News for December

Last month we jumped in the Typographic Time Machine and it took us all the way back to 1874 and the famed Boston Type Foundry, where a new face was just being prepared for release. Our quick-thinking casterman Jared cleverly distracted the BTF machine operator with Cuban cigars and a shot from his hip flask, and while they were busy talking shop I discreetly pocketed the matrices. We made a clean getaway back to the Chapel of the Blessed Eutectic and wasted no time in casting Gothic Double Shade.

This is one of the few 19th century faces that American Type Founders revived (1933); they called it Marble Heart. [Presumably new matrices were cut when the old Boston set was not to be found!] By the way, in the end we got our recompense—the type cast up so flashy that finishing operations took far more time than the actual production.

Also new this month: Border No. F-725, a delicate single-element lightline floral design.

Recast and back in stock are Cloister Old Style 18pt and its Lowercase Supplement, Rustic 36pt, Border No. 367, Collection No. 6 (Typographic Accessories) and Collection No. 60, the Baumann Quad Ornaments.

Came the fateful call (my favorite kind) from a neighboring state— “We have all this old printing type and want to clear out the building, do you have any interest?” Heck ya! In a two-day solo mission I hauled back six cabinets of type and a galley rack. Unfortunately every last case had been vandalized by adhesive or felt-pen labeling of all the boxes with their respective characters; it will require many long hours of tedious labor to undo that atrocity. This brings the amount of used type now stashed in our offsite warehouse, waiting to be sorted out and cleaned up for resale, from three lifetimes’ worth to four.

Nonstop November also saw us stage another Letterpress Boot Camp. This free 3-day course was given for a young professional couple new to town—Chase & Sandy, who already have a little experience in printing and will soon become known in the letterpress community, I predict.

Despite robust demand for type, there seems to be very little interest in the typefounding craft in generations younger than mine. We have a challenging time recruiting employees. I am deeply concerned whether Skyline will continue when the time comes for me to step out. This is exemplified by a sad but amusing story once told by Rich Hopkins, the godfather of private typefounding: “Years ago when my daughter was young, we were standing in my basement shop one day looking it all over. ‘Just think, honey,’ I said to her, ‘some day all this will be yours.’ Without missing a beat, she replied, ‘Thanks a lot, Dad. That’s like telling me I’ll be inheriting a skunk farm!’ “

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