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Monotype atelier at the Book Art Museum in ?-d?, Poland

Started by Keri Szafir, January 26, 2016, 12:55:19 PM

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Keri Szafir

I think you may be interested in this...
It's the only place in Poland which has working machines, literature, equipment (tools, matrices, moulds, wedges) and knowledgeable people to operate the Monotype machines.
There are a few other museums who have the machines (for example, "Muzeum Ziemi Pa?uckiej" in ?nin, which has a caster, keyboard and compressor, but can't run them) - but we actually use them.
We have a composition caster, two large composition machines from Switzerland (one working and the other partially stripped, but we'll restore it), and two super casters, one for casting leads and the other for type. There is also a keyboard - which we can't use; we don't have any keybar or justifying scale, and only recently did I get an S5 stopbar from John.
We have a lot when it comes to moulds (composition 6D, 8D, 10D, 12D, 14D, display 14D...72D, lead&rule 1...3 and 4...18 for super caster, lead&rule for type and rule casters), all machines and moulds are for French height.
We have a few typefaces in display matrices (Baskerville, Bodoni, Walbaum, Bell, TNR), and diecases for TNR (6D, 8D, 10D, 12D) and Gill Sans (also 6D, 8D, 10D, 12D) and an incomplete set of typical S5 wedges for the composition caster.

The museum itself is a private-owned printing atelier-  something like a fabrication laboratory, but more open, less commercial, with no admission fees etc. We rarely get visitors, and sometimes art students come here to learn letterpress printing and work on their own projects.
The museum's situation is precarious now - there's an ownership dispute about the building. We can't make any (much needed) major restoration work until it's clear that we're entitled to the building. It's been like this for years, and it'll be at least a year until we can do someting, because of the long vacatio legis for notarial acts...

The workshop was built by three people:
-Pawe? Tryzno, the owner, who did all the woodworking and worked on restoring the machines,
-John Cornelisse, who gave the ideas about what was needed and worked on restoring the machines, cleaning all the moulds etc.,
-the late Wojciech, who did electrical and plumbing work - I never met him though,

Since I mostly work here, I made a lot of improvements: did all the electronics/computer stuff (caster controller, local area network, remote control for the compressor, some electrical improvements, new lighting), reworked the plumbing a bit, installed a new compressed air supply.
The place also acts as a mechanical and electronics workshop. As for typecasting - we rarely do it, because the workshop VERY BADLY needs a ventilation system, and we can't afford one now... Working machines give off fumes from the burning mould oil, and some of the thermal decomposition products are probably carcinogenic. Until we make an exhaust system to drive these fumes away, commercial typecasting is not an option.

Link to the gallery:
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." --Arthur C. Clarke
"A thing of beauty is a joy for ever." --John Keats
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