Photos (l-r, clockwise): The foundry at M&H Type, Lewis Mitchell and Brian Bagdonas looking at M&H specimen books; presentations in the gallery at M&H Type; casting room at Patrick Reagh Printers; casting spec at Patrick Reagh Printers; Brian Ferrett, Bill Welliver and Mark Sarigianis at Prototype Press.
The American Typecasting Fellowship held its 40th anniversary conference at M&H Type in San Francisco from August 23-26th, 2018. M&H is the oldest working typecasting business in the United States, currently employing two journeymen casters and one apprentice. They service the fine press book work of Arion Press as well as casting type to order for customers. We were lucky enough to catch a short visit from Lewis Mitchell, who came by to donate some materials to the conference auction and say hello. He was employed at M&H for more than 60 years but retired about 4 years ago.
As always, the ATF Conference included technical sessions, with hands-on work opportunities. I signed up to get an overview of the Monotype Composition casters which they have running with the Welliver interface, since we have just acquired an interface for the C.C. Stern Type Foundry. The programming seems to make sense so long as one can operate the caster! That will be a good winter project.
Tech sessions were followed by a field trip to the Letterform Archive and then a reception at The Box. Both institutions are worth spending some time at, and both have collected more items than one can browse easily. It’s best to rely on the expertise of their archivists and curators, and asking for items relating to one’s own area of interest. A brief stop at the Book Club of California was also inspirational — the special collections library is now well catalogued and searchable online, so with more time one could embark on some great research within the stacks.
A full day of presentations at M&H included a great mix of reports on hands-on projects, machine restoration, research visits around the world, apprentice reports, and a particularly challenging thesis on the Pantograph presented by Dr. Documento. A small group then gathered at Prototype Press in West Oakland to turn over the casters and generally enjoy being in Mark’s book printing studio. On Sunday, Pat Reagh hosted the whole group up in Sebastapol at his print shop. We’ve visited Pat before, but it still awes me to see the body of typographically rich work he has produced over the years.
So, after a full four days, we returned home with our bundle of keepsakes and plenty to consider.