Devil’s Artisan 72: A new home for Alphabet’s Nolan proof press
Issue 72 of Devil’s Artisan features Gasperau Press owner Andrew Steeves’ account of his journey in September 2012 from Black River, Nova Scotia to Linotype U, a symposium on the art of linotype printing, in Denmark, Iowa. On the way there and back he visited as many letterpress print shops as he could, including The Porcupine’s Quill in Erin, Ontario.
Tim [Inkster] took me over to the PQL warehouse (located in the basement of the building next door) to show me what he felt should be the ﬁrst press photographed on my journey. Not his own Heidelberg KORD 64 offset press (the model also used at Coach House Books in Toronto and at Gaspereau Press), but rather a small Nolan proof press that once belonged to the poet James Reaney. Reaney is perhaps best known as the editor of Alphabet, an innovative literary journal he published in London, Ontario, between 1960 and 1971. Early issues of the publication were set and printed by Reaney himself, though it is doubtful that this particular little press was used in the production of the journal for anything besides prooﬁng type. I was glad of Tim’s suggestion, for it would turn out that Nolan proof presses would keep popping up everywhere along my route.
Andrew Steeves is the co-owner of Gaspereau Press in Kentville, Nova Scotia. Tim Inkster of The Porcupine’s Quill is the publisher of several titles by James Reaney, including A Suit of Nettles, The Box Social and Other Stories, and The Essential James Reaney.