Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Working with Hot Metal Typesetting
and Letterpress Mechanics

Student Cody Waters sets type at the Intertype keyboard while volunteer Henry Wehle offers guidance.

Cody receives Intertype casting advice from Henry Wehle and Paul Moxon.

During the second week, students took their typesetting techniques from handset foundry type in composing sticks—a process that dates from the fifteenth century—to the 1920s, setting type on the Ludlow Typograph and the Intertype linecaster. Both of our machines were made in the 1920s, and form a nice complement to our 1920s Miehle V-36 vertical cylinder press.

Dave and Beth Seat of Hot Metal Services in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, who spend about 250 days each year on the road to bring their repair and maintenance expertise to letterpress shops throughout the country, had arranged to visit the Tampa Book Arts Studio in time for the last day of class. After a week of heavy use, the Ludlow was especially in need of their attention, and they soon had it tuned-up and casting beautifully. They also worked magic with the Miehle V-36, which had been under rehab in the studio but had not yet been running. By the time he finished, Dave had stacks of paper smoothly feeding through the press!

Visiting letterpress expert Dave Seat, of Hot Metal Services, tuned up equipment from the 1920s. Here Dave (left) works with Carl Mario Nudi and Richard Mathews to adjust the automatic feeding mechanism on the Miehle V-36.


Jan Briggs said...

Recently, someone discovered that the job their grandmother had was "Emprinting." Can you tell me exactly what this person did? Were they involved with making sure of measurments? Thanks.

Tampa Review & Tampa Press said...

Hi, Jan,

What this person may have done is “imprinting.” Imprinting, also known as hot stamping or foil stamping, is done with an imprinting machine. A line or two of metal type, or an image—the same type and relief blocks used for letterpress printing—are set up and locked into the machine, heated, and are printed, not with ink, but with a layer of foil, which is imprinted onto a surface. In bookmaking, this is often done on spines or covers, usually of book cloth or leather. In commercial printing this technique has been used for numerous varying projects on paper or heavy card stock, and is also used on leather and vinyl goods, such as wrapped hard cases, bags or purses, wallets, etc.

Joshua Steward
Studio Associate
Tampa Book Arts Studio