy of the cinderella stamps and if there is a perforator in the world that is going to waste let me know. I make faux postage stamps, but need a perforating machine to really make them look terrific! More visits to Museums like this, please.
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CindyMc, United States of America
This was so interesting! I’m smitten with letterpress letters and characters. 🥰. I’ve bought several, and have used them as individual stamps.
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noellenams, United States of America
Thank you for sharing this wonderful journey and making us vicariously enjoy Little Mail Carriers stamp creation. It was an amazing read! The most I am worried about with print press is how long it can sustain in the digital era… but looking at this buzzing and budding community, I feel happy because I love snail mail and postcards. And this community is making sure to keep it alive. Maybe we can talk about the changes in mail(s) over the years with old pictures from Postcrossing and how this movement lead to great things on the website blog next. I am sure it’ll be an exciting read for all. Thank you for offering the lovely stamps through this exercise!
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Stephie2000, United States of America
What a great post! When I was growing up in the 90's (not long ago...hahaha) My summer visits to my grandparent in Mexico was helping out in the print shop they had. Looking at this post and seeing the photos reminded me of the smell of fresh ink and paper fresh being printed. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post.
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abbydabbadoo, United States of America
I've never seen a printing press in action. The closest I got was touring the US Mint in DC when I was about 12 years old. I remember eating lunch in the cafeteria afterward. Fun memories! I don't think they offer tours there any more, but it was neat to see.
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Wynnie, United States of America
Cool article. I saw a printing press machine on display at the Pioneer Women's Museum in Ponca City, Oklahoma. It was really quite a nice museum - if you're ever in the area.
I think a neat place for a LMC visit might be the most Northern Post Office in the "Lower 48" (the 48 United States other than non-contiguous Hawaii and Alaska). Apparently, Angle Inlet, Minnesota is so far up in the Great Lakes region, that you either have to take a boat to the town or drive up into Canada and then back down into town to reach it's post office.
And btw, the very, very northernmost USPO is in Alaska, of course, in the town of Utqiagvik (which used to be called "Barrow").
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Kathymack, United States of America
Going to school in the early 1960s', we didn't have copy machines. The teachers made copies on a mimeograph machine. I can still smell the ink when I recall the whir of the machine as it made our worksheets.
A great topic might be the smallest and largest post offices in the world.
I would be thrilled to win a sheet of the stamps. Thank you.
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sealed4ever, United States of America
I love following the little mail carriers!! The stamps are amazing. Would ❤️,❤️ ❤️ to win them!! Best of luck to all. 🌅
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rmchapp, United States of America
Wonderful story. I remember learning about these same cultural shifts around the printing press in school! In my community there is an arts center that offers classes on letterpress using a Vanderbilt press, and I am waiting for a class to fall into my schedule. These users might consider adding additional content to their webpage about how they think the future of printing looks, or environmental considerations in that industry!
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EKCHeinl, United States of America
Growing up we always had print blocks and their trays in our house. My dad would always tell us how the machines worked when we were in museums/print shops. I have collected blocks from antique stores and have long wanted a printing press. I would love to receive some these adorable Cinderella stamps.
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Tracy27, United States of America
Wow. What a history lesson. And som very fun creativity. I’d be honored to win such creativity. Would love more about the history of a really really remote post office!!! Thank you for sharing.
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jillwein, Italy
This was a great post! I loved learning how to print on a letterpress machine, the cards I made are some of my favorites!
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sacdalton, United States of America
Adorable! It would be so much fun to have a printing press. I'd love to see you print a celebration card for Postcrossings anniversaries.
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Ysel, Belgium
Very interesting because I visited the playing card museum in Turnhout in Belgium last year. There I saw the old printing machines in operation. Explanations were given by pensioners who had used it in the past. Really impressive. A lot of precision work, especially if you are still working with colours. So I would be very happy with a printout of the little mail carriers and I would recommend everyone to visit the playing card museum when you are in Belgium.
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Paula23, Germany
Great to read about this place I've always wanting to visit - Hoya is quite close to Bremen where I live.
30 years ago, I considered doing a one year course at the London College of Printing - although I've decided otherwise, I find all those traditional printing techniques still so interesting and inspiring for my artwork!
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MrLiz, United States of America
Great story! Back in elementary school, we had a field trip to a museum and that was my first time seeing the printing machines. How about printing some famous landmarks in the world? That will be awesome!
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Nadjafee, Germany
What a wonderful adventure for the Little Mail Carriers, and how many fascinating things they learned! I love watching the demontrations of wood block printing and copper engravings at the Albrecht Dürer Museum here in Nuremberg. https://museen.nuernberg.de/duererhaus/kalender-details/druckvorfuehrungen-2105
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andrea-in-the-garden, Germany
Lovely. The little mail carriers really come to life. Brilliant idea, it put a big smile on my face!
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GGraulus, Belgium
What an interesting story ! In Belgium (Antwerp)we have the Plantin Moretus museum, that has the two oldest printing presses in the world build in 1600, that’s why it is a UNESCO world heritage site.
The museum presents 300 years of book-printing art and family history.
I would really like to win a sheet of those Cinderella stamps! Love them ❤️
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mojokin, Canada
Thank you for sharing this great little tour I have a letterpress drawer that I have hanging on my wall that I put miniatures in to display them. I have always loved tiny things and this is a great way to see them! Best wishes to all from Vancouver Island!
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positivelypostal, United Kingdom
I have quite a few rubber stamps, including my very own Positively Postal one, which produce the images in a similar way to the printing press, albeit on a smaller scale. I would be delighted to win one of these sheets of 'stamps'. Printing some cats and dogs Cinderella stamps would be great to see.
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Jubilee, United States of America
One of my favorite female scientists is Maria Merian- her father was a printer. Growing up watching him and used her knowledge to publish her artwork documenting butterflies, moths and other parts of nature!
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dougmv214, United States of America
This intriguing article makes one think of the history of wax seals and signet ring seals used on ancient documents and used even today on the back of envelopes.
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unbijou, United States of America
I have an old letterpress tray that I feature small items in and have the letter M from a press letter
Set.
Lovely blog! And good work !
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ejeddy, United States of America
So interesting to see this museum. I attended library school at the University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the course included a bookmaking course and the professor had an old printing press. We made paper and cut wood blocks, set type and made hand sewn books. I am not a very crafty person but I really enjoyed that class.
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frewen, Germany
What a wonderful article - and congratulations to @Speicher3, @reisegern (both of whom I know personally) and everyone else at this amazing printing press museum on being able to re-open in such impressive style!

When I was young (1980s/early 1990s), there used to be a "Büromuseum"on the uppermost floor in the tower of our townhall in Mülheim an der Ruhr. It must have been a city employee's pet project and was full of old typewriters and other office equipment from way back when, all lovingly cared for. I really loved riding the elevator up to that floor and browsing through the three rooms that also contained dioramas showing what offices used to look like in the past.

In one of those rooms there was also a small printing press that had apparently been used for printing information leaflets and rescued when the townhall offices were upgraded to more modern equipment. I still distinctly remember a visit to the tower on a dull, rainy day in late autumn when I was maybe eleven or twelve and an elderly man explained to me the mechanism behind printing presses and talked about his apprenticeship in an old-fashioned printing house.

