Sunday, 30 November 2008
The Type Museum
This week I have been running the Monotype keyboard and caster at The Type Museum, one of the world’s largest collections of material relating to the design and manufacture of type.
It’s been a while since I cast type in a studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and back behind the familiar pistons and wedges of the machine, all shuttling furiously backwards and forwards, I marveled at the complexity of the minds which designed the machine. It is a feat of engineering genius to forge the tiny yet precise metal characters from a bubbling pot of molten lead, tin and antimony.
I also had a chance to advise the designers behind the next Harry Potter movie, who are hoping to replicate a wizard's printing press. This offers possibilities for inventions worthy of William Heath Robinson which will spurt paper in uncontrollable reels and make deafening clanking sounds and emit mysterious clouds of smoke. In fact, not much different from what my caster was up to.