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 or linotype and monotype composition. The modest typefoundry established in the late 1980s 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. In January of 2020 the composition caster was used to cast the foreword to Caterina Camastra's Amapolas, printed by Juan Pascoe.
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.
In March of 2020 a lifetime supply of 24 point Goudy Forum Titling was cast on the Thompson. It can be mesmerizing watching the type march along the receiving stick, and as a result there are a few extra 8A fonts available.