At some point the whole townhall was renovated and the Büromuseum ceased to exist. I wonder what happened to all those lovely old typrewriters and the printing press. I just hope they found new homes elsewhere and were not simply thrown out.
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kbdessai, India
I remember a visit to the Goa State Museum where they have a lot of material on printing- Goa has the first printing press in whole of Asia! Certain printing tools, presses, die casts etc. and also some old stamps were displayed.
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GabSiat, Brazil
This is so nice, the prints are absolutely lovely! I had my first contact with a letterpress last month at a workshop, it was so nice to be free to arrange and print whatever I wanted. Since then, I have been planing on a design for a signature stamp of my own, so I can stamp my postcards.
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Bayrisches-Madl, Germany
Thank you for showing us your printing museum, speicher3 and reisegern, what a little gem!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this blog.
I went to uni in Mainz, Gutenberg’s hometown. The local museum had a printing workshop which I used for Christmas cards and other things. it was so much fun, handling the old machines
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jjmedusa, United States of America
When did this visit happen? The giveaway "stamps" say August 2021. Was this visit over a year ago? Or is there a mistake on the giveaway "stamps"? I am just curious. :)
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chaja22, Germany
Was für eine tolle Story. Ich würde wahnsinnig gerne gewinnen.
Ich kenne das Museum gar nicht, aber werde es sicher einmal besuchen.
Toll wäre ein Druck von der Maus, wenn das überhaupt erlaubt ist, wegen Copyright und so.
LG
Bianca
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blueridge_snail, United States of America
I loved this article! I’m quite obsessed with the art of letterpress printing.
For the next blog post, perhaps you can write about how people around the world receive their mail, or maybe highlight the most postcard that has been marked as a “favorite” the most times.
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joyoustmjp, United States of America
I've never used a printing press, but in college, I took a class on printmaking, which is a bit similar. We used plexiglass plates to paint on, then placed a damp sheet of paper (specially made for printmaking) on top of it, & pressed on a either a small hand press or a larger rolling press to make images. I loved it! We experimented with different kinds of paper & techniques. It was so much fun!
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wurzelsofie, Germany
Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience - sounds like you had a lot of fun! I'd love one of the sheets, although I'm afraid I have no printing press stories I could share. However, I think you could make some Cinderella Stamps for World Postcard Day, or maybe print some vintage style X-mas cards?
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RalfH, Germany
I did a typographer apprenticeship with hand setting more than 30 years ago. I love to see that old stuff!
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Klaas, Netherlands
Thanks for the article. I visited a few of these printing museums in the Netherlands. As we all know it isn't Gutenberg but Laurens Jansz Coster from Haarlem. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurens_Janszoon_Coster. That's why the Dutch stamp printer Joh Enschede is in Haarlem. Ok, just a bit kidding. Somehow Gutenberg won.
But thanks to a lot of Dutch printers the great thinkers after the 15th century were able to print their thoughts. Remember Erasmus, Spinoza, Descartes, etc. Thanks to the printers in Antwerp, Haarlem, Leiden, etc.
It would be fun for the LMC's to visit stamp museums, it's a pity that the Dutch museum is closed, you can visit it on appointment. Stupid Dutch cultural misbehaving.
I would love to receive your stamps.
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ZenTravel, United States of America
What an amazing museum. I learned so much. I have designed and cut my own designs into foam and printed small pieces of my artwork. It’s interesting to do because the image is mirrored back at you when you print it. Thanks for the great visit!
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Yecats, United States of America
This was a wonderful topic. On a childhood field trip to the local newspaper, I remember viewing the paper rolls that were used on the printing press. They were as tall as a person and very wide and heavy.
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manuchka, Germany
I‘ve been there at the museum today at the opening… it’s a great place to be for lovers of retro machines and handprinted stuff. And it‘s impressive to watch and listen to the lovely people of the Zwiebelfisch association showing guests around. Time went by so quickly, I could have spent even more time to try out all the printers and stencils. I even had the original printing cliché of the Little Mailcarriers in my hands… 😉
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czuczy66, Canada
terrific story about the little carriers and their adventures. Would love to win a stamp sheet. -David
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LordPuffin, United States of America
What a great story. I want to visit that museum now! I think a set of letterpress postcards would be wonderful - one for each country depicting an iconic place in the country. I know that is very ambitious! Maybe a vote for the top five places would be more manageable.
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FoxLilly12, United States of America
I have never seen a letterpress before, so it is cool to read about one! I would like stamps that show like a centennial of something, like here for the Oregon Trail, or Lewis and Clark Trail.
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Mara7, Latvia
It think it would be interesting to read how peoples mailing habits have changed in the last few years. Is the mail box been more full or less? How the sending itself has changed? I think there would be many interesting ideas.
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pmsobon, Switzerland
Great story from a fantastic visit. I remember my high school “industrial arts” course where we learned to set type. You’ll guess this was many decades ago but I still remember how much I loved that course, learning about printing, inks, amd paper!
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Brueghel, Germany
Great story and wonderful pictures! Marvellous!
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Gertarud, Germany
The story made me smile and feel sad at the same time. My lat father was a typesetter too and would have loved a visit to this museum. When he started his education, he learned with moveable letters and at the end, he used an Apple computor... At home, he even had his own small printing press and made his own paper artwork. He also got me interested in graphic and lettering.
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GoCindy, United States of America
Come visit the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers,Wisconsin for more amazing letterpress!
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Cookie2802, Germany
This sounds so cool and the Cinderella stamps look amazing! I would really like a set of them =)

I think printing some "Happy Postcrossing" stamps would be cool. And I would like to see the first few postcards to ever be sent with Postcrossing. Maybe an interview with the person, who has sent the most amount of cards?
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rokprinzess, Finland
This reminds of the time I visited our local book museum for the first time and saw all the old book printing equipment there
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MaiJN, United Kingdom
I don't have any memories of a letterpress but this is really cool!!
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Luziaceleste, Brazil
What a fabulus museum. Would love to visit it one day. Wo knows?
I actually worked in one of these Prnting Offices. It was on last centiry, in Uruguay, and the printing place had quality as the biggest value. Sinve then I have a huge respect for all printted material.
Well, in terms of postcards, we generally thonk on pictures for the illustrated side, forgetting that printting os and endeless source of possibilities. So, my suggestion is: to print postcards with current content but ancient handwork. Must be nice result!
Congrats for having this foundation and teaching young generations the way things used to be done.
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eestephaniee, United States of America
I've only seen a printing press at Colonial Williamsburg, VA, but tis was a fascinating blog post. Thank you for sharing it! I would love to take an adult field trip to my local post office someday.
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cbayha, United States of America
When I was in third or fourth grade, I wrote my first ever "research paper" on the Guttenberg Press. My dad helped me because I was very anxious. He had me tell him the story of the press and he recorded it with a handheld tape recorder. Then I transcribed the story word for word and my dad even drew a picture of a printing press for the cover. I got an "A" on that paper and I still have it.
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Postcardnstamps, United States of America
Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience. When I was in school we learned about printing press with wood blocks. Maybe we can make some cinderella stamps for world postcard day with encouragement to our postal office to make an official stamp on postcrossing.
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an-foxy, Belarus
It is amazing! Last week I visited Polotsk for the first time and visited the Museum of the Belarusian Book-Printing: http://book.polotsk.museum.by/en It was very exciting. I think you should talk about how paper is made and make some sheets of paper from recycled waste. It would be great if you could visit the museum in Polotsk! Thanks for the blog post!
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blaukater, Germany
Hoya is a "quite neighbor" city - never heard of the museum ...
Thank you !!!
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Ramya, United States of America
I came to Postcrossing through the use of a letterpress! I went to an event at an art gallery. I saw many people going upstairs so off I went as well. A man was upstairs with many people around him watching him print on a press! I watched him for a bit and I asked him what he would be doing with the cards he was printing on. He said, "Some of them will go out as postcards to people around the world. Have you ever heard of Postcrossing?" That is my letterpress memory! The next thing you should print... a special commemorative stamp (WPD or Postcrossing's birthday?). What should you write about? Perhaps the history of letter carrier's uniforms or the history of postcards during wartimes. Thank you for the fun blog!
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BeckyS, United States of America
When I was growing up, my next door neighbor had a movable letter printing press. I loved the drawers filled with letters. He would let me select the letters and arrange them for projects. It was great fun, and I worked cheap. He'd let me make bookmarks and letterhead with my name on them in exchange for my labors :)
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SailTheWorld, United States of America
What a fun article! I would love to experiment on a letterpress one day! Love all your articles, and I’m particularly interested in postboxes, history of postcards, member spotlights, postcard display and storage ideas, the postcard’s journey, teachers & schools participating in postcrossing spotlighted and special stamp cancellations form around the world.
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etherea, United States of America
What a great story! There is a printing company in my town that uses a letterpress. Not a computer in the place!
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ShariLoveFIN, Finland
Ooooo, wow! I´d LOVE to get those "Cinderella stamps" :D And if I don`t win I´d prefer to buy them. Would you print those more?
We have whole museum area/part of old town at our first capital Turku here in Finland. Have visited that place several times. And there´s also old postoffice and I´ve seen how the printing was done during old times. :D
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strawberry131, United States of America
That's so cool!
I did printmaking in college, but never little stamps like that.
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CynthiaMarie, United States of America
I think the little mail carriers would be interested in this project. Perhaps they could meet the founders and join in a letter-writing Zoom.

