This is where we tell you a story.
At the end of the 20th century in Southeast Minneapolis, on the right side of the Union Depot train tracks, in a 6th floor loft shared with a record label and an itinerant trucker, Boxcar Press was born. From the beginning, we had a love for letterpress printed poetry, an admiration for the potential of digital letterpress, an appetite for caffeine, and an obsession for heavy antique printing equipment. We tried to change the world back then through impractical but beautiful CD packaging that we letterpressed for local rock bands. We bought a Bunting Base. It was heavy, magnetic, and made us unhappy. At night, we dreamed of a world where printing with polymer was easier and transparent—a world where presses were coddled instead of scrapped, and letterpress was everywhere, in the trees and in our hair.
Founder Harold Kyle was trained in the book arts at Carleton College and at Campbell-Logan Bindery, one of the most respected hand-binderies in the nation. While serving his time as the youngest printer-in-residence at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA), he received a coveted Fine Press Minnesota Book Award for his platemaking and printing of MCBA’s winter book The Summer House. In addition to collecting heavy machinery, he also collects objects with the word “Heidelberg” on them. He is especially fond of the raisin-walnut bread made by the Heidelberg Bakery in nearby Herkimer.
Debbie Urbanski, assistant founder, joined Boxcar Press in 2002 with the intent of creating lots of forms for people to fill out, so that the office could keep organized. She is now serving as Boxcar’s writer-in-residence, travel correspondent, and child watcher.
Jasper Kyle is the first Boxcar Baby, born November 17, 2006 after a whole lot of hard work. His favorite press is the Heidelberg SBB, his favorite ink color is Pantone Purple.
Stella Urbanski is Boxcar Baby #2, born August 2, 2009. She has a soft spot for our Kluge EHD presses because they print shiny things. Stella only wants to print in pink.
Our guiding principles
Our mission is to print beautifully; use the best materials; and support and inspire the letterpress community.
We began out of a passion for letterpress printing. Our actions at Boxcar Press reflect a care for our craft, our community, and our planet.
We care for our craft:
- Letterpress is beautiful in every respect, from the machining of the presses down to the impression into paper. We respect our place in the lineage of printers dating back to Gutenberg, and we will honor letterpress’s heritage in our actions.
- We will position letterpress as the high-quality and high-service alternative for commercial printing.
- The future of letterpress lies in the marriage of technology to the craft tradition. We will develop new technologies to keep letterpress commercially viable.
- We will push letterpress’s possibilities.
We care for our community:
- We will play a vital role for the letterpress community that we serve: that which is good for letterpress is good for Boxcar Press.
- Letterpress brings joy and beauty into the world. We will encourage the world at large to love letterpress.
- Central New York has treated us well. We will be an active, supportive, and positive force in our local community.
We care for our planet:
- We will be a model for sustainable printing by caring for the environment and by lessening our impact on the Earth.