'MAN THAT’S LIFE'

                                             Icons of a Time Gone Past Reminding Us to Cherish Every Moment.


The printing blocks are arranged to tell a story of the lives of a young boy and girl in the twentieth century.

Archives of an era gone by, these original printing blocks are unique historical records.  A treasure of Oregon’s history, the images on these printing blocks are remnants of businesses in Portland, Oregon and vicinity.  Many from small family owned businesses no longer in existence, they made and sold their products in the paper boxes these printing blocks printed. The paper boxes held their product for the shelf of retailer’s stores.

Highly collectable, these printing blocks were recovered from Grigsby Brothers Paper Box (established in 1919) manufacturing plant located here in Portland Oregon.  Check us out on the web.

The printing blocks were in storage for over 60 years, forgotten about until recently uncovered.  

Family owned and operated for over 92 years.  This rare collection of printing blocks (best picks of the lot) were uncovered from storage during a recent move.  Once the largest paper box mfg. plant in the Pacific Northwest.

Throughout our 92 years of service we provided jobs for many hundreds of men and women who bought houses, cars, sent their children to college, and supported their families.   Started in the basement of my house, my grandparents once made hat boxes and apparel boxes for local merchants. 

Built specially for the collages, the printing blocks are authentically mounted in a large “Chase” using authentic printing locking mechanisms, ready for the printing presses of old times, only on a much larger scale.  The two 4 x 4 foot square collages, tell an icons story, about a young man and young girl who grow up meet and fall in love, marry and raise their family.  The life story is real as it can get as all these shops existed, you only need to imagine Todd and Ann visiting them.  The locking mechanisms found within the collage are authentic as well as the methods used to lock just like found in the printing presses of this era. 

Grigsby Brothers Paper Box manufacturing plant once used these vintage printing blocks to print images on the paper boxes that held the products for local businesses.  A part of America’s history, unique story plates of Oregon’s commerce.   Unique one of a kind treasure, a piece of Oregon’s history.  This collection of rare printing blocks were once used to print the paper boxes that held products manufactured here in Portland and vicinity area.  Guaranteed “Eye Stopper” the images are reversed (corrected by viewing in the mirror or by photograph flipped by “Photoshop”). Stained by the original oil based inks, and wash up marks left by the pressman, the multi colored display of reversed type and images intrigues one who reads them truly awesome display for restaurant, business, state office or museum.   These are guaranteed originals. 

All of these printing blocks were once used to print paper boxes, flyers, small posters, displays, etc.  Together they represent many hundreds of thousands of printings on paper.  The possibility of finding the printed paper match or box that any one of these printing blocks printed is very good.  As a collection, it is estimated the printing blocks printed at least a two hundred thousand various paper items (mostly paper boxes). 

This collection of Dry offset printing blocks have almost been totally replaced by ‘wet offset printing’.  Taken over by computer generated graphics and aluminum and plastic plates... This type of Lithography is almost a lost art. These printing blocks were etched from artists renditions meticulous done by hand from their drawings.  Resurrected by small print shops, however plastic has replaced the more costly metal and copper plated plates and the early solid copper plates of the pre 1940's.  The plates are mounted on their original 3/4 inch thick Cherry or plywood blocks.

Standing alone each plate is a valuable work of art from a single artist.  The complete set of plates both copper and zinc, the work of many artists along with the business names increases the value many fold.


Adding to the Mystique

The collages tell a ‘Love Story’ that can be read within the collages. 

The story is told by reading the plates as icons similar to the ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs’ carved in stone. 

Photographing both collages side by side then flipping the photograph (as in printing) the story then rights itself.  The man on the left and woman on the right, they fit together.  Each plate tells a part of the story of life in the 1950-1970’s.  The two collages when displayed side by side together tell their story, knitting together as one. 

HOW TO READ THE STORY:   (Read in right reading as though it was printed.)

The story line begins on her collage and continues onto his.  Outlined in copper Ann’s life story starts on the upper left.  Read following the copper outline downward and to the right.  The boy’s story is similar except his is outlined in sliver and reads from the upper right downward to the left.  When the copper and silver lines turn gold is where the two meet, fall in love, marry, and raise their family.  Read the love story (outline in gold) from the left to the right starting from her collage then continuing on to his. Continue reading line for line like a book from her collage to his collage.  The two collages merge together to form one complete story.

