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Letterpress Type: A Letterpress Library

A Letterpress Library

I think it was about 1991 that I became actively interested in type. Interested to the extent that I began to draw letters for pleasure with the thought in mind that those letters could be type. At this point, it was not letterpress that caught my attention, but letters themselves. It took a couple of years of art school and reading for me to amble my way back through the history of the printed word far enough to discover letterpress. But the physical nature of it grabbed me and wouldn't let go.

Since then, I have collected old rubber stamps, scraps of metal and wood type, a showcard press, a font of 24 point Garamont Old Style, a Kelsey Excelsior 5 x 8 press, more type, two small letterpress shops, more type, type matrices, a Monotype composition caster, a pantographic engraver, another Monotype, more matrices, two more Monotype machines, and so on. All along the way were numerous books and printed matter, both new and old.

Here I document some of the letterpress printed items, books about letterpress printing, and other ephemera that I have been fortunate to acquire.

The Elements of Typographic Style

By Robert Bringhurst. It is difficult to say how important this book is for me. I could pick it up once every day and always find a new, succinct but lyrical, reminder that there is something in my typography that could be improved. Beautiful.

Find The Elements of Typographic Style

American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century

Mac McGrew's 1993 2nd, revised edition is an important book for any printer, collector, student or aficionado of letterpress type. Equally valuable as a typeface reference and an insightful history of the typemaking industry in America.

Find American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century

Hundert Kennzeichen

LS cross snake logo by Otto Scheiner

Mit Typographicshem Material Nach Eigenen und Shuler-Entwerfen Zusammengesetzt von Otto Scheiner

I tried to translate the title, and what I came up with is One Hundred Logos: interpreted from the originals and composed in typographic material (ornaments) by Otto Scheiner. That's rough, but it gives you an idea of the subject of this book, which was a surprise birthday gift from Casey many years ago. The book is undated and lacks a colophon, however the first 11 or so pages appear to be an introduction to the technique of building-up (Zusammengestzt) the logos with simple geometric shapes cast in traditional printers type. This introductory section includes a two page spread of examples illustrating the process of building up a logo. The following 200 pages show the 100 examples, one on each right facing page. Some are sublime, others fairly absurd, many are two-color--there are at least 4 spot colors used throughout the book. The collection as a whole is a treasure of modernism, and an unusual piece of letterpress printing history.M

—Ian Schaefer

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