The 2014 Conference of the American Typecasting Fellowship was held under the joint sponsorship of Frank Romano (Salem, NH) and the Museum of Printing (North Andover, MA) from August 13 through August 17, 2014. It was the 19th biennial conference of the group. There were 62 registered participants.
The arrival and departure days, Wednesday (August 13) and Sunday (August 17) were field trips to the printing office of Firefly Letterpress (John Kristensen) in Allston, MA. The Wednesday session focused on the English Monotype Super Caster, while the Sunday session focused on the English Monotype-Thompson Type-Caster.
The Conference was rich in material and intense in pace. There were several last-minute changes in the program (in particular, matters were rearranged so that no sessions ran concurrently and no one had to miss a session). Even though I am writing this only a few days after the conference, I cannot guarantee that I have correctly recorded each event here.
Frank Romano screened a short clip from the 1944 film The Adventures of Mark Twain, showing their highly fanciful bird-like version of the Paige Compositor.
Stan Nelson. "Building Historic Hand Molds." Stan's experiences, with an emphasis on his newer work and detailed information on particular molds and types of molds. Stan also had several hand molds on display and, after his presentation, cast type with one of them.
Gregory Jackson Walters. "My Insanity in Casting Big Type on the Pivotal Caster." Greg discussed the technical side of his recent casting of the 120 point Cloister Initials on his ex-ATF "giant pivotal" caster for the P22 digital type foundry from matrices held by R.I.T.
Michael Bixler, Julia Ferrari, John Kristensen, the M&H apprentices Mark Sarigianis & Chris Godek, and Sky Shipley. "Commercial Typecasting and Letterpress Printing in the 21st Century." A discussion led by Frank Romano.
Jason Dewinetz. "Jason Dewinetz and His Super Caster." Jason discussed his experiences in rigging and moving the equipment he acquired from the late Jim Rimmer and in getting Rimmer's English Monotype Super Caster working again.
Stephen Heaver screened a preview of a film that he is assembling of footage of the 1993 American Type Founders auction and of the Dale Guild. This will be available for purchase from him when it is complete.
Frank Brannon (Speakeasy Press) and Ed Rayher (Swamp Press). "History of Cherokee Type." Frank spoke (with slides) on his experiences over several years with the Cherokee language and the syllabary created by Sequoyah for it, which has now been cut and cast as metal type by Ed Rayher (from a digital version by Xenotype). Ed presented a film on his experiences cutting it on an ex-ATF Benton vertical matrix engraving machine and distributed a booklet documenting this, and its casting on the Monotype-Thompson Type-Caster. While Ed did not have time to speak on his experiences in casting this type, there is in his booklet a very interesting illustration of a device he developed for the Thompson for assisting in dropping En spaces into the machine when casting horizontally kerned type.
Finally, I am in possession of a silent copy of the 1956 Monotype Corp. Ltd. (England) film 'Making Sure' At the Monotype Works: Type Faces In the Making which has not been re-released and has not been seen, at least by American type casters, for many years. I cannot distribute this film, but Frank Romano graciously made time in the schedule for me to show it.
It is traditional, although by no means required, for participants in the Conference to provide keepsakes for their colleagues. Ususally these are printed items (though in the past they have included objects such as cast types). Here is a list of the keepsakes presented at the 2014 ATF Conference.
Paul Aken ( the Platen Press Museum) gave a card with a cut from the MacKellar, Smiths & Jordan type foundry of a steam locomotive and train at "Typographical Station." 7 3/4 x 5 1/4.
Jason Dewinetz ( Greenboathouse Press) gave a broadside, printed from Lanston Monotype Caslon Old Style series 337 type cast on the English Monotype Super Caster formerly owned by the late Jim Rimmer, summarizing his progress in bringing this machine back into service. 10 1/4 x 16 1/2. Dated February 2014.
Patrick Goossens gave a transcription of Theo Rehak's 2010 speech at the ATF conference in Piqua, OH, printed by Letter-kunde Press, Antwerp, Belgium under the title A Message of Hope for the Masters of Molten Metal. Chapbook, 28pp. 7 x 10 1/4.
Stephen Heaver (the Hill Press) gave a broadside specimen and showing of a 42 point English Monotype face [the series number of which I have not yet determined] designed primarily with reference to Moxon's work. 11 1/2 x 8 1/4.
Rich Hopkins ( Hill and Dale Private Press and Typefoundry) gave three keepsakes:
John Kristensen ( Firefly Letterpress) gave a broadside showing of the Two-Line Prayer Book Initials designed by Dwiggins for the Merrymount Press edition of The Book of Common Prayer. Type cast at Firefly Letterpress. 9 x 12 1/2. Two-color (red, black). Presented in an envelope.
Robert LoMascolo ( The Press of Robert LoMascolo) gave a broadside of the parable of "The Acorn and the Pumpkin" (La Fontaine) set via the Welliver interface on a Monotype Composition Caster, with ornaments cast by the Bixlers. 7 1/2 x 10. Two-color (black, silver) on orange paper.
Tom Parsons ( EnglewoodDepot.com / Letterpress Depot and Denver Back-Alley Type Foundry) gave a card with a cut of a steam locomotive (recto) and a quotation from Rich Hopkins (verso). 5 1/2 x 4 1/4.
Mark Sarigianis and Christopher Godek, apprentices at M & H Type Foundry, presented a printed note to the effect that with the help of Bill Welliver the Monotype Composition Caster matrix case layouts for M&H have been digitized and are online at http://bill.welliver.org/dist/monotype/info/ . 4 x 3 1/2.
Schuyler R. (Sky) Shipley ( Skyline Type Foundry) gave a poster, printed for him by Jen Farrell ( Starshaped Press), with a quotation from David Bruce Jr. (typefounder and inventor of the pivotal type caster): "It would almost seem a pecularity of the typographic art that it attracts within its influence, and requires, strange & eccentric minds to act as its more prominent operators." 14 x 18. Silver ink.
Jim Walczak gave a broadside of the text of Abel Buell's type specimen of 1768 (the first American type specimen). This had been set originally in pica size by Buell in his own types. Jim re-set it using his casting of the late Paul Hayden Duensing's 24 point XVI Century Roman type (with Monotype borders) for "a close 2x facsimile". 8 1/2 x 11.
Ed Rayher, in his presentation on cutting Cherokee (q.v.) also distributed a booklet describing the process: "Swamp Press Turns Virtual Xenotype Cherokee into Hot Lead Monotype." 28pp. incl. covers, plus a facsimile of a cutting slip for the Benton pantograph as used. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2.
Bill Wheatley, as a part of his presentation on the Intertype Fotosetter , gave a single Fotosetter matrix to each attendee.
Oly, P. J. W. De Grondslag van het Bedrijf der Lettergieterij Amsterdam voorheen N. Tetterode . (Westzaan, Netherlands: Stichting Lettergieten 1983, 2013.) ISBN: 978-90-82136401. Available (at least in Europe) through Stichting Lettergieten 1983 at http://www.lettergieten.nl/uncategorized/te-bestellen-p-j-w-oly-infolettergieten-nl/
This book is a facsimile reprint of a manuscript of detailed notes on all aspects of type foundry operation written by Oly in 1908. It is in Dutch, but is in my opinion a necessary volume for the library of every serious type founder in any country. More information about it is available on the Stichting Lettergieten - Westzaan website: http://www.lettergieten.nl/
All portions of this document not noted otherwise are Copyright © 2014 by David M. MacMillan and Rollande Krandall.
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