Lettersmith Type Foundry
est. November 2008. Windsor, Colorado

Serving Oak Root Press and Acorn Anchor Book Arts Studio
Custom text-line, display fonts, and page composition design

My original plan was to acquire a Ludlow Typograph, but, alas, I was too late to save it.
However, with my discovery of and preference for Monotype composition casting,
the defunct Ludlow Type Foundry concept has morphed into the Lettersmith Type Foundry.

My understanding of the superior quality of type casting possible with a monotype derived from visiting Patrick Goossens in Belgium, and then The Arion Press and M & H Type Foundry in San Francisco. Several factors make monotype a logical choice, better than Ludlow or Linotype/Intertype, for my traditional lettepress printing operation under the banner of Oak Root Press. First, monotype uses a harder casting lead for a finer print quality and more durable type. Second, monotype casting allows for corrections on a character basis. Third, a monotype caster can ultimately be driven by a computer, should I decide to pursue that. Fourth, a typical Lanston-style monocaster is smaller and lighter (about 1400 lbs) than a linotype machine (about 4800 lbs). Fifth, I have a lead on a well-maintained Lanston monotype composition caster with keyboard. Here's a picture of the actual keyboard:

...and a picture of the actual monotype caster:

It is viewed here from the left side of the machine; the operator would be standing in front of it on the right. The experts tell me it appears to be an early model composition caster with a display attachment. This means I can cast display type up to 36 point as well as - by using the keyboard - composed pages of type. The gear box is for slowing down the casting speed to cast large size fonts. I've read that a Lanston-style monotype like this one, with a 4-digit serial number less than 4770, predates 1926. I don't yet know the serial number. As you can see ... it's green. It's likely that all the necessary key bars, molds, and stop bars are still nearby and will be included in the caster. Alas, the brass mats have been sold. Together, the set up will look something like this:

With this addition to Oak Root Press, I will have everything needed to design, compose, and print high-design limited edition books, following the traditional methodology of the letterpress art. Update. It turns out that the above machine was less than ideal because most of the stop bars and key banks and all of the brass molds were gone. Ah, the days when the Monotype casters were plentiful:

A Quicktime movie on monotype composition casting from
Wolfe Editions, Portland Main (it's the last selection at bottom of page)