Saturday, 23 February 2013

The studio is getting more and more equipped...

We kind of knew what we were in for when we decided to set up an old fashioned letterpress studio, but it has been certainly proving an interesting exercise.  So, we thought we would update how we have been going with the setting up.  The big news was the arrival of another flywheel in the building during the last couple of weeks...

This is our antique guillotine and what an amazing piece of equipment.   Being cast iron it does weigh literally nearly a tonne.  The cast iron bears the name of the makers Alfred Morfitt, Engineer Nottingham.  Researching the maker we came across the following advertisement for a similar guillotine dating from 1890, so we are guessing ours is around the same date, although ours seems a more substantial model, definitely not "ordinary":

image from here
Our guillotine is so sharp and precise, cutting paper is proving quite fun with it.  We were thinking of taking the guillotine back to black but it does have character being mustard yellow.

We have also found this printers cabinet, with the stand above for placing the printers trays, so handy for when we are sorting out the type.  We have been admiring the stylish metal and timber combination, and being quite partial to Indian timbers and style, were pleased to discover the original makers label of Gujarati Type Foundry, Bombay.  It would be interesting to know how this ended up in Australia... 

But on our main wish list has to be the type itself now.  We are thinking that we will never have enough! Our recent find of the Bernhard Fashion typeface is certainly a favourite at the moment, how stylish for the period it was designed being 1929...  

We have, however, been lucky to have come across the M & H Type Foundry, one of a increasing rare number of foundries still making lead type.  We needed "@" symbols for printing email addresses and we found that these were being cast at the foundry.  Not the original use of the @ for sure! But we recently we also ordered some other typefaces from the foundry and they arrived this week.  It was very exciting when the packets arrived, it was almost like stepping back quite a few decades with the packaging and imagining print shops of old being able to order in exactly what they wanted! 

 until next time, 

the flywheel team


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