“The Love Story”:

The left collage illustrates the life story of a young woman (Ann) as she grows up in Portland Or.  The right collage represents the young man (Todd) as he grows up.  The copper colored pieces outline Ann’s life, and the sliver outlines Todd’s life story.  Allow the outline to guide you through their life stories..  Together they meet, date, marry, and live their life together.  Follow the seasons of their lives - spring, summer, fall, and winter.  The things they do, their jobs and the places they visit, the items and gifts they purchase, as they live their life as well as the stores where they bought their clothes.  The house they live together in.  Their baby and the baby clothes she buys.  Follow the woman’s arc from left to right and the man’s from right to left where and how they meet.  Allow the plates to journey you through their lives in an imaginary yet genuine real to life adventure.   Let your imagination fill in the details.   Keep in mind all the plates are real places and much of the story is real.  Some of the story had to be made up to match the plates.  Todd’s high school sweetheart “Ann” is the left collage.  The story is aided along using lead type from the original print shop.  

Top Left.  Outlined in copper Ann life story:

Time Marches On plate, Printing Counter Machine represents the passage of time, Jody Original clothing, attends Sabin Elementary, Sells Camp Fire Girl Cookies.  Her clothing stores, Jewelry, and products she uses.  Ann attends Jefferson High School, wore clothing from Pendleton Woolen Mills.   Ann’s love story with Todd outlined in gold starts just after the Purple Poodle plate. 

Top Right:   Outlined in silver Todd’s story begins in 1952

Seattle World’s Fair100 year calendar plate depicts the passage of time.   Some of the games and toys Todd plays with (many are samples left by customers brought home by his father).  Graduates from Parkrose High (Broncos) 1970.  He wears a letterman’s sweater from Dehen Knitting Co.   Graduates from Portland Community College in 1972 with Associates ME.   Finds work at Freightliner.   Here the outline turns from silver to gold where his love story with Ann begins.

The “Love Story” (begin reading in the gold outline) is read line by line from Ann’s collage continuing onto Todd’s collage as follows:    

Ann is an avid baseball fan, Portland Beavers baseball Coupon plate.   Ann and her sisters pack into the family car off to the Portland Beavers baseball game (Lino-Type Plate) describes Todd and Ann meeting at the ballpark.   1965 World Series Baseball game and Salt Water Taffy she buys at the game.   Here the story bridges over to Todd’s collage and continues on.  Portland Beavers plate represents Todd at the stadium,  Lino-Type (actual newspaper excerpt) describes the Division Title pennant game, Baseball Window Sticker plate.  Next line (on Ann’s collage).  Precious Moments:   Telephone Calls setting up dates between Todd and Ann.   Friends on a double date.   Candle lite dinners.    Continuing onto Todd’s collage.   Box of candies Todd gives to Ann.   Dinner Silverware, Friends, More phone calls, gifts of candy from Todd.   Brush plate interoperates the painting of the story.  Clothing Todd buys to impress Ann.   Next line begins on Ann’s collage.   “Be My Honey”, Bees Wax Plate, Candles.   Continue reading over to Todd’s collage.  Todd “Hold Dear”   More candies, then “Here Comes My Heart”.   FALL season comes and Todd tells Ann “I Love You Ann”, “Will You Marry Me?” Ann replies “Yes” and Todd places the ring on Ann’s finger.    Next line from Ann’s collage.  Ann shops for a wedding dress at Resses Gown Shop.    Bride plate.   Just Married (lead type), Photographer plate and “View Master Slide Mounts” .   Continuing on to Todd’s collage.   “The HONEYMOONERS”, Ambassador of Sun Surf and Sand.    Hawaiian Macadamia Nuts,   “It’s a Wonderful World”, “Sawyers Pana-View” photographs of their travels.   Todd and Ann use “National Credit Card” on their honeymoon.   Mountain Fragrance plate.   Next line on Ann’s collage.   “For Expectant Mothers”, “New Arrival”, Kiddie Kover, and baby apparel plates, “FAMILY”.   Continue on to Todd’s collage.   “For Expectant Fathers”, “There is no place like home…”   Barbecue accessories and hamburger press at home.    Kitchen remodeling, Aunt Belinda visits.   “THAT’S LIFE”.

