Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tidying Type

Barry and I were on the road for a few days last week, and one port of call was the shed of an old printer who has hoarded lead type. It was a really great couple of hours poring over old trays of dusty, dirty type; rusty galley trays and re-conditioned composing sticks. Don't I sound like I know what I'm talking about now! Laugh.

It was really helpful to talk about the different things and items and I bought a few bits and pieces.

One of the weird pleasures on return was to fill my first trays in my set of type drawers.

I washed each and every piece of type, removing dust and grime and grease; dried it and placed it in the California job case as instructed.

There was such a remarkable sense of satisfaction in completing this first tray. You can see the mess left behind! It will be in for a wash and clean and then who knows what.

So, from this really dirty, messy tray I confirmed I had a pretty big set (not complete, but not bad) of Placard 48pt Bold and am so thrilled with how shiny and clean it looks in its new place of residence.

And I have punctuation...

I have another tray to go through (as yet un-titled) and then I pretty much have the type I now own in its rightful place; hopefully ready for use in the near future.

I made the unilateral decision to put a couple of very small, incomplete sets of type into drawers (that aren't configured in the California job case style) according to my own particular arrangement.  Upper and lower case in together; and simply running from A to Z.

I think (hope) this arrangement will work for me.

I got grew pleasure from using my two new 'Typeface recognition manuals" to ascertain just which typefaces these sets were.  I felt like a detective when I finally tracked Parisian Ronde down (noting that it's Q was slightly different to Typo Upright).

And after three attempts, confirming that my other typeface was in fact Falstaff and not Ultra Bodoni or Roman Extra, or ....

Up close and personal with Falstaff before placement in the tray.

And after - in my own peculiar storage approach.

It is clearly a highly addictive pursuit this letterpress world, and I am happily playing along!


  1. I can't believe what a great job you've done with the type cleaning/sorting/identifying..... I may have to get you to work your magic on my couple of drawers of grimy type....

    1. If i'm down your way again Ronnie - of course!

  2. I have one of those trays, it was so grubby was surprised to discover the metal under the gunge on the front edge, just cleaned it up a few months ago to hold the wishes for every occasion!

    1. Aren't they splendid Mo? So many lovely compartments - just perfect for wishes for all occasions!


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