The Tragic Saga of James W. Paige's Marvelous Typesetting Machine by Richard Hopkins

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Booklet sized 13 x 8 inches, die cut cover plus 20 inside pages. Done in 2014 with all type being composed in 16 pt. Deepdene. I consider this one of my best examples of what a private press can do with typecasting equipment and a Vandercook press. All content of the booklet was done by letterpress excepting the centerfold illustration, which was offset printed to minimize costs.

Artist Bio

Richard L. Hopkins, born Nov. 20, 1939, Charleston, West Virginia. Resides at 169 Oak Grove Road, Terra Alta, West Virginia 26764. He got his first press when he was 14 years old and only a few months later Rich Hopkins came up against not having enough type. That's when he did his first experiments in casting type. Using a ladle and the open flame of the family's gas water heater, he melted old type and tried to form new letters using as his matrix old papier maché stereotype mats which came to him as packaging around the newspapers he delivered for the local daily newspaper. He learned of the Monotype machine via his high school printing textbooks. In the mid 1960s he became aware that typefounding was beginning to disappear and that if he was to have a continuing supply of type for his writing and printing interests, he'd better become a typefounder. He acquired his first Monotype in 1970 and has steadily added to his collection since that time. He now has seven operational casters in his basement, along with over 3,000 fonts of matrices, some dating back to the 1830s. In 1978 he called a meeting of fellow typecasting enthusiasts and that meeting evolved into the American Typecasting Fellowship. Rich has written and published the ATF Newsletter since that time. Realizing the ikons of typefounding were quickly fading away, he opened his shop to students beginning in 1993 and, with the help of Paul Duensing, Roy Rice, Pat Taylor, Mike Anderson, Jim Walczak and Dan Jones, has now trained over 35 newcomers to the craft. Rich formerly was a professor at the School of Journalism at West Virginia University. From that he ventured to become a commercial printer and has operated a state-of-the-art offset printing plant for over 40 years. Using his journalism background, he writes extensively about type and letterpress printing history, and nearly always uses his Monotype equipment and Heidelberg windmill press to publish this ephemera. He has authored two books which stand out as major references for the industry: Origin of the American Point System for Printers' Type Measurement, and Tolbert Lanston and the Monotype: The Origin of Digital Typesetting. "The entire Monotype System is marvelous. A stunning achievement considering it was nearly ready for the market before the end of the 19th century. I still am entranced watching a Composition Caster operate and want to do all in my power to assure that this marvelous technology remains alive for generations to come," he says. Amazingly, his father said he never regretted giving Rich the $1.50 to buy his first ladle (for handling molten metal) back in 1954. Though he now has several, Rich still prefers the first ladle he received as a kid.