What can one say about the month of March, 2020? All of us have seen major and even catastrophic disruption in our lives. It ain’t over yet, and even when this COVID thing finally cycles down, the economic repercussions will take years to play out. Here in Arizona the governor promulgated a stay-at-home order just yesterday like many other states have already done. This means foundry operations are standing down indefinitely at Skyline. But I hasten to point out that the office remains open, we have over 34,000 lbs of type in stock, and orders are shipping out as usual. Business so far remains steady.
New this month we offer our penultimate set of antique dingbats, Collection No. 56, on the theme of Humanoids. My favorite is the little guy carrying a sign displaying a mug of beer. This may be related to the end of prohibition in 1933; there are photographs from those historic days of men marching in the street carrying signs declaring “We Want Beer!”
Also new this month are two new sizes of the very popular Granjon Arabesques: Collection No. 57 in 24 point and Collection No. 58 in 36 point. Skyline has offered this previously in 18 point but we’re unable to restock that size due to a failure of one matrix.
Restocks accomplished are Sans Serif Light 18pt with Deco Alternates, the Ataraxy Initials (now including tint blocks for two-color effects) and Border No. 4. There were 31 new items posted for sale in The Junk Bin.
Interest is stirring for another session of Thompson Tech. This is Skyline’s intensive week-long, hands-on seminar in the operation and maintenance of Thompson Type Casters. It’s limited to four (4) students and the dates will be determined by what works best for everyone–after things settle down. There are certain prerequisites, but if this is of interest to you, give a shout and I’ll tell you more.
Here’s a spot of bright news! Do you remember the name Dan X. Solo, a man well-known in the typographic community some decades ago; producer of optical fonts and many Dover books of antique type? He was present at the liquidation auction of American Type Founders, and rescued quite a few good matrices, many of which by a roundabout path and sheer luck ended up here at Skyline. (But that’s another story.) Unfortunately there were many mats left unaccounted-for after Dan’s death. Last month we got a call out of the blue from one of Dan’s sons. It seems he was cleaning out the garage and found a box of ATF mats, and did we want them? Ahem! They are now safe in our vault. Lots of the mats were people-figures, all of which I found and identified in the ATF 1899 catalog, in sets such as Speakers, Klondikers, and Lady Golfers. Unfortunately, at 60 point and up, we are presently unable to cast them–but there are machines in existence which can, so never say never!
Alas, there will be no Bay Area Printers Fair this year. Other major Letterpress events, including the L.A. Fair and the APA Wayzgoose, are on wait-and-see status. Let us hope. Printing is good peace-of-mind therapy. We will prevail, friends.