Ever since I used my first num­ber­ing stamp as a school­boy, these clever mechan­i­cal devices have fas­ci­nated me. I now print one on every piece that leaves our work­shop, even though they are really dif­fi­cult to print on a proof press. They require a lot of pres­sure and the plunger will even­tu­ally destroy the cylin­der because it is much higher than type and will also print on the trip back (if you don’t under­stand this jar­gon, this may not be for you).

Which didn’t stop me from try­ing to build a forme with 60 of these lit­tle suck­ers. It’ll take a lot of arrange­ment, adjust­ing the mak­eready and other para­me­ters to get them all to print fairly evenly, but I am not going to give up eas­ily. These pho­tos are from the first run which hasn’t yielded any pre­sentable results so far.

The cool thing will be that every time it prints, all 60 stamps will rotate by one digit. Every print will be ran­domly unique.

(the two top pic­tures are by Max Zer­rahn)
First proof


  1. Dear Erik,
    One trick with num­ber­ing machines on a proof press is to remove one of the two springs from the inside. Like this they dont leave that much impres­sion on the pack­ing…
    But: Be aware that some­times after this mod­i­fi­ca­tion they don’t do the 2-and-more dig­its jumps at 99, 199, 299 and so on… They might need a lit­tle help with this… I did some posters that I num­bered and in for exam­ple an edi­tion of 150 there are 5 num­ber 99’s… Haha. I always keep some mod­i­fied and some unmod­i­fied ones around.
    Best wishes. Dafi

    1. erik

      Thanks, Dafi. I know that trick, but so far I’ve been too lazy to take all 60 out again. But I have to rearrange them any­way, so I’ll do that next week. And I’m not wor­ried about num­bers above 99, as I won’t print that many and as this is all about ran­dom­ness. Doesn’t have to be sequen­tial. I haven’t touch any of them, except acci­den­tally. They just show what­ever num­ber comes up. As long as they all change with every print …

  2. Alexander Nagel

    Whow, looks good now. Noch lange zugerichtet?
    Grüße …

    PS:: hab ich dir schon gesagt, dass ich im deutschen Shutterstock-Blog eine monatliche Kolzmne habe?

    1. erik

      Das war schon let­zte Woche. Mache erst näch­ste Woche weiter..

  3. Alexander Nagel

    … natür­lich »Kolumne« … Typografis­che Notizen!

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