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We're picking up steam  - come along for the ride


We're picking up steam - come along for the ride


Woohoo we’re official! This week we received final confirmation from IRS that the Letterpress Depot is a non profit –a 501(c)(3).  We’ve been “pending” since November. That means all donations to us are now officially tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law.  Thanks to Executive Director Tom Parson for tackling the application, and our wonderful active board for helping see it all through: President Lonnie Smith; Vice-President Jason Wedekind; board members David Ashley, Peter Bergman, Jim Bernath, Karen Jones, and Wilson Thomas, and me, the secretary and blogger.

But we could use some extra hands and heads.  We are looking for someone familiar with accounting (CPA?) who could volunteer some time.  And an affordable licensed contractor who would like to work on a project such as the Depot.  Not to mention some help on lawn maintenance as needed (Lonnie and wife Sandy, Wilson, Tom and I have all been down with the grass and the weeds—thanks!)

In other news, the traveling workshop has started (for some pix from that, click on Workshops at the top of the page).  And Tom and Patti just came back from the ATF Conference in Salem, New Hampshire. No, that’s not an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms reunion but rather the American Typecasting Fellowship (a nod to the American Type Founders of past renown).  It’s a biannual gathering of all those interested in type- and line-casting and it was just a fascinating bunch to be with.  Frank Romano, director of the Museum of Printing in North Andover, Massachusetts was the generous host, and ATF founder and guiding spirit Rich Hopkins regaled the crowd with tales of how he acquired all his casters. There was  one particularly gruesome image of old monotype casters being forklifted into dumpsters when Rich couldn’t fit all 12 being discarded into his pickup—or his shop.  Frank and Rich also had a lively duel on monotype versus linotype: their expertise also clear in their  gorgeous books – Rich’s Tolbert Lanston and the Monotype ( and Frank’s History of the Linotype Company  ( - two must-haves for anyone interested in printing and type history. These will be in our depot library collection!

Also speaking at the conference - Frank Brannon of Speakeasy Press who has been working with Ed Rayher of Swamp Press to cast type of the Cherokee language.  Frank came across a syllabary of the language that Sequoyah created in 1821 and it became his life’s passion to get it cast and spread the knowledge. Ed took up the challenge. Now it is being used in North Carolina to pass on the language as well as the art of printing.

Two apprentices from M&H Type —Mark Sagianis and Chris Godek – told of their adventures being thrown into the world of casting.  The apprentices there have to commit to 4 years at minimum wage, and then they are expected to stay on afterwards.  Their enthusiasm and sheer joy about their work was infectious. 

Greg Walters of Piqua, Ohio described the challenges of casting 120 point type Cloister Initials on a huge pivotal caster obtained at the American Type Founders auction in 1993; Stan Nelson(formerly with the Smithsonian) described and demonstrated his molds for hand-casting type; Bill Welliver gave a full update on his system for computer interface with the Monotype composition caster - there were talks on just about every type of casting equipment, a swap meet and auction, endless delicious food (including one unforgettable 5 course Italian dinner) and connections with wonderful typenuts all around the world. 

Below: Gary Gregory who prints as Ben at the Old North Church; George Hamilton who flew in from Austria; Bill Welliver with slides of his work; Stan Nelson and Rich Hopkins; Tom, Gary, and Stan; and  Sky Shipley and some of the fonts he has cast at Skyline Type Foundry.