Back from the ATF conference

The American Typecasting Fellowship conference was held this year in and around Salem NH from August 13th to the 17th, and I think it would be safe to say that a good time was had by all attending.

The conference was hosted this year by Frank Romano, who has a long background in printing, starting in the declining days of hot metal, through phototypesetting, and into the modern era of digital printing. Frank had never even attended an ATF conference, so he was a bit lost as to how some of the organization should be done. This led to a bit of confusion setting up the swap meet, but on the plus side, he provided us with fantastic meals.

Thursday was spent at the Museum of Printing in North Andover MA (of which Frank is the president), where we had a series of presentations and plenty of opportunity to view the museum’s collection of letterpress and hot metal equipment. Stan Nelson was showing off his hand moulds, as well as demonstrating their use. In the evening we had a barbecue on their front lawn, with burgers, sausages, salad, beans, and excellent corn-on-the-cob.

Barbecue on the lawn at the Museum of Printing

Barbecue on the lawn at the Museum of Printing

On Friday, we had the swap meet and auction. Amongst the vendors there were Letterpress Things with a long table filled with goodies and Skyline Type’s sampling of new type and ornaments. During a lull at this venue, I passed around the mat I had tried to electroform, and peeled it from its rubber master for the big reveal.

A stitched panorama of the swap meet

A stitched panorama of the swap meet

Saturday was spent at Frank Romano’s private library of printing-related books and artifacts. As on Thursday, the day was a mix of presentations and perusal of the collection.

Xxxx showing some of his Cherokee type casting items at the Romano Library.

Ed Rayher discussing his Cherokee type casting project at the Romano Library.

More of the Romano Library, with Sky Shipley looking though an old specimen book

More of the Romano Library, with Sky Shipley looking though an old specimen book

On both the 13th and the 17th, John Kristenesen was hosting an open house at Firefly Press in Boston. There he has a Super Caster, Thompson, Composition Caster, and Linotype along with several presses and a heap of parts. Visitors from ATF were welcome to scrounge through some of the parts collection and matrix fonts for freebies.

At the conference I got some Monotype comp caster parts of interest to me, including a brand new Rule Guide Pin c39F1 at the swap meet, and at Firefly, some parts for the Lead & Rule attachment, particularly the Mould Blade Micrometer Wedge assembly (X51B), and the special pump body (Xu23H) required for the moulds used. I also found at Firefly four expanding quoins used to replace stacks of furniture in sparsely-filled chases and a part for the oddball clutch on my composition caster. More information on these goodies will follow once they have been cleaned up for their portraits.

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