NOTE: “The Physics of Gravity” Lead Type Plate.  Refers to Todd’s Life Works on “Synodic Theory of Gravity and Electromagnetism”.  Provided undeniable absolute physical proof of what gravity really is.  Presented in the 1990’s on the Compuserve science forum.  Factual and believed to be true by some was scoffed at and rejected by the scientific community.  Instead multi millions of dollars are funded by government and collages in research in something that is free and right before their very eyes.    See a video of the gravity phenomenon on U-tube, search “gravity wave of the future 3”.   

In addition, each plate has its own unique story within itself.  Researched individually, they reveal insight into those who ideas were conceived and formed into the products they marketed to support their families.  The archives of business records can be found in local state offices linking them to the founders.   Some of these businesses came and went quickly, others blossomed into large industries. Researching would be a fun project for one interested in the history of business.

Several plates (45 RPM record album covers) of local rock recording artists from the Portland Oregon area:   “Legend” 45 record album cover printing plate.  ‘Too Late to Turn Back’  See top corner of Todd’s collage.

The Wipers plate with Greg’s photograph can be found in the lower left or right of Ann’s collage.  The Wipers were a punk rock group formed in Portland, Oregon in 1977 by guitarist Greg Sage, drummer Samn Henry and bassist Dave Koupal.  Wipers were one of the earliest American purveyors of the genre, and the group's tight song structure and use of heavy distortion has been hailed as extremely influential by numerous critics and musicians, including Nirvana, who covered several of their songs.  

One or more of the plates may have been designed by a local famous artist of historical importance that worked as a graphic artist   Artists often had side jobs to supplement their income. 

Further Adding to the Mystique

The plates are authentically mounted in a large “Chase” (the steel border) as though ready for the printing press of old times. Four feet by four feet, the border represents the removable steel frame called the “Chase” which slipped into the printing press (see videos included with purchase).  The individual plates are arranged much like they would be within the steel Chase of the printing press of old, only much larger for this display.  The many wooden blocks used to arrange the plates are called the “Furniture”. The long thin wood pieces are called “Riglets” and the locking mechanisms found on the sides are called “Quoins”. Together they allow the plates to be locked in proper positioning within the chase, ready for printing.  See photograph of an actual setup for printing.  The dark colored Furniture is untouched, black from the many years of use in the print shop.   Several kinds of “type” are present on the display including “Lino-Type”.   All or most of the parts are original removed from service.  The long metal lightener called “Coins” may be divided up into several categories; “Challengers” and “Wedge Coins (Wickersham)” and “narrow register coins”.   Included within this collage are several large letters of original antique wooden type.

The lead type found within the collage is well over 60 years old.  Used many times in early printings, the collage was assembled using the type sets found in storage at the time the plates were uncovered.  Only the signature plate is new.  The ball and the stadium plates, before being mounted within the collage were used in printing samples as proof the plates are real and are in good working order.  A limited number of samples of this printing are available. 

This type of printing will soon be totally replaced by computers.   There are a few small printers left, but because they are so small they have had to throw away their old wood mounted printing plates due to the amount of storage area they take up.   We were fortunate that our large building allowed these plates to survive for over 60 years in storage.  These two facts alone make them highly collectable.  These are the pick of the lot of approx. 6000 lbs. of plates that were removed from storage.   Most of the rest will soon end up in the dumpster forever forgotten.   Included within the collage is lino-type.  Lino-Type is a very old lead type making method newspapers once used.  Melted from ingots of lead alloy, the operator entered the words on keyboard then the machine would melt lead and form rows of letters.  The machines once numbered in the hundreds of thousands there are not many of these machines left.


Additional :

From the perspective of a Curator; Historical Work of Art and Museum Piece the value of this work may be accounted for as follows:


Historical Artifacts 1930’s to 1970’s authentically mounted using original locking mechanisms and wooden pieces as though ready for the printing press.  (Legend Rock Group plate is 1980)

True to Life Story’s (with exceptions).  A Love Story is read interoperating the plates as icons or Hieroglyphics.

The script and 1 hour 16mm tape to DVD from the RICHFIELD “Success Story” Television Documentary on Grigsby Brothers Paper Box” aired on February 15th 1961.

DVD: “ALL ABOUT PRINTS”  By: The Print Research Foundation.  Documentary for novices and experienced collectors from the perspective of influential curators, collectors, dealers, printmakers and artists.  54 minutes.

