…by Anura Guruge
Click this and the next picture to see them FULL SIZE.
Yes, I am sucker for anything and everything to do with printing and publishing; another trait instilled in me at a young age by my father. I used to go with my father to various printing presses in Ceylon, in the late 1950s and early 1960s — either to check the progress of the production of one of my father’s many books, to deliver proofs, talk to a publisher or newspaper editor. They used hot lead, i.e., actually creating lead slugs of fonts, from molten lead. I can still remember the smell, see the smoke. Yes, I would get to set a line of lead. So today, when I glibly change fonts and play around with font effects (which I do more than most), I still think back at the type setters, seated at their tight desks composing type from trays and the craftsmen making new slugs for them.
So it was a personal delight for me to see ‘Tom Johnson’, of Newmarket, NH, parleying his many traditional printing skills. He had a huge, tray of lead type from the ol’ days. I wonder how many kids and young adults walked by it without any appreciation as to how that tray related to the fonts they use on the computers, phones and pads.
Mr. Johnson, quite creatively calls his business ‘Fibonacci Letterpress’ and you should recall who or what ‘Fibonacci’ was from the ‘Da Vinci Code‘. The motto for his business, again very clever and profound, is the Latin: Ars longa, vita brevis (Art is Long, Life is Short) — though he reverses the two phrases. Probably true to his nostalgic craft ‘Tom’ as yet does not have a Web site (and NO I didn’t offer to build him one because I, in my old age, now only do new Web sites as a very, very special favor — and even turned down an offer, this weekend, from a favorite sister-in-law in Hawaii — though I am doing one for ‘Craig’, my friend, who owns the ‘Northeast Security Agency‘). He does woodcuts and various types of printing — proclamations, invitations etc.
You can, however, e-mail Tom at: firstname.lastname@example.org (and how he thinks anybody will be able to type that in without making a mistake is a mystery to me … hence why I am hot linking that for you … so just click).
His phone number is: 603-988-7596.