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A Most Excellent Monotype Adventure


Monotype ornaments ready to sell. (Nina Schneider)


A full day of Monotype type casting demonstrations at Bixler Press & Letterfoundry

9 am-4 pm thursday, october 22

Twenty of us piled into a van for the 90 minute drive from Rochester through rolling hills and magnificent autumn foliage to the town of Skaneateles, on the northern shore of the Finger Lake for which it’s named. There, Michael and Winifred Bixler welcomed us into their shop and home where we met up with seven more attendees who had arranged their own transportation. Michael began by giving us a brief history of Monotype development in America and England, and then telling us about the Bixler Letterfoundry. Established in 1968 with the purchase of their first Monotype machine, the Bixlers built up their business with an extensive inventory of Monotype faces, the ability to fulfill large orders, and timely delivery. 

Today, the Bixlers consider the Letterfoundry as a working museum that still casts and sells Monotype composition (8- to 18-points) sorts and full fonts (up to 72-points), as well as repro proofs for a wide variety of clients. They also do job printing from Monotype on their Vandercooks and Heidelberg cylinder presses. Before heading into the casting room for demonstrations and to choose ornaments for custom-made souvenirs, Winifred coerced Michael to share some anecdotes, such as the time he decided it would be okay to leave one of the casters running unsupervised while he went to get lunch and returned 45 minutes later to discover everything was still okay.

At the tour’s end, we were greeted by tables that held books by various publishers set in Bixlers’ type. A few amongst us bought a couple of fonts and all left thrilled with having spent a most informative day.


Michael Bixler explains how the paper tape is perforated by the Monotype keyboard. (Nina Schneider)

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