News for July

Quads & Spacing! Spacing & Quads! WE WANT QUADS!! That’s what they were chanting—an unruly mob of letterpress printers outside the foundry last week. A few had torches or pitchforks. All this time we’ve been putting top priority on casting the antique revival faces, but it has become deuced lucid to us that type alone is not enough. Gotta have quads & spacing! Okay, okay, we get the message. Our newly operational fourth Thompson, set up for casting type from Ludlow matrices, can do that. Depth-of-drive on Ludlow mats is 0.153″, for a body height of 0.765″, which is just right for spacing. With a blank mat in the machine it can turn out spacing in any size, any width. That being the case we are pleased to announce our newest product: Assorted Quads & Spacing in 24 point. More sizes to follow, of course.

Also new this month is Fifteenth Century. If it looks irregular, that’s because it was designed to have the appearance of the earliest roman printing types. This face was brought out in 1896 by Barnhart Bros. & Spindler. It is still shown in their 1925 last catalog, but renamed Caslon Antique (which they had no business doing, since it was created ex nihilo and has no relation whatever to Caslon). Production was continued by ATF after they subsumed BB&S. Questions of authenticity aside, it really is quite a useful face. Some years ago I used it in printing a chapbook of colonial-era epitaphs found in a New England cemetery, and it was perfect. We are offering it in two editions: a full font in 24 point, and a title font (caps, points and figures) of the same 24pt size, but cast on 18 point body for economy and closer fit.

Recast and back in stock: Egmont Decorative Initials, Border No. F-1202, Border No. 1329-18pt; the lovely 36pt Narciss, and Collection No. 49, one of our two sets of Decorative Dashes.

We are pleased to present for sale Vandercook Model 4 serial no. 16034. This cylinder press was rescued from a remote California ghost town (therein lies a tale) and has undergone a full nut-from-bolt restoration with no effort spared. For details and a photo gallery see

Speaking of quads: in the course of composing and printing type labels and specimen cards in the Skyline pressroom, we occasionally encounter quads cast by Western Type Foundry. This was a Chicago type house that operated from 1901 to 1919. Cast into the top of the quads is their trademark, WTF. Yes, this privately elicits a smirk—especially if the lockup is giving trouble! If you don’t know the present-day meaning of that initialism, ask a teen (though they might be embarrassed to actually tell you).

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