Type Casters

(People, Not Machines)

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Those who actually cast type, by hand or machine, are even less well known that the makers of matrices. Without them there would have been no type at all. A book about type which doesn't discuss type casters is like a book about food which doesn't mention farmers. Here I'll cover those few who are known (when they were exclusively casters; certainly a number of Punch, Patrix, and Matrix Makers were also competent at hand or machine casting).

In the period when metal type was a mainstream industrial technology the roles of owner and manager, while they may at times have been filled by people with technical competence, were distinct from the actual making of type. I've tended to file these kinds of people with Engineers, Works Managers, and Owners. However, in our own age after the demise of mainstream hot metal type there are a number of smaller type foundries owned and managed by their chief casterman. I've tended to file these people here, since the role of casterman is more important than the role of type foundry owner. (Type may be cast without a foundry owner, but not without a type caster.)

There were several other trades, some skilled and some unskilled, involved with the dressing, finishing, inspecting, and fonting of type. These are important roles in any typefoundry, yet I despair of learning anything at all about the people involved in them.

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Michael Curry

At the Mangaroa Foundry of the Printing Museum of New Zealand .

Cast 60 pt MoT Serif in 2016.

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John Frederick Eickhoff

Proprietor and chief casterman of the Acorntype type foundry. Died 2008-10-13. An obituary written by Paul W. Nash appeared in Printing History News, No. 22 (Spring 2008); this is online at http://printinghistoricalsociety.org.uk/NEWS22a.pdf

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Troy Groves

Journeyman casterman at Skyline Type Foundry, 2015 - present.

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Brian Hubbard

Proprietor and chief casterman of the Hubbard Type Foundry. Died 2008-12-26. An obituary written by Tony Smith appeared in Printing History News, No. 23 (Summer 2008); this is online at http://printinghistoricalsociety.org.uk/NEWS23a.pdf

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Phil Palmer

The last casterman at Barco / F&S, and thus the last person to cast type commercially in Chicago.

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Schuyler R. Shipley

Proprietor and chief casterman of Skyline Type Foundry, the leading authority on the Thompson Type Caster today, and my mentor in typefounding.

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For Los Angeles Type Fouders

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List of type casters covered elsewhere: