Pressing On

81 years ago a printing plate was cast to commemorate a very special occasion: the dedication of a brand new post office and customs house building for the city of St. Augustine. The present-day site of Governor’s House had served as the U.S. Post Office and Customs House since America acquired Florida from Spain in 1821, but the building was almost completely rebuilt in the 1930s by Jacksonville architect Mellen Greeley and opened to the public in 1937. A mere 30 years later a new downtown post office was constructed, and the Governor’s House was transferred from the Federal Government to the State of Florida to become office and museum space, much like it is today. The printing plate is part of the museum object collection in Governor’s House Library but it has started to show some wear after 81 years, as you might expect.

A color photograph of a 1937 printing plate depicting Government House.
The printing plate from 1937 has seen better days

We called up our friends over at M.C. Pressure who have some experience with these types of things. Ryan Tempro, the owner and Director of Imagination of M.C. Pressure, professionally cleaned the printing plate and ran it through the 1958 Original Heidelberg letterpress that operates in the shop. This type of press is nicknamed the “windmill” because it uses air suction to move paper to and from the printing area of the machine.

A 1958 advertisement for the Original Heidelberg printing press.
An ad for the 1958 press used at M.C. Pressure

The results of the process are amazing. The cleaning enhanced the detail from the plate and after a trip through the press the 1937 design lives again! Thank you M.C. Pressure for helping to keep this piece of St. Augustine history alive!

The 1937 printing plate depicting Government House stamped on a piece of paper with black ink.
The final result!

Make sure you visit to learn more about their process and products, and follow them on social media: @mc_pressure

A color photograph a 1958 Original Heidelberg press.

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