Saturday, November 30 is Hot Metal Day
When we say hot metal, we mean 625-degree molten lead being transformed into type. The way type was created for nearly 75 years. Not just one machine; two — both a Linotype and a Ludlow.
The Linotype typecasting machine was the typesetting machine for nearly 75 years, and is still used in parts of the world. This is how type for newspapers, books, magazines and just about anything printed was created before phototypesetting and computers. The Ludlow is quieter and not as fast but creates type up to 72 points (one inch) high. Its individual matrices are bigger and heavier than the Linotype’s. Hold one in your hand — you realize this is meant for seriously big characters. Yet it still has its peculiar hissing when the hot lead is injected into the mold, and a small thud as the newly cast mat slides into the injector.
Hot metal demonstrations will run from 11am to 2pm on Saturday, November 30th, in conjunction with the museum’s winter Type and Letterpress Sale.
Fowler Exhibit Extended to End of YearThe works of exceptional woodcut artist and printer Mark Fowler are on display through the end of the year.
Influenced by Japanese wood block methods and techniques, Fowler used special hand inking techniques to create individual prints of astounding vibrancy, color and details from his hand carved woods and wood engravings. The show chronologically presents 43 pieces of his works from the initial black and white wood blocks to colorful pieces based on nine blocks.
Master printer Carolyn Muskat will demonstrate color wood block printing from Fowler’s original “Day Lilies” blocks while Beverly Printer and bookbinder Ted Leigh and other museum printers will be printing Fowler’s “Snow Buntings” on the Museum’s vintage Vandercook Press. Finished prints will be on sale at a reduced price opening night only.
These wonderful pieces of art can also be seen on Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm throughout the summer.
The Museum of Printing is dedicated to preserving the history of the graphic arts, printing equipment and printing craftsmanship.
In addition to many special collections and small exhibits, the Museum contains hundreds of antique printing, typesetting and bindery machines, as well as a library of books and printing related documents. A knowledgeable tour guide takes visitors around.
The Museum sits on the spacious North Andover, Massachusetts town common with free parking, only a mile from Interstate Highway 495 (see Directions).
A non-profit organization, the Museum was incorporated in 1978 as The Friends of The Museum of Printing, Inc., to save printing equipment and library materials associated with arcane technologies. The history of printing has changed dramatically during the last 200 years, moving away from letterpress printing to photographic and electronic technologies. We tell the stories of these changes using one of the world’s largest collections of printing hardware (see Collection).
The ground floor of our 25,000 sq. ft. building contains two 90-foot galleries, a large lobby, a library and access to the library’s archival stacks (four floors). The Robert L. Richter Memorial Library is named after one of the two people who began the museum effort (see Library). The second floor contains a large meeting room, offices and additional future display space.
Gallery One contains a timeline history of the manufacturing of letters. The journey starts in the foundry era, which reaches back 500 years. A guide explains the transition from hand-setting individual sorts of foundry type to mechanized hot-metal typesetting and discusses the Linotype, Monotype and Ludlow linecasting machines. Along the tour route you’ll find a Monophoto and an Intertype Fotosetter, machines which attempted to use linecasting technology to transition to phototypesetting, only to fail in competition with the electronically-driven phototypesetters. Then you’ll come upon strike-on typesetters, machines designed to produce inexpensive type which could be married to the expanding offset printing market. You’ll move on to phototypesetters, where Massachusetts hi-tech companies played a dominant role. The last chapter of this type story is digital.
Contributions to the Museum are tax deductible (the Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization), and are always welcome.
We need halftones!
The Museum is looking to mount an exhibit on photographic reproduction and find we are embarrassingly low on a few things. We need your help. If you have a few of these to spare and can send them to us we can continue with exhibit planning.