https://www.lettersagainstisolation.com/
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Chirp2lou, Canada
I loved this story and the photos. The little mail carriers has a great adventure!
On a trip to Mainz, Germany in 2019, we visited the Gutenburg Museum where we watched a demonstration of printing on the Gutenburg press and I was lucky to receive the three-colour page that was printed.
Love those mail carrier stamps!
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pumpkinpussycat, Canada
Great story -- thanks for sharing.
I remember seeing how a printing press worked here in my hometown of St. Marys, Ontario Canada. The newspaper was called the Journal Argus -- and we went on a school tour.
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Cgrit, United States of America
Thank you for the wonderful lesson. My father ran a printing press for most of his life. The little stamps would be a great treasure to have.
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GabyTsai, Taiwan
Love this funny story so much.
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di_postcards, United States of America
How neat! The stamps turned out really cute ❤️
I don’t really have any letterpress memories except for what I’ve seen in the movies but it sure would be fun to visit such museum 😊
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NerdyUnicorn4, United States of America
These are adorable! Sadly, I've never see a letterpress or have any memories to share. I'd love to visit such a place as this though. Great history lesson!
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shui, Taiwan
What a gorgeous tour you had ! Thank you soooo much for sharing such a wonderful story with us ! It's really interesting to know about the history of letterpress, how it actually put in works, and made a huge change to the world. Though I've heard about letterpress from time to time after I was fascinated by its beauty through some special postcards received, it's a pity that I still don't have a chance to visit a place like the one you introduced to us or join an experience tour and even print something through this technique. There is a type foundry ( also the only one in Taiwan for now ) in Taipei that I always want to visit one day. Reading your fantastic tour reminds me a story I read about recently, which is about how people in the past designed a diagram to achieve zero waste of handwoven cloth when making a linen shirt. And your introduction makes me aware of this, "How precious every piece of postcard is !" even we are able to get printing stuff easily today. Thanks again for sharing this amazing tour with us ! It's really a wonderful idea to design and print your very own & unique stamps ! They are definitely the cutest one I have ever seen ! : - D Maybe next time you can try also traditional printmaking and design your own picture postcard !
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Pabasara, Sri Lanka
i loved the part about printing clichés. such a simple concept developed to radicalize how we get our knowledge. next time i use a rubber stamp or a photopolymer stamp i'll think of them fondly .
thank you so much for the entertaining and engaging read. how about an article about mail carriers themselves next time?
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Sprinkledonut, Canada
I would love to know more about the history and production of Cinderella stamps on a future blog post. I enjoy collecting Cinderella stamps. Thanks for the fascinating tour with the Little Mail Carriers!
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-_-Sanket_Jain, India
✨ Little mail carriers doing so much hard work 😂
I think of a balloon 🎈 with a special letter tied to it and we dont know where it will land. So its a surprise for whoever gets it.
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Cowgirl68, United States of America
Does anyone remember the mimeograph copies in school (70's, 80's) that were printed in purple ink , cold and "wet" to the touch with the funky smell??
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Eugen1, Belarus
I would really like to know about some stamp museum. I am very interested in this topic.
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Trina3, Germany
Wow, they are so cute!
My sister did an internship at the local newspaper many years ago and got an insight into the printing machines. There were actually still the old machines in the "back room". She told me about it every day. It all sounded so great, I would have loved, to have gone along and admired it myself.
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Ratchet, United Kingdom
I have a degree in illustration, and we had a print room which had a typesetter machine from the Victorian era in the corner!

It was considered too dangerous to operate without special training, so myself and two friends begged our graphic design instructor to see if it might be possible to teach us how to use it.

Unfortunately it was deemed inoperable and we were never able to use it, although every time we were in the print room, we wished we could!

I'm glad to hear there are manual typesetter machines still in use and being preserved somewhere; Visiting this museum sounds so wonderful, thank you for sharing your experience-- And a fun stamp offer! :)
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makelai, Finland
In my youth, I got to visit a printing house where a newspaper was printed. It was a great experience, huge machines were printing magazines. What work was done before the magazine came out of the machine.
At that time, automation was not yet at the level it is now.
Makelai 04.09.2022
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betslets, United States of America
I think the collection of comments just related to this amazing blog could comprise a book. Reading them brought so many memories for me, especially focusing on the history of printing presses, including the Gutenberg Bible. And I was reminded that without all the advances in printing, we would probably still be using feathered pens.
I remember a project using a raw potato to carve out a design which when dipped in paint and pressed on paper became a special "print" for me that I could duplicate several times.
Thank you to everyone for sharing special experiences and offering so many places to visit. All the Little Mail Carriers stories could easily become a series of books.
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Toome2, Netherlands
Hi, great story again!
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dutchgranny, Netherlands
in earlier times,
yep I am an elderly lady haha,
we bought some of the "better-damaged" wooden boxes of the printman
(where the iron characters:
aaaaa, bbbbb and cccc etc. were stored in),
hang them at the wall of our sleepingrooms and kept in these little "cupboards" our treasures like shelves, little stones, coins dolls that we had knitted ouselves or plastic ones like the "flintstones" & donald duck -
we called these recycled store-box-cupboards
in the netherlands: "LETTER-BAKKEN" -
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Anastasiya_Surnina, Russia
This article was insanely interesting and harmoniously complemented with cute photos :)
I learned how to print letters with stamps for the first time at school, then we had additional lessons related to printing, creating paper and ink. It was in the 4th grade, but I remember it for a long time.
Also in the capital, where I live, there is a post museum, which I visited with pleasure. They showed different types of stamps, methods of writing, envelopes.... I am still happy to review the photos taken in this museum. There we could put an old stamp on the letter ourselves and send it to our home. Which I did))
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maye523, Japan
I’ve never seen printing press worked .It’s amazing experience!! Thank you for sharing us. And adorable and !!! Someday I want to visit there!!
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medyloe, Indonesia
I think the only time I ever seen a printing press was in the museum. Lol. Although there was a "STPI – Creative Workshop & Gallery" which sometimes offered a tour for visitors to go to their production area, in which they had many many types of printing presses for artists to work with. It was really fun to see all the behind the scenes!
I would like to see articles of little mail carriers going around post offices, or places that would sell postcards and stamps for mailing. Sometimes they can be hard to find.
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Seetha, India
Loved reading this post! Though I have never seen how a letterpress machine works in person, one of my favourite copies is a handmade letterpress book from Tara Books in Chennai, Little Girls Are Wiser Than Men - an abridged, adapted version of Leo Tolstoy's work. The texture and colours are absolutely brilliant! Such a delight. Hope I get to travel to Germany sometime and visit this Museum :)
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peiler, Germany
Thank you so much for this great story and interesting insights in former printing techniques. I didn't hear about this museum before, but now a visit is a must when traveling along Weser-Radweg with the bicycle, next time :)

