There is something exquisitely special about an engraved piece of stationery. Just ask any fan of Downton Abbey or, well, anyone who is reading this blog right now.
Whether one considers a handwritten note or invitation a nostalgic luxury he or she refuses to give up, or simply a staple of any proper stationery wardrobe, all would agree that engraving is the grande dame of printing processes.
And so, we went on a mission to piece together the history of engraving. There is, we found, quite a bit of information available on the engraving of images, which goes back a long, long time: cavemen did it; so did the Egyptians.
But we were more curious about that point in history when someone thought, My, wouldn’t this piece of paper that I’m sending look so much lovelier engraved?
How can you pick out the guy who loves what he does? He’s the one who smiles when you ask him about it. And then keeps smiling throughout the entire interview.
That’s Bob Gregory, a native of North Adams, Massachusetts (where our paper magic happens) who works an engraving press like no one’s business. He’s also a Red Sox fan and could never work at a job in which he was “just sitting there.”
That’s good news for us, and whoever has the pleasure of receiving a box of stationery created by Gregory’s skilled hands.
Here, he chats with us about being a “wedding man,” naming his engraving press and his one degree of separation from a certain blue-eyed crooner.
Instagram. Hipstamatic. Twitpic. Sharing. Posting. Tagging. We’ve become (for better or worse) a society of sharers. Instant sharers at that. And thanks to smartphones touting cameras as good as most point-and-shoots, pictures of our meals, cats with books and celebrities on the subway actually look pretty darn good.
That said, shooting close-up details still requires the hand — and eye — of a professional. So we asked photographer David Nicholas, who recently shot some of our new wedding stationery collection, what exactly goes into capturing the incredible detail of an engraved monogram.
This is what David had to say about shooting the monogram seen below:
We’re quite proud of our heritage here at Crane & Co. A family-owned company that started as a little paper mill in Massachusetts during the American Revolution. Paul Revere used our paper, Presidents galore have used it and the U.S. Government still uses it. Celebrities past and present (a proper paper company never tells), society’s creme de la creme, Fortune 500 companies — our paper makes a statement, which is why it’s so revered.
But one doesn’t have to possess a famous last name to appreciate the finest paper. On the contrary, one simply needs to recognize and appreciate the beauty of classic correspondence. Which is probably the case if you’re reading this.
And which is probably why you just might enjoy watching a little story about our heritage. Enjoy!
We wish we could invite every future bride and groom to watch their wedding invitations be made at our factory in Dalton, Massachusetts. But that would be a lot of brides and grooms. On top of that, we’re guessing they’re pretty busy.
So, we thought we’d snap a few photos of the process. In this particular photo essay, we showcase how a letterpress wedding invitation is made. We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it.
We love the fact that our invitations, stationery and business cards are completely customizable. From the monogram to the typeset to the ink color to the printing method, chances are, if you have a vision, we can put it on 100% cotton paper.
That said, we equally love when we see others use our paper in stunningly creative ways. So, without further ado, here are five of our favorite designs from 2011.
Best Birthday Party Invitation: Featured on Oh So Beautiful Paper, these invitations by The Happy Envelope were for a 4-year-old’s country carnival-inspired birthday party — mailed with a lollipop to sweeten the deal
One of Crane & Co.’s engraving machines, where workers personalize each piece of stationery. Some of the machines are more than 100 years old.
As a 200-year-old paper company that still calls the same New England town home after all these years, there are two things we here at Crane & Co. put at the top of our ‘important’ list: Writing (without it, we wouldn’t exist) and Americana (since 1801, remember?).
So we were quite excited to hear that a Seattle lawyer with a penchant for all things American was writing a book on businesses born and raised right here in the U.S.A., including little old us. It’s called Simply American: Putting Our Extended American Family Back to Work, and while a date hasn’t been set yet for publication, we decided to chat with the author, John Briggs, about everything from brooms and sneakers to the American Dream.
What inspired you to write this book?
Chronic unemployment in this country. We’ve had this alleged recovery, but we’re not getting people back to work. I started thinking about unemployment, and what struck me is we could create a lot of jobs in manufacturing. A simple errand started my thinking in this direction.