Treasure Hunt! Those of us in the letterpress community who have been active collectors for a long time have lots of stories about the old shops we’ve closed out, and the treasures we’ve found. (Ask RvH to tell you the Amboy story sometime.) I myself have cleared out more dim, dusty, junk-strewn rooms full of type and equipment than I ever stopped to count. A family member wants to empty Grandpa’s garage so they can sell the house, or a building’s been sold and the owner’s gotta get all that rusty old printing junk out by the end of the month, or a printer friend moves on to the next world and the widow’s looking up the number of the nearest scrap metal yard. That unexpected phone call gets the heart pumping, and you immediately start clearing the calendar so you can hit the road in a rental truck and swoop in for the rescue. It’s hard, filthy and exhilarating work.
One good’n was an old newspaper office in the near-ghost town of Baylis, Illinois. The place looked like 1930, with a Linotype, rare C&P cylinder press, and ancient Stonemetz flatbed newpaper press. (I left that.) Treasures found there included an 1895 ATF/Central type specimen book, and a heavy rectangular block that had been used forever as an ink mixing slab—it turned out to be the marble tombstone of a 6-year-old boy born in 1851. When Skyline relocated from Illinois to Arizona in 2011, I figured the treasure hunts were probably over, but the best one was yet to come! It was a private junkyard in the old mining town of Globe, Arizona, where in multiple trips we hauled out four presses, eleven cabinets of type and lots of other stuff.
Last month, after road trips to the Southwest Print Fiesta and L.A. Printers Fair, I launched for Colorado to drag out twelve cabinets of type from the old Silverton Standard newspaper building. Driving an overloaded Penske truck over not one but two 10,000+ft passes, on a two-lane road with few guardrails, added some adrenalin to that one! This and other trips have landed many thousands of pounds of used type in our warehouse. All will be carefully evaluated and sent to either the caster, for reincarnation into new type, or the Skyline web site for sale in The Junk Bin (to which 19 new listings have just been added today).
With all that travelin’ we’ve gotten about half a cycle out of sync on production—some of October’s new releases aren’t even fonted up yet, and we have to scramble to fill orders. Several new projects have been cast. But to help us get caught up, we’re releasing just one of them for November: Border No. E-1348 in 18pt. This is another English Monotype design by Jack Townend, a companion to the E-Border we released in August. Enjoy. —Sky