History of Lettering Thoughts on lettering

The end of hot metal on the New York Times

I’ve just come across this wonderful and evocative film about the last night of hot metal typesetting at the New York Times, July 1978. Watching brought back many memories of when I was a sub-editor at the Financial Times, London, in the late 1980s. Hot metal was still very much in use [a decade later] and when it ceased I purchased equipment to set up my own private printing press, The Beeches Press. What is also interesting is that some 40 years later newspapers are still being printed and distributed in a physical format. For how much longer?

End of Hot Metal
At the New York Times newspaper
Elements of Lettering History of Lettering Newspapers Thoughts on lettering

The last US newspaper printed letterpress

A good friend in the UK [hence the photo of the former Express building in London’s former Fleet Street] suggested this link to a newspaper that is still printed letterpress in the US.

Do have a look:

And note that Australia still has its own letterpress newspaper. See my blog here and search for the Don Dorrigo Gazette.


Paul Piech: ‘expressing pity with a knife’

paul piech

The artist as political/poetical campaigner. (When I typed political it came out wrong and predictive software suggested poetical, which I think suitable in this case.) Piech was born in the US and died in Wales, UK (1920-1996). The illustrations here are taken from Penrose of 1976 and show the man’s creativity in linocut, with free lettering. His press, his private press, was called the Taurus Press. The poster on Nixon is a masterpiece – the man holds a microphone as if a sceptre, the ’emperor’ laid bare from his wire-tapping (Watergate). Piech worked quickly, hence the spelling mistake (last line), yet there is energy here, and we will do well to remember that.

paul piech 3

paul piech 2


Brand design printing

When Linotype ruled the world

They were like Apple and Microsoft, two giants of the printing industry slugging it out. I refer, of course, to Monotype and Linotype. How the mighty are fallen. These illustrations are from 1957 when Linotype really did rule the world – offices and manufacturing in all parts, some expected, some least expected. Take note both Apple and Microsoft – you may rule now but in half a century, who knows.

lettering typography

Something fragrant for the weekend: Linotype flowers

In a previous post [see here] I illustrated printer’s flowers. These are delightful individual slugs of type that can skilfully be assembled into magnificent borders. This illustration is from Newdigate’s Book Production Notes, which I have also previously blogged about.