Robert L. Peters

20 September 2010

Type… a sizeable collection.

Winnipeg, Manitoba

I’ve spent the better part of the weekend (with invaluable help from Ev and Simon Statkewich—thanks!) transporting a ton or so of letterpress display type, along with a number of proof presses and assorted letterpress paraphernalia (that I’ve just purchased from colleague Susan McWatt FitzGerald) out to my place in the woods. (Sue, real type fiend, had acquired the entire contents of a letterpress showcard/poster shop from a retired printer some years ago, with full intentions of setting up a viable printing operation in her garage… and that’s where the materiel has languished until now. Her pending move to Newfoundland at the end of this month triggered her offer to sell).

Fonts range in size from around 48 point (mostly lead in sizes under one inch) to about 7 inches in wood, with lots of interstitial sizes including some very condensed faces. Of the dozens of dusty type cases and racks (featuring a wide variety of serif, sans serif, and vintage display faces) most need cleaning and sorting—much of the type was literally “out of sorts” in buckets, crates, boxes, and bags… so it appears that I’ll have plenty of winter-evening activity in the months ahead. Truth be said, I love letterpress typography, and I can hardly wait to sort this all out, clean it all up, and start those presses rolling—lots of poster and card ideas already percolating.

Images above: a sampling of the letterpress display type now in my posession; the proof presses range from about a small DIN A5 size to something like 2′ x 3′; not shown—assorted furniture, quoins, brayers, lots of leading, and hundreds of type-high printer’s cuts and etched illustrations (weighing hundreds of pounds). An online search for the patent number exhibited on the larger press brought up this PDF from 1933.

I’ll post better photos of complete alphabets once I have the chance to clean and sort the type. As I’m very keen to find out the specific names of the fonts I’ve just acquired (all without documentation), I’ll send anyone who can help me identify an actual font name and/or fabricator/origin a nice printers block (advert or editorial illustration) by post—I know there are more than a few typography aficionados who visit here from time to time.


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