News for April

Skyline’s primary specialty is antique type faces, but we also have a thing for the rare, unusual, strange, bizarre, or just plain odd. Here’s more proof of that! Behold Quartz in 36 point. This one is so uncommon that it will be a surprise if anyone out there actually claims to have it in their shop.

Here’s the backstory. In 2010 Skyline bought out Barcotype, the last remnant of Chicago’s great commercial typefounding industry. Owner Si Patel was of Indian heritage and had some typecasting connections in the old country—a number of the matrix fonts we acquired in the deal were made in India. This particular face was present in 14, 18, 24 and 36 point. The mats are very well-made and of the English Monotype style. It’s a full title font (sans $) and emulative, obviously, of the alphanumeric displays found on electronic equipment and clocks. Quartz clocks. I was nonplussed at first by the two different colon characters, then it dawned on me that one was for use in a numeric time display (and no, it doesn’t flash!). Most likely Quartz is adapted to metal from an optical or transfer alphabet, like several others from Barco including that charming Smiley that we cast in 2019. Now the rubber meets the road: will anyone buy Quartz, or will April Fools Day 2021 be commemorated by Skyline’s biggest flop?

Restock castings checked off in March: Collection No. 46 and Border No. 1460.

We get a steady stream of inquiries from folks brand-new to letterpress. They’re invariably enthusiastic, but often blissfully free of any knowledge whatsoever on the subject. To help pass along some of the basics, a couple of years ago we launched a new page on the Skyline web site called Best Practices in Using Type, a series of illustrated essays. I’ve just done up a new one that’s a comprehensive guide on ordering new rollers. It’s not a simple matter to get rollers just the right diameter for a press with 120 years of wear. This worksheet will take you step-by-step to the perfect specification, right down to the thousandth of an inch. These essays are all downloadable PDF documents and part of Skyline’s give-back to the craft. We hope you find them useful.

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