At school we learned about printing with cuted potatoes and later with linoleum - but since the digital development did overcome all these mechnical techniques... the view back is nice and inspiring - thanks again!
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elbe, Germany
Many thanks to Michael, Christine, Claas and the little mail carriers for the great article! :D

Some years ago I visited the printing house Augustin in Glückstadt, Germany. They were quite unique in Germany since they had acquired types in more than 30 (mainly) Asian scripts at the beginning of the 20th century and were able to print texts in different languages. They had for instance more than 12000 Chinese characters and invented their own way in arranging these types to minimize the time used to assemble a text.
That might seem like a small undertaking nowadays with having all scripts of all languages of all times (mostly at least) at your fingertips on your computer. But just imagine that the textbook to teach Chinese used at my university in 1980 still had the Chinese characters written by hand (!) by my teacher because it would have been much too expensive and too difficult to have it printed properly. :)
If you are interested in the place (it can be visited):
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Druckerei_J._J._Augustin
(in German)
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Trenker, Germany
Awesome!!
Some years ago I had the opportunity to print the Lübecker Holstentor gate (UNESCO WHS) on postcards at a little printing house on the Day of open Monuments. Unfortunately there ist only one card left in my card stock...
Thanks a lot for this nice lottery!
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juttertje, Netherlands
What an interesting article! Thanks to the invention of the printing press books became available to all. As a child we made decorating stamps by cutting a potato in half and cut out a pattern in it.
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queenofc, Germany
Ah, what a treat that story is ! Takes me back to when my Mom worked as a mail carrier in our little village and whenever school started later or was off earlier I'd sit and look at all the different stamps and imprints on the mail in the small office. They even had a post office kids' set for us to play with and I still have that one rubber stamp.
But what is most amazing is what I detected when I came to the end of the blog entry: the expression "Cinderella stamps". I punch out " stamps" from paper I like or details from magazines and put them on my Postcrossing postcards. Never knew there was a word for that ( and the link even tells me more interesting info about it :-) ). Now I can add another meaning to my user name (queenofc) : c for Cinderella stamp maker :-)
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Stellarkat, United Kingdom
Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful story with us! Never seen a printing press in my life. Would like more stories like this one. My best wishes to everyone!
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BNopa, United States of America
When I was a kid, my mom got me a letter case as a shadow box. I had one metal B printers letter in there for my name. I saw how it was made at a historical reenactment.

When I was a young adult, I worked as a freelance artist for a printer. They had an offset machine. Those have become more obsolete in this area as other kinds of printers become the norm. I miss the old techniques. The article above was really interesting.
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katieau, Hong Kong
It's my first time seeing the letterpress machine, amazing!
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ned44440, Ireland
Absolutely fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing.
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abbyaguas, Philippines
I saw one when I was a kid during one of my field trips in a kid museum. It was a tinier version of the original, to make it playable for us then. But there was an original photo for us to see what it originally looked like.

That museum is not existent anymore, so I just rely online regarding printing history.
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LilyPostKort, United States of America
I love when people preserve history. The is a press at a couple of museums near me. How about interviewing mail deliverers from around the world?
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boyd, United States of America
One of the highlights of my year has been subscribing to the weekly newspaper 'The Crescent,' from Saguache, Colorado—reportedly the last newspaper printed with letterpress technology in the USA. Even though I live 1,000 miles away in Chicago, I've started to feel a little like a grafted-in part of the community. Newspapers can do that. And that old-school tech helps!
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Exceeder, Germany
I love the photos in this article, they really complement the story well. I would love to win one of those sheets!
Back when I was a child I was at a workshop where kids could make their own paper, then bind it with wool thread and print their name on it with a letterpress. In the end we were able to take these booklets home, which was nice. I remember that I greatly enjoyed the process.
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lsamodumkina, Belarus
First of all, thank you for sharing with us this amazing experience. I read every new blog post and all the time find something new that I've never heard before. This time I learned new term - Cinderella stamps. Of cause I know that there is a lot stickers that look like stamps while they are not, but what surprised me is that phenomen has name and history. Wow! I would like read some article with different phenoments like this of cards or stamps.
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triplightly, United States of America
I always admire how the little postal people are placed and this post was exceptional. I worked at a printing press when I was in college. There were huge machines and I like seeing the finished product come off the presses. One of my duties was to sew books together. I was the only one who knew how to do it. Pages of books are rarely sewn together anymore, which is a shame because they last so much longer than glued pages. The next thing to print would be a WPD postcard!
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honeyfritter, United States of America
I love seeing the metal cliché and the end product. Thank you so much for sharing the photos of Michael and the details! Great subject matter.
I recently encountered some type of wheel press machine in use at a party for hundreds of people in San Francisco. I don’t know what it was called, but they pressed an amazing Edward Gorey image onto square cards that you see used as coasters at bars. They were take home keepsakes for attendees of the event, the 2022 Edwardian Ball at the Regency Ballroom.
Best!
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honeyveri10, South Africa
Loved this post!! Thanks for sharing this with us <3
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MagicMarie, Germany
Oh, that's a very nice trip. And I really enjoy the photos of the little mail carrier- wonderful!
I also was lucky once to get a guided tour to an history museum of printing presses. It was very interesting to see how much work it was and how a printing process involved over all the last decades.
I like the idea above to print the logo of the WORLD POSTCARD DAY- but you could also just print a POSTCROSSING- stamp.
Everyone here would surely enjoy it! 😉
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Staceytsang, Hong Kong
Thank you for sharing such an exciting visit. The photos of little mail carriers are cool! I started to care about the texture of papers, quality of printing (including postcards, stickers, masking taps printing), inks, paints, and pens since Postcrossing. This visit let me learn more about printing. I have searched a bit about the Chinese word letterpress. Common use Chinese characters are about 3000! What an effort to produce a newspaper with different sizes and types of fronts of Chinese Characters!

I have searched for a local postcard company still using the letterpress method and you can buy them online.
https://dittoditto.net/category/postcard/c17pg

Example on my wall:
https://www.postcrossing.com/postcards/HK-571410
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nisnoopy3, Malaysia
Sadly, I have no experience with letter press. This article is very informative and I enjoy the whole process from beginning to the end product of the Postcrossing stamp of the Little Mail Carriers. Meeting Michael and getting know of his machinery are amazing.

Can you design and print a Postcrossing version of Air Mail label?
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penguinmail, United States of America
Printing different stamps would be cool, since you've got the perforating machine and everything! I would read a story about how postcrossing has helped someone feel less isolated, and maybe how things are going with them now.
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Poste, United States of America
This is Fabulous. Thank you for the tour.
My little brother once asked our Dad "What did you and Benjamin Franklin talk about at lunch" ? Dad told me that he was not that OLD! He then talked about his Printing Press and Newspaper and many other inventions and ideas. Dad liked to say if it was in print it was important and must be true.
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Flippie, Canada
THANK YOU FOR THE GREAT STORY.
When I was a teenager I had an opportunity to have a tour where they make newspaper the old way. It was in my home town, Utrecht the Netherlands, and it opened my eyes how much work it is make one newspaper. With all the letters, the ink, the press-machine everything.
I will never forget the "smell".
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reiselustig, Germany
Thank you so much for the lovely story and the many insights! Great!
I on't ahve a real story to share, but I also saw an old printing press in a museum in Kassel at work and it impressed me - just imagine how good you have to be with your fingers to take all these small letters into the right place! I couldn't do that! I guess printers had to be very calm people :-)

Printing ideas: chiristmas is coming and images showing the wish for peace might be good in these timnes as well?

Thank you also to offer these giveaways - was a wonderful idea!
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Nekotek, Belgium
Thank you for the lovely article!
As for printing! Maybe something spooky? Halloween is coming :D
Some black cats.
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HelloFromVirginia, United States of America
Like another commenter here, my main experience with old printing presses is at Colonial Williamsburg (not far from my house). Well worth a visit, and you can get postcards postmarked from the colonial post office at the same time!
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Pepe-Paranoias, Mexico
I like this post, thank you for your time and dedication. I'd like have one.
In Guadalajara (Mexico) there a small printing house "Impronta". In that place there is a coffee shop, a library and in the background printing machines. Once I had to go for a week, because upstairs there is a space that is used as a gallery. I was helping a friend to make a montage for an exhibition. So every morning, before going upstairs. I looked out and saw these machines like monsters spitting out pages and pages of books. Then, on tables, there were some texts upside down, which invited them to read them through a mirror as part of a game.

I love the art, so can be talking about to colaborations in stamps recently. Some years ago, the Mexican Postal Service, printed a stamps for "el día de muertos" (the day of the death). It's printed stamps with engravings of Guadalupe Posadas, Mexican artist. The stamps were big and beatifull.
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Marta1988, Belarus
Thanks for an interesting trip. Next time visit the Postal History Museum in Brest and Grodno.
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Nosaj, United Kingdom
I love how we can learn more and more through postcrossing :)
I actually went to Coventry where they converted an old Telegraph newspaper office into a hotel and they still had the old machine where they print the newspaper!
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AccentOnHakes, United States of America
This is super cool! I remember learning about the invention of the printing press in elementary or middle school and how it revolutionized the world. I'm so grateful; can you imagine still having to copy things by hand? We have come so far!
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DinoMino, Netherlands
Hello Postcrossing staff! Could you talk about the Hungarian Postcrossing stamps? Hungary made them in 2018 already, but somehow it never managed to find the way to the blog
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PedroSantos, Portugal
Hello! I like you speak about Tristan da Cunha Island and Post office. I have contact in this remout island and she are amaizing and work in post office.

I love this story :)

Thanks
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shanx, United States of America
Wonderful! I just have experience with letterpress machines from the movies and think the whole process is so romantic.
I think next you should write about holiday happenings.
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HookedonPostcards, Canada
Fabulous article! So informative, both text and complimentary images. Over thirty years ago, when my sons were young children, I wrote a weekly column for our village newspaper, The Orono Weekly Times. Each Monday, I dropped off my column, often with my sons in tow. This was before one could send such text via email. ;-) If the newspaper editor was doing some printing on his one 19th Century Gordon Jobber style one-man printing press - with the big wheel mechanism - my sons always asked to watch. They loved - almost hypnotized by - the rhythmic clickety-clack sound of the press and the magic outcome of printed pages, card stock, etc. And, they always commented how Roy, the editor, always had black-ink on his fingertips. The newspaper wasn't printed on that press; it was printed on larger mechanized offset presses of another local newspaper, The Canadian Statesman (in Bowmanville, Ontario). Great cooperation between the two local businesses with long community histories. The Orono Times still publishes after 75 years; most of which time it was in the same family. As for the press: it was donated to a museum when the paper was sold a few years ago; no longer a family business. Now, the newspaper is sent digitally for printing even further afield. Still a great little community newspaper!
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YoungMans, Australia
Very nice report, very much appreciated!
It also brings back memories in another way:
Hoya is very close to Verden/Aller, meine Heimat.
Did you know ... the German word 'Heimat' has no real equivalent word in English which conveys the same meaning. It is translated as home, or homeland or something like that.
But none of those words really hit the mark.
Would this be the same in other languages, with other words?
It goes both ways, sometimes an English word expresses something much more precise than the equivalent German word.
Verden/Aller and also Hoya are my 'homeland'!
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Buffalowinters, United States of America
I don't have a tangible memory of letterpress (other than movies) but my memory of a letterpress type is an old fashion typewriter! I was so young learning how to type on my grandmother's typewriter and it shaped my mind to fall in love with simple letters that could turn into a story.
Some ideas I have for printing could be different mailboxes from around the world with the word mail in that language or different mail trucks from around the world.
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AnnJewel_Chyi, China
lt's amazing to see how the traditional printing technique works! Indeed the movable character printing technique was invented in China, though it's not easy to have soooooo many different characters. But it could be much easier for the 26 letters in western language. I still remember in my primary school time we had the class for using old fashioned typwriter in 1990's ! For me it was like playing the piano! What's more fun is the printed stamp! I really love it! Maybe next time you can print some envelope or postcards with more colors!
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beesknees, United States of America
Every year at the Renaissance festival in Plantersville Texas I visit an (old timey) printing booth where they have a letterpress set up for you to try, and bonus they have postcards to buy too! Great fun. Loved this article and would love to win the the little mail carriers stamps.
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Rajath, India
Such a nice story. I still remember visiting our neighbor hood printing press & working with them for invitation cards - nowadays everything happens online. I would suggest that our little mail carriers visit India & go to security printing press in Nashik which prints all the stamps for our country. Not sure if they will allow - but something to try
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DeeJade, United States of America
This story is so adorable and quite inspiring too. I love antique and original printing press that are still active today. There’s something nostalgic and romantic about the whole process. The Little Mail Carriers are cute too. I think I’ll take a page from this and carry a lego version of myself if ever I travel. Hope there’s a chance for me to win some stamps too. ^^
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ilda, Finland
Wonderful story and wonderful museum! 💗
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twinkletwonkle, Singapore
So informative!!
You could cover the Children's Museum in Singapore when it opens in December, it would be interesting :)
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Glenbir, New Zealand
I love the great story and thank you for sharing. I loved the that the little mail carriers popped into an envelope to get there.
I grew up in England and I remember my school had a small printing press that we used for our school newspaper way back in the mid 60s. It was so much fun to use but very loud.
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Cri_ciprea, Italy
When I was a child, my grannie used to tell me about her job in a printing house and she was able to read a text even when the writing was backwards!
I love this article very much!
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Gerda-RD, Netherlands
Ooohhh, how nice are these prints!! Good result after a hard job #germany, #giveaway, #little-mail-carriers
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Heffson, Germany
What a great idea. A great story. The museum is definitely going on my list too. And of course I would love to have the stamps. I would buy them too, because they look amazing!
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Malelo, Germany
Great and interesting article!^^
I remember lessons with my Art teacher in high-school who owns an old letterpress machine and who let us experiment with creations of our own rubber stamp/picture designs.
Why not have a little design contest among us postcrossers as to what to print next?
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wifetoalineman, United States of America
My favorite segment to read. It is fun and educational to see these cutie's adventures.
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QBert, United States of America
What a great article! I remember seeing a printing press in a Washington DC museum...I just don't remember which one as I was young. It fascinated me seeing how all the letters were backwards.
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Regndroppar, Finland
Thank you for this fascinating article! Maybe next you should print stamps with Paulo and Ana? 😊
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CatCards, Germany
What a great post! Once I visited a similar museum in Leipzig. The people there were very knowledgeable about their machines and enthusiastic about explaining them. Loved it and bought some lovely postcards too. But what they didn't show were clichés for stamps. Pretty cool that Michael made some for you then! :D
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chaosnoneko, Germany
I would definitely like to visit this museum . My question is if we aren't picked as a winner will it be possible to purchase the stamp from somewhere ?
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pbjohnny5, United States of America
Wonderful post! I printed my own postcards using a Golding Pearl Handset Press, which I often send on Postcrossing. You can see them on my wall. I recently saw an original Gutenberg Bible at Washington DC's Library of Congress.
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NIDUSKA, Finland
So wonderful trip,beautiful prints indeed,thank you
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Bea_from_SC, United States of America
what a great write-up. It shows why books and other publications used to be rare and expensive.
I would love to win on of the offered stamp sheets.
Greetings from South Carolina!
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notmanywords, United States of America
That was such a great post and a terrific adventure for The Little Mail Carriers! I was also happy to learn about butterkuchen (sounds so delicious)! Why not create a print of a recipe card for this cake? It could also make for an excellent blog post. I know at least a few of us out here enjoy seeing photos of baked treats and may want to try making it at home, too!
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ollah4, Austria
I didn't really grow up with letterpress machines, the only pressing work i did was in school where I made some postcards :D
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mamarochat, United States of America
I love the Little Mail Carriers stamps. How about printing stamps of the different styles of mailboxes worldwide.
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Schlafmohn, Germany
What an awesome idea 😃 You are so so talented and have the best imagination to profit from it 😍
Looking forward to hopefully and finally visit the Museumsdruckerei Hoya in person soon 😃
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letjhanna, Germany
I remember when we learned all about Gutenberg and his printing press in primary school! After our teacher explained how long it took to put together all the pages we could not believe that this was supposed to speeding up anything :D
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KieraMessing, United States of America
Letterpress machines are incredible. Have the Little Mail Carriers visited Port Lockroy in Antarctica yet?
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grandie, Germany
Impressive!
I'd like to win a sheet of the cinderella stamps with the little mail carriers. my suggestion: please print stamps where one stamp shows both mail carriers together, and with a postcard in their hands! :)
Good luck to everybody here.
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Crazy_Bookbinder, Germany
Thank you so much for sharing this great story! Letterpress machines are so important for me as a bookbinder and paper conservator. When we make our book covers by hand, we also need the shown metal letters. These are heated and then, with some golden or coloured stamping foils, the title of the book can be embossed using a manual blocking press.
One of the famous Gutenberg bibles is here in Göttingen in the library where I work (I already touched it (with gloves, of course)! unbelievable!). By the way, the first books printed with movable letters (pre 1501) are called "incunabula", so the Gutenberg bible is also an incunabulum. Great term, isn't it? :)
I think Gutenberg himself is an amazing motiv for a Cinderella stamp.
Besides, one of the next places, the little mail carriers should visit, is a book bindery. After printing, the printed sheets of paper need to be processed further. So let's go the next step and have a look into a bindery. Maybe a postcard book or a Postcrossing book could be bound?
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Pezimaniac, United States of America
Thank you for the post and give away. We have a living history museum in my city. The time period is mid 1800s. As a Girl Scout I used to give tours in the summer. One of the stops was the newspaper building. There was a printing press and type boxes like at the German museum.
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Shy_Octopus, Poland
Hello,
Thank you for this very cool article and photos. You do take adorable to the next level! :)
I think it would be great to have a print of Little Mail Carriers on a ship, plane, balloon or a coach - you know, traveling old style to deliver post. This kind of printing has a strong nostalgic feeling, so an image with something from the past could work!
We used to carve and print our own graphics at school and there is something magical about the process. Very Jealous! :)
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Hatfield, United States of America
Just loved your story..Mail is so important to me my dad was a rural carrier and I was a clerk for 30….don’t know much about letterpress..but know mail keeps the world closer…especially in rural areas…Good luck and best wishes..Sue
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Tasha812, United States of America
My name is Tasha and I absolutely love these little stamps! While I don't have a specific memory of a letterpress, my grandfather worked for the USPS for over 30 years! He now makes themed banks from wood, and uses the old postal combination doors for the opening :) He made me one shaped like a castle when I was younger, and I still love it :) I've watched documentaries on letterpresses though!
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paicontea, Germany
print a set of various postcrossing postcards and offer active few-hour visits to the museum for people to create postcards which then can be sold for a good idea to be realized...
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IrMSt, Germany
If I had lived one century earlier this would have been my job!
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Kentucky1792, United States of America
My friend is a wood block print artist and I collect prints she's carved. I have a number of them hanging on the walls of my home. I'm fascinated by how a letterpress can print things with human hands and ideas powering them.
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angeli91, United States of America
Love this blog post! I first learned about letterpress printing through the company Hatch Show Print in Nashville. It's great art to make and also collect :)
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CorinneJKS, United States of America
What a great article, and a fun experience!
I visited a printing business when I was a young girl on the school annual that was still printing with moveable type. The typesetter was amazingly fast!
I have had a fascination for these old presses since. I now have a printers cabinet myself (thought it is not full of type). A beautiful old piece of furniture.
I would love to win one of those printed stamp sheets of the little mail carriers!
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LindsayNorman, United States of America
I have been collecting letter press letters and stamps for years from antique shops. If they contain anything to do with a map (I love them even more!). I took a printmaking class in high school and enjoyed making my own stamps from linoleum and even a lithograph! I would cherish a copy of one of these. The Little Mail Carriers sit on my desk at work and I love to share them!!
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mytravelingpen, United States of America
We have a print shop next door to our shop...there's something so nostalgic about it. I love collecting stamps...I LOVE post crossing...
I actually DO love Cinderella stamps (never knew that's what they were called...interesting).
:)
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ReluctantPhilatelist, United States of America
What a fabulous day learning about the history of printing and printing on a letterpress. My printing connection is double fold. My father and his father (my grandfather) were both printers, but not letterpress! My father-in-law was also a printer. Fast forward up to 2020. I have had the privilege of learning how to use an 18th century replica letterpress. It was part of our library’s (I am a librarian) special collections, but now resides in the university’s art department. The current special collections librarian is retiring in 10 months, and teaching me is a way to pass o the legacy.

