My old man is a scrap man. Well, not quite, but he buys and sells special metals for recycling. This means that he spends a lot of times visiting scrapyards around the country. I’ve armed him with a printing cheat sheet and he has found some absolute corkers for me waiting to be scrapped down. From my first set of lead type to a pristine Adana 8×5 in the middle of a pile of junk, Dad has done well. He’s bested himself this time though.
On a visit just before Christmas in Yeovil, he called me up and asked if I knew what a ‘Ludlow’ was. He’d found a cabinet that looked like letterpress cases but slanted drawers next to a machine that looked like it made type. I’d shown him a Monotype Caster before at Whittington Press but I was very impressed with him recognising it. The caster and seven cabinets were just sitting there waiting to be scrapped. What a save – my Dad had discovered a Ludlow Typograph.
[blockquote]The caster and seven cabinets were just sitting there waiting to be scrapped…[/blockquote]
Now, I realise I’m out of my depth with a machine like this – I will need to do a lot of learning to use it safely and maintain it properly, but the idea of using a type caster excites me just as much as printing does. I’m very lucky that the letterpress community is so open to helping one another and I’m hoping to visit The Elrod Press who have a Ludlow to start my education. There’s something about molten metal that both fascinates and frightens me. The caster came with a load of Mats, about 100 sets and all the tools I need (apparently). I even managed to salvage several large bars of lead for the machine.
I went over yesterday to pick up the cabinets, and the caster was collected last week. I met with Peter, the old owner of the Ludlow who used to make rubber stamps with slugs from the Ludlow. He’s moving away from the area and hadn’t used it for 10 years, hence the disposal. He’ apparently advertised it in a local newspaper, found no takers and then got in touch with the scrap yard.
It’s going to take me a while to get the Ludlow a space so that I can clean it, and get it working again, so watch this space!