This handsome guy is a real lover-boy. The first time I met him, he flopped over, stretched his paws into an extra-long, all-over-me-is-good, pet-me-now-pose, and purred with his mouth open while I rubbed his belly. It was love at first sight (for me). Now, the portrait of him (above) hangs in his house, where he and his siblings can admire it any time. :)
I think most of the regular visitors of this blog know that I have an Etsy shop, where I list & sell some of my printmaking, and a few framed watercolors during segments of the season when I'm making instead of showing in exhibits or art festivals. I also really enjoy the community of Etsy, and the online collective of creative souls posting and writing and selling on that site. This week, an essay written by Linzee McCray caught my attention; she profiles Tim Fay, a print man in the midwest who singlehandedly harvests content, assembles, prints & publishes an annual 160 page almanac from his printshop-home. If you're curious, you can read the article - Making a Life in Print here. And if you're even more curious, rent the film Linotype on iTunes, where Tim and his shop are one of the featured printmaker profiles in this feature length documentary about the origins and history of Linotype.
The linotype machine is a "line casting" machine used in printing. Along with letterpress printing, linotype was the industry standard for newspapers, magazines and posters from the late 19th century to the 1960s and 70s, when it was largely replaced by offset lithography printing and computer typesetting. The name of the machine comes from the fact that it produces an entire line of metal type at once, hence a line-o'-type, a significant improvement over the previous industry standard, i.e., manual, letter-by-letter typesetting using a composing stick and drawers of letters.
The linotype machine operator enters text on a 90-character keyboard. The machine assembles matrices, which are molds for the letter forms, in a line. The assembled line is then cast as a single piece, called a slug, of type metal in a process known as "hot metal" typesetting. The matrices are then returned to the type magazine from which they came, to be reused later. This allows much faster typesetting and composition than original hand composition in which operators place down one pre-cast metal letter, punctuation mark or space at a time.
The machine revolutionized typesetting and with it especially newspaper publishing, making it possible for a relatively small number of operators to set type for many pages on a daily basis. Before Mergenthaler's invention of the linotype in 1884, no newspaper in the world had more than eight pages.