This story has inspired me to create our own stamps!
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Greta_Wang, China
nowadays we seldom use these ancient things,eletricity is always around our life.I really like collecting the stamps!
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piggiepiggie, India
I remember learning about these machines in History last year (6th grade). I feel that the next thing you can print is an inland letter card!
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monkee, India
Nowadays, printing is so easy. If we ccould somehow visit the olden times, we could understand the difficulties of printing.
Try printing an official Postcrossing postcard next.
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Veronysha18, Belarus
Wonderful story
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FunkyTownky, Spain
Wonderful! Thanks for sharing :) I'm pretty young to remember things like this, when I grew up, everything was being digitalized and people stopped communicating via postal mail. (they could do it through e-mail or phone)
But I think postal mail and postcards have some magic in them, that's why I love postcrossing.
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tetsu70, Japan
My brother worked at a print shop. It was different as they printed materials for the blind using Braille. Maybe the team can visit a small post office that has only one or two people working in it. When can they come to Japan?
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marinarilla, Indonesia
Thank you for sharing. It was really fun to learn something new about letterpress machine during digitalized era. I hope I can visit there someday
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jellicle, United States of America
So awesome! My printing press memory is from when I was a Girl Scout. We toured the Cleveland Press building. The Cleveland Press was the afternoon newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio. We saw the entire process involved in creating the newspaper. Unfortunately, the newspaper went out of business in 1982. The building is now owned and occupied by a law firm. So many of the abilities for these skilled trades are being lost. Museums such as this are a treasure. This article creates a new memory of the talent, creativity and skill needed to produce printed material not so long ago. While I’d love to win one of those special stamp sheets, I know everyone can’t be a winner. How about creating a limited edition set of postcards of the little mail carriers taking this tour and creating their special stamp sheet? Postcrossers could purchase the set of cards with proceeds being donated to the museum. Thanks for a fascinating tour and article.
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ktbela, New Zealand
That was a fascinating article. I would love a sheet of stamps. They are so cute and unique. About 25 years ago we went on a tour of the local newspaper and got to see all the printing presses and machinery, which took up almost an entire floor of the building. My sister later got a job there as a graphic artist but by that time most of the printing had become digital. She now works for a small graphic design company and getting to see all the fancy large-scale printers they have there reminds me how far printing has advanced just within my lifetime.
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kaitmmo, United States of America
This was such a fun read! I went to visit Hatch Show Print in Nashville, Tennessee (USA) a few summers ago. They're a legendary design shop known for their woodblock printed posters and advertisements. It was one of the coolest learning experiences I've done. You should consider a vintage poster design for future prints :)
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chandlerguera, United States of America
I have received lovely letterpress designed notecards over the years. Knowing these cards are made with care by hand, is special. Thanks for this interesting article.
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ATLASkeeda, India
This makes me so jealous and happy at the same time. Absolutely fascinating to know that there are still people who are passionate about such technologies!
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clbrown, United States of America
Cool to see all this printing press machinery. I'd love to know about the transportation aspect of mail delivery. Love this site!❤️
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Marianamv, Portugal
What a lovely article! The pictures of the Little Mail Carriers made my day :)
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MrsMidsomer, Finland
This is such a wonderful story, especially the part about drinking coffee and eating snacks while the ink is drying. I have personally been to printing houses and seen this kind of equipment before. Hats off to all the typesetters from the time before digitalisation!!
But wait a minute, did the visit take place last month or in August last year...? The text beneath the stamps refers to a visit in August 2021...!
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Reisegern, Germany
The visit did take place in August 2021, that's correct. As the little Mail Carriers seem to travel a lot and keep themselves very busy, their story was published a year later.
We are really happy that the date matches the date of the re-opening of the Museumsdruckerei (museum printing workshop).
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causewaylaner, United Kingdom
I would love to win this prize. I had a toy letter press when I was a child. Something printed with postboxes would be a good idea in the future.
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YoBethie, United States of America
When I was in school we made printing blocks cutting linoleum blocks. It was fun getting to use them over and over again. Maybe you could do a printing of the pony express?
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SHB88, United States of America
It would be cool to see some old, vintage designs reimagined for 2022!
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Armanda_Nemeth, Mexico
Thanks for this and all of your wonderful entries. I don´t have a memory about printing press. I would love to go to Germany and visit the Museumsdruckerei Hoya to create some.
I haven't read all the entries, so I don't know if you've already written about this: How does the postal "commute" occurs? How does a letter or postcard from one country gets to the other?
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ashcubes, United States of America
What an interesting adventure indeed! A topic that should be discussed on the website should be the art of snail mail. Perhaps a look into how it's changed throughout history.
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pupkinter, Ukraine
Interesting information. Next time you should print a postcard for International Postcard Day on October 1
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KatrinkaVS, United States of America
Wish I could set up a writing desk in this place: fantastic! My sister once gave me a box full of printing blocks from an old government office, and there's something charming about their overly serious nature. I recently bought some block carving equipment, and hope to get started soon, printing random stuff on what may be the most minute of scales. Here's to you, Museumsdruckerei Hoya!
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mar872, Canada
How fun! What I would like to see printed is an official Postcrossing merchandise. :) Also, I just read Neither Rain nor Snow: A History of the United States Postal Service by Devin Leonard, perhaps a blog about this book would be interesting for others (I read Going Postal after the book review here). :)
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thedbb, United States of America
Absolutely charming and delightful.
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anyarharris, United States of America
I learn so much about mail and printing from Postcrossing! I’ve only joined 4 months ago. It would be fun to print lighthouses. Seems a lot of folks love these including me. Thanks for considering for the giveaway!
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Prairiegal, Canada
I visited our local folk museum and saw the press that was used over 100 years ago to print a small local newspaper. The press was still in very good condition and occasionally used to print some posters, announcements, etc. for the museum. I think of all the careful work that went into setting that up so that it could be used to print a newspaper!
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ryanh, United States of America
Fascinating, I'd love to see prints about transportation for post (boats, trains, planes, and everything in between. I've only really seen presses in museums and history class, but the photos are so interesting!
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AlohaJoe, United States of America
That was a very interesting trip to the printing museum. I hope next time I am near there I can take a similar tour. For many years I worked in a printing shop and did the typesetting by hand as we did only work on letterpress machines. The type of machine I used was called a Heidelberg press. We did all kinds of printing, wedding invitations, graduation announcements, business cards, tickets and birth announcements. I really enjoyed it. I would love to be one of the winners of the special stamps that were printed on your visit. My mom was a stamp collector for many years and tried to get all of us kids interested, but I was the only one. I still have my collection except once I had my kids, I spent less time on it. I really enjoyed reading about your visit.
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helenlivelovelaugh, United States of America
We can do the first mail per country!
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ktazevedo, United States of America
This is the best field trip ever! I was just recently gifted a book press and see many cousins in the studio. I must learn to make these stamps also. Thank you!
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Afaria, United States of America
Very cute and interesting! I actually recently found out that my favorite display piece in my house is a printing press letter drawer. Neat to see a press in action.
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CandaceGA, United States of America
I have never worked an actual letterpress but I use stamping all the time in my card making. In graduate school (I studied late Medieval Europe), I learned that printing did not make books immediately cheaper, because printing was at first a novelty and the first printed books were considered special objects. As a kid, who saved all her money for books, I still feel that way about books; even though they are so widely available, I look at every book as precious!
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thedollydoctor, United Kingdom
Amazing to hear about this, it’s really fascinating, thank you for sharing this. My husband and I visited our Royal mint and saw how coins were made and it is surprisingly similar. We have also seen some older presses working at museums we have visited, I thought the clicking and clacking was hypnotic.
It would be amazing if we could have postcrossing stickers to use on our postcards or one step further, with a barcode on that the receiver can scan and find out more info about the sender.
I would really love to be picked to win the Cinderella stamps, not sure I would use them, I would want to keep them and look at them as I do our collection of postcards and stamps, thank you for the chance to own a set.
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nothlitHAWK, United States of America
There's a rather sweet anime about a book loving lady who is thrown into a medieval type world where books aren't really a thing. So she makes it her goal to "invent" books for her new home, and one of the things she has to find is someone detail oriented enough to help her make a printing press. Cute show. It's called Ascendance of a Bookworm.
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librarian402, United States of America
What a fun article! I think this might be my favorite adventure of the Little Mail Carriers so far! I remember going to a town in Illinois, USA that had all the old buildings from the 1840s you could visit and one was the print shop. The other kids visiting the shop weren't as impressed, but I have always been fond of words in any form.
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L_jin, Korea (South)
The ‘Mugujeonggwangdae Dharani Sutra’ shows that printing technology had already risen to a high level in Korea at the time of 751, so the first printing technology of mankind was the Republic of Korea. It's sad that it wasn't mentioned.
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kojep, Indonesia
Im interesting with the result of this cinderella stamps. Waiting to the amazing journey of the Little Mail Carriers to many destinations.
The idea to make a Postcrossing sticker for the identity of the Official Potcard look be nice
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maruo_, Japan
How wonderful!
Nowadays, AI can do anything. I feel the charm of this kind of handwork again. I can almost smell the ink from the image.
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gorp5113tl, Netherlands
We visited the open air museum in Arnhem, Netherlands, close to the German border. There is an old printing house too. We had a little coinic there, given by the very enthousiastic volunteer. He made a postcard for us. Maybe you can make a nice 'old' postcard for Postcrossing too.
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UtaElisa, Germany
Thank you for this great article! I will definitely visit the museum as I am very interested in print. In 1983 I learned lead typesetting in a printing house in northern Germany.
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kinoko, Germany
I love the wonderful artical! I wish someday I can visit the museum!
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espritpapeterie, Germany
What a fun and informative post! Thank you to everyone who made it happen!

