I went on a bit of a U.K road trip last weekend buying new stock and managed to get a few van loads of stuff during my travels.
First stop was Boston where I managed to pick up 66 type cases full of good quality type and a few other bits and pieces, enough to fill a van anyway. The following day it was on to Liverpool to visit a chap whose dad used to run a printers from his house. I originally went to collect some empty type cases but had told there might be a few other bit’s tucked away.
The house was in a pretty poor state of repair and the majority of items had been cleared but I had free range to have a root around. The attic was still packed full of boxes with items untouched for years and if it wasn’t for a tight schedule I could have spent hours looking at all the fabulous bits and bobs that had long been forgotten, one thing that did catch my eye tucked away in the corner was a full fount of 3” Playbill style wood type and a couple of cases of founders type that had somehow managed to avoid the scrap man.
We then went out to the shed which was pretty large but sadly bordering on derelict. The shed was packed full of antique printing cabinets, 3 Arab platens and a Heidelberg platen. It was like a time capsule dedicated to Letterpress. Unfortunately some time ago the roof had partially caved in and the Arab’s were the main victims, barley visible under all the dust and wood, begging to be rescued but destined for a life of rust.
The cabinets were beautiful, stunning in fact, but on closer inspection they were rotten to the touch, it had become a paradise for woodworm, the moisture and the temperature meaning nothing had been spared. All the type had been scrapped long ago but having a good search I found a drawer that that had been forgotten and contained a stunning set of fancy 54pt initials produced by the Keystone foundry in Philadelphia. There were a couple of old John Haddon furniture cabinets I managed to salvage and then it was time to load up the van and head to Manchester to pick up another 20 case cabinet and back over the Pennines to York to fill up yet another of my Dads sheds.