Private Typecasters, Preserving the Craft of Hot-Metal Type Into the Twenty-First Century.
HOPKINS, Richard L., editor.
Newtown, PA: Bird & Bull Press, 2008,
First Edition, Limited to 150 numbered copies. quarto, quarter morocco with Japanese cloth sides, leather spine label, in matching clamshell case. 194 pp. Bird & Bull Press, Item #25831
From the prospectus: "The private press has been with us in one form or another for 200 years or more. The equipment for a small private press was inexpensive, required little space and almost anyone could learn to do basic printing in a short time. Private typecasting is entirely different. A single machine weighs almost a ton and a lot of practice and experience is required in order to decently produce the most basic work. This once-costly equipment came into the hands of printing enthusiasts when hot-metal typesetting was forced into decline by the computer. The members of this hot-metal fraternity comprise a network of small shops using the machines and matrices which once supported the hot-metal letterpress era. They are, in effect, a group of small, working museums. The work of fifteen of these typecasters has been gathered into the pages of this book. Here you will see unknown, newly-created types, ancient types cast from 200-year-old matrices, proprietary types and a beautiful Civilité face designed by Hermann Zapf, which was never released to the commercial market. There are five fold-out pages, two of which open together to make a 32-inch spread. One of the fold-outs is a recreated page from the 36-line Gutenberg Bible with rubrication. It took six months to turn the printed images on the original page into a complete font of hand-fitted metal types. Printed on dampened handmade paper, this leaf required a week's work, and handling it is as close as most of us will get to experiencing the genuine page. A biographical sketch of each contributor precedes his alphabets and the specimen pages which show the alphabets in use. Produced over a 14-month period, the labor and expense lavished on this work exceeds any previous book from Bird & Bull Press. The Private Typecasters, a 194-page small folio printed on Zerkall mould-made paper, is beautifully bound in quarter morocco with Japanese cloth sides and leather spine label. The same cloth and spine label are used on the clamshell case which houses the book." Barely visible scuff to front cover of clamsell case, else an unblemished copy.