I'd be thrilled to win one of these sheets! My suggestion for something to write about is ways that postcards have been used to promote peace, justice, and friendship despite differences.
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EE_06, Türkiye
I have seen a letterpress in a old printing office, It looks awesome when it is working. I think you should print 6-8 most interesting post boxes/offices around the world. (Like underwater post box in Japan)
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Tetsuko, Germany
We made some letterpress at my studies to become a kindergarten teacher with our teacher in the arts subject. I loved to do it. I also pressed my bat drawing several times --- but I also made a text... however I forgot I have to put it mirrowed.... :D

thanks for the great post. Love the Cinderellas a lot. Beaututiful
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marineko, Malaysia
As someone who loves zines, I always love to learn and read more about different ways of printmaking! Over the last few years there have been quite a letterpress revival among the local artists where I am, which is nice. It would be nice if you featured The Alphabet Press from Malaysia, who makes letterpress postcards (among many other things)!
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diffitt, United States of America
First off: I love PLAYMOBIL! Such a great memory from growing up :) I loved the mailmen/women and had the DHL truck too :)

I visited Ben Franklin's house in Phila. not too long ago and he was the first big printer in the USA. My best memory is seeing how meticulous the job of a printer would be and how time consuming it would be as a profession. They used to pay in beer and he would turn it down in efforts to continue working and I just fell in love with the job and how needed it was to spread literacy and news back in the day!
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cookerbird, India
Hi!
The closest I have to a letterpress memory is from when I was in second or third grade. I remember taking a potato to school, carving out letters and shapes in the potato half and dipping it in colourful paints to print the carved shapes on paper. We even used lady's fingers to print flowers!
Next time you could try printing a small scenery and then perforating it into little stamps, like a sheet of jigsaw-puzzle stamps.
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Portiariana, Singapore
I remember I went on a class excursion to a local newspaper printing factory many years back. Back then, the staff there needed to manually select each character to form an article to be printed. Very tedious work but it benefited everyone to be updated with news around us locally and globally.

It will be very nice if an extract from the "world postcard day" contest winner entry be printed.
We could paste the stamps on the postcard with this winner design when we do postcrossing.
Thank you very much for the giveaway.
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LeslieBryant, United States of America
I would be over the moon if I won one of these sheets!! Love all things stationery and the written and spoken word. Letterpress has such an impressive textural look. Last year we had the chance to visit the printing museum in Los Angeles County, and what a treat that was! This was a special event where they demonstrated several of their machines. Some of them we even got to use or had a say in what was produced. They had all kinds of presses, including a letterpress. Perhaps a blog on the history of paper would be interesting? Thank you Postcrossing for this cool giveaway!
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Exploradora73, Netherlands
I once went to a printing museum in Meppel te Netherlands. Very interesting.
I always love to see new designs of postcards, stamps etc.
I hardly print anything myself. I mostly buy stuff.
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Sandristica, Spain
Oh, these stamps are cool.
I studied Biblioteconomy and I love all type of books. The printed press was an invent so great as the wheel.
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HuizeMaat, Netherlands
I think, that te last photo on this artical, is great. Would be great as a card :) so, maybe that's an idea?
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jjv, Netherlands
Been calling my handouts in class 'stencils' for years.. Last time (only time) i ve seen an actual stencil machine was over fourty years ago.
In primary school.

Mostly dealing in PowerPoint and e-mail Now.
(maybe the mail carriers could check out the works used in dutch classrooms from my youth. Giant 'posters' with historic or biological content. In cardsize they make great cards too)
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juliadreams, Brazil
I do not have memories. Would be cool to print Cerrado and other biomes in danger!
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ditmerfamily, United States of America
Loved the post! I would love to see the Little Post Carrier adventures turned into a set of postcards.
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LiliAlice, Czech Republic
A beautifully crafted story and a very nice trip. Thank you that I could at least visit the printer through the article and see under the hood of production. nothing beats quality handwork. :)
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laraelise, France
What a lovely story & the cutest stamps! I remember touring a printing press as a kid and seeing the huge rolls of paper turning so quickly. I can still smell the ink and hear the roaring sound too!
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ainu, Germany
This brings me back to the time, when I was in North Korea and our guide told us about the printing process and which part North Korea played in its invention.
I‘d like to read some more about the paper shortage in NZ early 1900s and how the Royal Mail worked around it by allowing a specific leaf as paper. I tried this, it still works as the law was never changed.
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tozorunt, United States of America
What an incredible history. Thanks for the lesson and images.
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EmmaB, Canada
Oh waouh, thank you for sharing your experience.
I would love to try it too.
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csto78, United States of America
I really enjoyed this post. The photos were so well done.
I always made an excuse to visit our printing plants when I worked in jobs that required direct mail. I loved the smell of the ink and the sounds of the folding machines. It's so exciting to see something come off a press and realize that someone else is going to get your creation in the mail.
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fisherman, Ireland
Very interesting article and photos. We also have a National Print Museum here in Ireland and they have a website at https://www.nationalprintmuseum.ie/
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WMiddel, Netherlands
In the Dutch open air museum there is also a letterpress. Really interesting to see how every letter has to be placed correctly in order to print something.
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Palmyra, United States of America
Very interesting.
I have always admired the printing process. Amazing article ... Wonderful pictures also. Thanks for sharing.
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Olaur, Singapore
I enjoy this article as it reminded me of a visit to the local printing press for a Chinese newspaper when I was young. I remembered the heat and the smell of ink. The Chinese characters are so complexed vs the alphabets!

Thank you for this interesting read.
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