Well every story needs a beginning, mine started on December 8, 1960, when I was born. During the summer of 1961, I was adopted by the only parents I have ever known. However, I was unaware of the fact I was adopted until shortly before my father's death in December of 2003. When I was growing up, I can't say that I really even knew what our family did for a living, until I was in high school, anyway. During that time, UPS was on strike, so I would walk to the shop after school and help my father take the daily shipments down to the post office. Fortunately, the strike only lasted a couple weeks, as I best remember. But, that was my first introduction to the family business on a personal level. Prior to that time, I had been working on a couple other businesses of my own. I started selling Christmas Trees each Christmas from a tree farm my parents bought that adjoined their property when I was 12 years old, and when I was 14, I started a pet boarding kennel in my parent's garage. Those two ventures lasted until I started college, and netted me enough income to pay for all but $800 of my college education.
After my first year of college, on May 19, 1980, I started working for the company on a regular basis. I started right at the bottom, and got no advantages granted because I was the owner's son. My first jobs in the press room was to clean the presses! But, by the time the first summer was over, I had been working on setting up forms and doing make-ready on the V-50's, learning the basics of press maintenance (oiling & lubrication), learning how to clean and maintain the Intertypes and even setting some type on the Ludlows. I also learned the basics of our stationery production, and printed many of the "standard" products that needed little in the way of makeready or preparation.
When I graduated from Syracuse University in 1983, I truly started working full time at the company, and in July 1986, I became Vice President of the corporation (Finally a little advantage for being the son of the owner!). By 1994, I was running the show almost 100%, but my father continued to hold the purse strings and handle all the company financials right up until his death at the age of 82+ in December of 2003. During the years between I have learned how to do everything in the place, including typesetting on the Intertypes, which I now do exclusively. I have done all the equipment maintenance and repairs for the past 20 years, and so far have not had a problem I have not been able to handle.
Since my father's death, my wife, Marianne, and I tried to rebuild and redirect the business from it's original market of low-priced commodity grade stationery to be sold as a fund raiser through schools, churches and other groups to a more specialized letterpress shop offering services to the local printing trade and working on developing a line of higher-end letterpress stationery.
But after we both had some serious medical issues between 2006 and 2010, by 2013, we decided it was time to semi-retire and enjoy our lives while maintaining a much smaller print shop at our home. So, we bought a new home with room for a shop and settled into a new routine by the end of 2013 that we are still enjoying today.
Presses & Equipment
After retiring from our shop in Camden, NY that had a full production floor, I have now downsized to a small home-based shop with the following equipment:
(1)10x15 C&P Craftsman Hand Fed.
(1) Model L Ludlow (Slant top) and three cabinets of mats.
(1) Hammond Glider Trim-O-Saw.
(1) Vandercook Model 01 Galley Proof Press
(1) MBM Triumph 6550A 25" Paper Cutter
Education & Training
B.S. in Business Administration & Computer Science, Syracuse University
1972-1982: Seasonal Sales of Christmas Tree
1974-1985: Owner/Operator, West Wind Boarding Kennels
1980-2013: Williams Stationery Co.
1980-1986: General work: form layout, press, typesetting, paper cutting, etc.
1986-2003: Vice President, handling day-to-day operations since 1994
2003-2013: President and co-owner with my wife.
2013-Present: The Private Press at Williams Stationery, still producing most of the stationery items of the old company on a limited basis through website sales.
Other Interests & Hobbies
My wife Marianne and I enjoy traveling around the country as often as possible. The past couple years we have been meeting other letterpress printers in the north east quarter of the country. Everyone we have meet to date has been extremely friendly and we have had fun meeting them. We enjoy decorating the house for the holidays, and pictures of our house for various holidays can be found on the web at http://www.lwwilliams.com
Sometimes I get a little out of control, especially for Christmas. We live in a quiet development in Rome, New York, about 20 miles from the the old printing plant, and have 2 cats and no children. Next time we hit the road, we may stop in and see you!
Letterpress Group Memberships, If Any
APA, APHA, LOLP
Your Photo or Press Photo
Predefined Group Memberships
APA: Amalgamated Printers Association AAPA: Amatuer American Press Association APHA: American Printing History Association ATF:American Typecasting Fellowship BPs: British Printing Society LOLP: Ladies of Letterpress NAPA: National Amateur Press Association