WOODTYPE - CON P. CURRAN PRINTING COMPANY October 13 2012
A few weeks ago we sniffed out a bunch of woodtype on Craigslist. When seasonal allergies aren't plaguing our sinuses we've got a pretty good nose for finding old stuff, and this batch came along at the right time. We feel pretty lucky to have stumbled upon this listing as we'd find out it has historic significance to St. Louis industry, especially the printing industry.
With a few email exchanges we realized we were talking to one of the great grandson's (Jack Curran) of the late Con P. Curran Printing Company. Over the years, finding ourselves in a conversation or two with old-timer printers, that name has come up more than once. Con P. Curran printed for the railroad, and airline industries. They were founded in 1893, were located in the vicinity of the cities great typefoundries and other printers, and headquartered on land that is now home of the Gateway Arch. They had offices in New York, Chicago, and Dallas among other cities. They eventually folded the company around 1989, a company with a legacy of over 100 years.
Jack went on to be successful in photography and advertising but never wanted to go into the family business. "I was the oldest son and pretty much expected to do so. My father sat me down and asked, but I declined... As to how it influenced me... I always felt the pull of printing as a craft. The issue for me at the time was the company was presented to me as a business and not a craft. I wanted to explore more creative ventures."
We're honored to be the keepers of such beautiful type styles and happy to know the posters and prints we make will continue this line of St. Louis history. To see the collection with your own eyes, stop by the studio and ask politely. If you're good lookin' we might let you peek behind the scenes.
- You can still drive down the Avenue in Kirkwood that's named for the Con P. Curran family, Curran Ave.
- In his prime, Con P. Curran was an honorary sheriff of St. Louis.