Hamilton Mfg. Co. Vintage Metal Drawer Cabinet for Lead Type

Hamilton Mfg. Co. Vintage Metal Drawer Cabinet for Lead Type


45H” x 39W” x 24D”

From ‘the composing room equipment’ company, Hamilton Manufacturing Co., a cabinet for housing various types and sizes of lead type (used for printing newspapers, etc.). Its 24 flat drawers contain many examples of the original lead cast letters. The metal cabinet, from Two Rivers, Wisconsin, has been outfitted with a new butcher block top.


J. Edward Hamilton founded the original Hamilton factory, called J.E. Hamilton Holly Wood Type Company, in 1880, and within 20 years became the largest manufacturer of wood type in the United States.

Edward Hamilton was born in Two Rivers and lived there until he was in his teens. When his father died fighting in the Civil War, his mother took her family to Lockport, NY, to be closer to her brothers-in-law, and for two years Hamilton attended Lockport High School. In 1868, the family moved back to Two Rivers, and at the age of 16, Edward went to work as a tender of a clothespin lathe in a chair and pail factory. Tending a clothespin lathe was not enough to satisfy Hamilton - in addition to figuring out ways to improve his production and the quality of his work, he volunteered in the engine room to learn about steam power and the mechanics of the equipment; next he managed a brick factory for his uncle until the business folded; and then he sought his fortune in the 1876 gold rush in South Dakota.

In 1878, back in Two Rivers, at the pail factory once again and determined to make his way in the business world, the opportunity presented itself that would put Two Rivers on the map and make Hamilton a name known among newspapers and print shops (and eventually housewives, dentists, doctors, architects, scientists and more) nationwide.

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