Printing at Cranky Pressman
STORY & PHOTOS
By KATIE RICKMAN
Stepping into the small Salem company of the Cranky Pressman printing shop, visitors can’t help but feel as if they have one foot in the present and the other in the past.
Owner Keith Berger and his employees work relentlessly to deliver an old, but precisely crafted, form of printing – letterpress printing.
Letterpress printing is a technique of relief printing using a printing press, a process by which many copies are produced by repeated direct impression of an inked, raised surface against sheets or a continuous roll of paper.
Berger has owned the small business since 1983, but roughly 10 years ago, he and his business partner decided to go against the grain and stick with the old.
“I actually credit Martha Stewart” for the decision to stick with traditional form of printing, Berger said. “She wrote an article then [10 years prior] about wedding invitations printed like this, and it really took off.”
Since then, Cranky Pressman has been delivering the goods nationally, printing everything from wedding invitations to coasters.
Although a small business with fewer than a half-dozen employees running the shop, Berger says their efforts to “keep an old craft alive” is one of their main objectives.
He hopes they will be able to collaborate with local writers and artists through workshops so they can teach their trade to others. They would like to pass on the historic method of printing that is centuries old but still valued.