Thanks to Art Center College of Design’s alumi DOT Launch Entrepreneur program, we enjoyed (tremendously, I might say) a lovely evening with a great tour of the historic printing and bookmaking facilities and typefoundry of M & H Type in ARION PRESS in The Presidio, San Francisco late last month.
Arion Press, one of the last of its kind in the world with some of its historic machinery dating back to the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition.
We got to see how type is cast from hot metal in the foundry, how pages were made up and printed by letterpress, and learn how a book is bound by hand, from sewing to backing to casing.
Excellent stuff and we were so excited! Not to mention a delicate and oh-so-tasty catering by Betty Zlatchin of Potrero Hill. These finger foods tasted as awesome as they looked!
Oh we were given some souvenir lead type as well… ‘T’ is for Tofufu! : )
Here’s what my brother Vin’s gotta say:
During my shutter-bug tour at Arion Press, whenever I wasn’t being distracted by the delectable & exquisitely prepared hors d’œuvres (provided by Betty Zlatchin Catering–which had excellent service, by the way), I was busy being fascinated by the industrial aesthetics of the traditional printing press facility.
The multitudes of machines of wrought iron & steel, with their seemingly brass handles and gazillion movable components, the metallic beds of laid out type, the numerous drawers filled with countless miniscule blocks of type of vast assortments of fonts and sizes, many hardly bigger than a section of one’s pinky; these were machines of an era of print that has all but disappeared under the tide today’s digital technology.
Touring the printing press facility had the feel of walking through a museum, yet more raw. To think that during weekday work hours, people still handled many of those machines to create hand-crafted books! The icing on the cake was that we were allowed to pick for ourselves, from a small assorted pool, a souvenir type block of our liking, of which I naturally picked “V”…though I retrospect I ought also have sought out a letter “P”… by vin – oC | omegaCarotene.posterous.com