Hot Metal Typography

Most of our letterpress printing today is from photopolymer plates, but until around 1990 our work was done with handset foundry type and linotype or monotype composition. That small typefoundry still sees service in the occasional production of books and pamphlets utilizing classic British Monotype matrices, including Bembo, Bell, Blado, Erhardt, Perpetua and Poliphilus, among others. The addition of an ingenious computer interface invented by Bill Welliver allows for the direct control of the composition caster, emulating the paper tapes punched by the monotype keyboard. This marvel has made it possible to undertake more ambitious projects, casting the Poliphilus type for an edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight printed by Juan Pascoe at his Taller Martín Pescador in Tacámbaro, Mexico. In 2015 the Stanze of Pietro Bembo were cast and printed for publisher Michele Miracolo in Italian and English using a variety of ligatures for Blado Series 119  rarely seen. 

The Thompson machines for making display type have recently enjoyed renewed activity, casting a substantial quantity of Andromaque, Victor Hammer's last typeface, and also a series of 16th century Mexican printer's ornaments. Currently (January 2020) on the composition caster is “Las amapolas de Caterina Camastra”, an essay by Alexis Díaz-Pimienta to be printed by Juan Pascoe.

1/9