News for October

Our new release for this month is Border No. U-31 in 18 point, a neat two-element of unknown source. (Yup, that’s what the U denotes.)

And now permit me, if you will, to expound for a moment on border geometry. With all metal type being on a square (or rectangular) body, any given element has four axes: vertical, horizontal, and the two diagonals. Some designs—a solid circle, for example—are symmetrical about all four. That is, they can be rotated to any orientation and serve as either runner or corner. Likewise a diamond or square element. Our Border No. 4 is such an example; these are stand-alone, or “single-element” borders. A two-element border will have a runner with vertical and/or horizontal symmetry (such as U-31) plus a corner with only diagonal symmetry. Other, more complex borders may have multiple runner elements, variously with or without symmetry (No. F-850). Then there are a few without any symmetry at all (No. 1625 or No. G-7) but present a very pleasing appearance.

Some border elements have a definite “this side up” orientation. A fleur-de-lis, for example, has to be upright, it just wouldn’t look right sidewise or inverted (not that there are any rules in Art!). Such elements are properly composed with the same side up whether in top, bottom, or sides of a border box, and necessarily serve as their own non-diagonally-symmetrical corners. Floral borders are like that: flowers don’t seem quite right printed upside-down. This month’s new border is a stylized tulip. It would not normally be composed in sidewise or inverted orientation. However, the runner is accompanied by a matching diagonal corner, making it clear that the designer intended the runner to be rotated to all orientations when composing a box.

In September Skyline staged a 3-day Basic Letterpress Printing class (“Letterpress Boot Camp”) for three students: one from Washington state, one from the Phoenix area, and a local resident. I don’t do this class much anymore, but they forced me.

On a celebratory note: after many years of searching, we lucked into a most fortuitous acquisition of matrices for the type face Zephyr. This late (1964) release by Ludlow is quite rare. Skyline has a caster configured specifically for casting foundry type from Ludlow matrices; this requires a special mold (also rare), mat holder, and related parts. It went right into the casting queue, and you may expect to see 24 point Zephyr offered in the near future.

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