Better Places to Learn about Letterpress Printing
It is possible, given the net, that you're a beginner interested in letterpress printing and that you stumbled across these Notebooks by accident. If this is the case, you should know that this is probably not the best place to start. I am not an expert - I'm a novice - and I don't really know what I'm talking about. So here is a short list of some better places that you should go to first.
Where to See a Linecaster or Typecaster Run
It's all just words and pictures until you see it for real. Linotype/Intertype. Ludlow. Monotype/Thompson.
A Very Quick Overview of Letterpress Printing
[NOT DONE] [Letterpress vs. Other Types of Printing.] [Hand Composition.] [Machine Composition.] [From a Composed Line to a Printed Page.]
The Objects Cast for Letterpress Printing
[NOT ONLINE] There's more to it than just type.
This is an attempt to classify all "hot metal" typographical machinery using a system like that of biological classification. It is one of two simultaneous (and therefore redundant) ways in which I'm trying to lay out the entire range of machines; the other is the "Field Guide" (see below).
A Field Guide
This is an attempt to identify all of the "hot metal" typographical machinery using the system of the naturalist's "field guide." It is one of two simultaneous (and therefore redundant) ways in which I'm trying to lay out the entire range of machines; the other is the "Taxonomy" (see above).
A Very Quick Overview of Type Casting Machinery
[PROBABLY OMIT THIS; replace by new Taxonomy and by the Field Guide] [NOT BACK ONLINE YET - was the "brief taxonomy"] Sorting out all of the different machines (Linotype, Intertype, Monotype, Ludlow, etc.)
A Glossary In Self-Defense
Why you should never call a press a "letterpress"; Or, why sorts of type are types, of sorts.
[Incomplete notes on pronunciation]
[NOT DONE - n.b.: move preliminary draft over from old draft of Taxonomy] Outlining all of the ways in which typecasting matrices have been made.
The Why and How of the Linotype
[NOT BACK ONLINE YET] Trying to explain not just how a Linotype works, or what it does, but why it is important - socially and historically - that it does what it does in the way that it does it. (Monotypes too!)
Overview of Production Sequences
[NOT DONE] These are just quick surveys of how the various techniques and machines were put together for the complete production of a product, at more or less specific times in history. Too often we forget how it all fit together. [Making a Big City Newspaper in the 1940s.] [Making a Big City Newspaper in the 1880s.] [Making a Book in the 1940s.]
A Survey of Older Surface Reproduction Processes for Letterpress
[NOT DONE] All of the methods of reproducing an existing letterpress printing surface through the early 20th century. There was a lot more of this going on in the 19th century than one might expect.
Stereotype (plaster, papier maché). Electrotype (except electrotype type matrix making). Zincotype.
A Survey of Older Plate Production Processes for Letterpress
[NOT DONE] All of the methods of producing a letterpress printing surface other than assembling it from types or mechanically cutting it, through the early 20th century. (Exclude: Intaglio processes such as copper engraving, planar/lithographic processes, and later/current relief processes such as photopolymer.) As was the case with plate reproduction (see above), there was more of this going on in the 19th century than we might now expect. By the turn of the 20th century, it had transformed the appearance of print significantly.
Measurement, Spacing, and Alignment
[The Three Dimensions of a Type: Body, Set, and Height.] [How to Avoid Embarassment When Measuring a Type.] Pica, Point, and Type High. Three Meanings of "Lining." [Body ("point") Size vs. Face Size; Normal vs. "X Point on Y Body"] [Titling and Two-Line Typefaces (Note: Not Same as Linotype "Two-Letter" Fonts.] [Set, Letterspacing, Monotype Unit System, Kerning, Mortising] [Spacing: 3-em vs 3-to-the-em] [Reading a Pica Stick; "Agate" As a Fractional Unit.]
How to Print with Very Little Equipment
[NOTHING DONE HERE YET] Many of these Notebooks concentrate on very complicated machines, such as Linotypes, but these are not necessary for getting started with printing. At a minimal level, it is possible to start with very little indeed (not even a press) and produce printed work. The volume of output may be low, but the amount learned about type can be great. [Printing from a Block without a Press.] [Composing Type and Printing It without a Press.] [Making a Very Simple Proof Press.]
[NOT DONE] It is interesting for an independent student such as myself to know what it is that others have been expected to learn.
All portions of this document not noted otherwise are Copyright © 2008-2010 by David M. MacMillan and Rollande Krandall.
Circuitous Root is a Registered Trademark of David M. MacMillan and Rollande Krandall.
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