Ideal Projects: Wedding Invitations, Business Cards, Bookplates, Birth Announcements, Certificates, Broadsides, Personal Stationery
Marsolais Press & Lettercarving is devoted to keeping the word “letter” in letterpress and the expansion of our type collection is an ongoing and often thrilling process.
Johannes Gutenberg is credited with the invention of the printing press in the 1440s and for most people this claim is true enough. But his most significant achievement was the discovery of the alloy by which type metal is made. A combination of lead, tin and antimony, type metal was the vastly more valuable consolation prize for Renaissance alchemists like Gutenberg hoping to turn molten lead into gold.
The craft of typecasting remained virtually unchanged for 300 years until the advent of the Industrial Revolution, which ushered in the sort of mechanical ingenuity that, at the end of the 19th century, made the Monotype and Linotype machines possible. A few of these machines are still in operation and they are largely responsible for producing the types used by traditional letterpress printers working today. Harder, more durable types were made by foundries in the US and Europe and though a handful of foundries continue to serve a grateful niche industry, most of this type is acquired through shop closings or elsewhere on the open market.
A type list is available upon request, but some highlights include:
Monotype: Bembo, Fournier, Centaur, Van Dijck
Foundry: Palatino, Lutetia, Jessenschrift, Weiss
Display: Saphir, Solemnis, Neuland Inline, Sistina
Presses: 12” x 18” Chandler & Price New Style
14” x 22” Colt's Armory Half-Super Royal
Vandercook Universal III