1961 “Linotype Printing and Typesetting” Tape to DVD video.  Amazing historical footage on hand typesetting from 1947-1960  35 minutes

Book “The Lithographers Manual”.  Graphic Arts Technical Foundation

Photographs of other printing plates from Grigsby Paper Box archives. Collection of photographs on CD,  Flat-Bed printing press at Grigsby Brothers Paper Box.  Related historical records.  

Samples of printings from several plates.

The Oregonian newspapers articles on CD from 1965 on the Portland Beavers leading up to their winning of the division title.  Tuesday September 6th 1965 including the sports section article on the Portland Beavers Baseball team when they won the pendant for the Division Title.  Printing plates related to this game are on the collage.

Characteristics of Folk Art

“The Physics of Gravity” Plate found on the collage references Todd’s research on gravity

Book CD:  “In Search of God” Autobiography of Todd Walter Grigsby on CD Describes how Todd discovered what Gravity really is.   Autobiography provides some details on how the discovery was made.

Todd Walter Grigsby a living Legend with works on gravity and physics.  Search:  synodicgravity

 Signed lithographs of several of the plates are available.  (Only 500 will be available)

NOTE: Some of the plates have gouge marks in the corners of the wood.   These were gouged by the pressman to reduce the plate height and prevent marking the paper board.  The paper flutters like a flag blowing in the wind as it is drawn through the press.  On occasion the paper board would touch the corner of the plate and pick up ink, or leave a mark, on the paper, thus the pressman cut these areas down...  I elected to keep the plates as original as possible thus left them as they were run many years ago. 

Commercial printers no longer use this type of wood backed plate.  The uniqueness and priceless value for serious collectors materializes from age, historical value, only one plate exists and the printing industry now uses inexpensive thin aluminum recyclable plates.  Evidence these are authentic can easily be made in that there are well over 200,000 approx. paper items they printed.  

Shown is this photo the flat copper plates are replaced by less expensive thin flexible aluminum digital plates that wrap around a cylinder.  The modern plates are used once then removed and cast away.  Every year these plates will increase in value as the printing industry is now using modern digital plates, making the wood backed copper plated zinc plates obsolete.   Every year the solid wood backed, copper plated, printing plates of the past will increase in value. There are not many presses left in the world larger than 13 x 18 that are capable of using the larger wood backed copper plates making them quite valuable as a collector item.  Like the Model T Ford they are slow and too expensive to run and maintain, this type of printing press are nearly obsolete.

Grigsby Brothers Paper box was on the television show “Success Story“ in 1962 hosted by Richfield Oil.

The family business made shoe boxes in the early 1970’s for “Blue Ribbon Sports” now known as Nike.  The story goes; either Bill Bowerman or Phil Night (were not sure which), came in our front office with a pair of shoes that he had worked on into the wee hours of the night, looking for a box to sell his shoes in. Just off the waffle griddle they smelled strongly like vulcanized rubber.  Everyone held their laughter until he left.  We all thought he never had a chance selling these flimsy, funny smelling athletic shoes.  We took his order for a couple hundred shoe boxes believing he would never be able to pay his bill (my dad had a big heart). We gave him a chance where other manufactures had rejected his meager quantity of a couple hundred shoe boxes. Nike now has their boxes made overseas.   Grigsby Paper box also made boxes for Microsoft when they were in their infancy.  Grigsby Paper box manufactured 250 of Bill Gates wedding cake box.  Grigsby Paper Box manufactured paint brush keepers for Purdy Brush in 1922.  Known by painters for their quality brushes they still make the highest quality paint brushes today.  Visit ‘’ and view a unique photograph of grandfather Grigsby proudly standing alongside of his new 1924 “Star” delivery van with the dealership in the background. The delivery van had a wooden top and canvas side panels.  Other accounts: Sawyer’s and “View Master” known for their stereo hand held slide projector now a valuable collector item.  Several “View Master” plates are located on the collages.


The two spelling errors on the lead type plates have been corrected.  The baseball window sticker up righted.  The Oregon Department of Revenue was replaced with a plate by Homer Groening for the Benson Hotel.

 Included are two frames with museum quality anti-reflective acrylic glass.

 The collages have specially designed heavy duty hangers mounted on the back.  If desired I personally will help assist mounting the collages.

 The photographs really don’t do justice to the viewing the collages in person.

Purchase includes both collages.   Contact me for better photographs or for a private viewing appointment.  503 * 975 2242


Thank You
Todd Walter Grigsby