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Hamilton Stories: Norbert Brylski Interview

“HWT Brylski” is a typeface by Nick Sherman, named for retired wood type cutter Norb Brylski, and designed to be cut as wood type at the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. It incorporates several themes that were common in 19th-century type design, including split Tuscan serifs with angled mansard-style sides, heavy weight placement at the top and bottom of letters (traditionally referred to as “French” or “Italian/Italienne,” regardless of any actual relation to those countries), and an extended overall width.

Hamilton Stories: An Oral History, was a six-event speaker series at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, that commemorated the occupational heritage and process of making wood type. Founded in Two Rivers, Wisconsin in 1880, the Hamilton Manufacturing Company became the largest manufacturer of wood type in the United States. As a local employer and an enduring legacy, Hamilton established a culture of quality, pride and innovation that influenced the community to this day.

Hamilton Stories was established to preserve the stories of six former Hamilton employees who worked in the company’s wood type cutting area. Each event featured one guest speaker who shared his or her personal experience at the company. The Museum Director interviewed each speaker with a series of questions to reveal their experiences and guide audience members through the process of creating wood type. Beginning with harvesting wood, cutting letterforms on a pantograph and finally trimming finished pieces each person shared his or her unique story. The commemorative posters on display at local locations were designed for the speaker series and printed at the museum.

In this video Jim Moran, Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum director, interviews Norb Brylski who prepared wood, made patterns and worked with the pantograph at the Hamilton Manufacturing Company in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. In his time at Hamilton he was always employed in the type shop. Since the museum has opened he has volunteered in training new individuals, including his daughter, George Liesch, to prepare and cut wood type. The interview took place at the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum on December 5, 2015.