“Advertising without posters is like fishing without worms,” says Jim Sherraden, manager of Hatch Show Print, one of America’s oldest working letterpress print shops. In business since 1879, Hatch Show Print is located in downtown Nashville, TN.
Step through the door and soaring above you are posters, floor to ceiling, all done by hand, on a letter press with wooden and lead type. To be exact, everything is done by hand. Hand cranked, hand inked, hand trimmed and packaged by hand. And then says Sherraden, “…we call the customer from a rotary telephone.”
Hatch is a working museum with artifacts from the turn of the century. As you’ll see from this video, what they’re really about is “preservation through production.” If you love music, just one visit will convince you that that’s true.
You’ll see posters ranging from Bessie Smith to the Beastie Boys and every genre in between. But what really stands out is that the shop is home to a who’s-who of country music history, which makes sense since Hatch Show Print has been making posters for the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame for years. The same type is used today as was 70 years ago.
And isn’t this like farming, where the land, the traditions, the history and the craftsmanship are preserved by keeping farms in production? Even with all the technological advances and innovations in agronomy and machinery, farming is still a hands-on endeavor that requires patience and passion. The same values that go into making the art of Hatch Show Print.
One poster at a time, one field at a time. Passion and determination is what keeps traditions alive. Farming is no different. Without it, it’s just another industry.