Want # or @?  We got 'em in Collection No. 6!

-->  News for May  <--

So what in tarnation is a manicle?

 A recent graduate of Skyline's Thompson Tech seminar who sometimes hangs out here began throwing that word around, and so it became the discussion subject of the day.  Also known as an index, pointer, or fist, a manicle (from latin manicula)
 is a typographic ornament in the shape of a hand with a pointing finger.  Our associate discovered that these originated back in the middle ages, when scribes would draw them in the margin of manuscripts to call attention to something particular in the text.  They entered the typographical mainstream; letterpress printers are well-acquainted with them and like to deploy them in pieces done in the cluttered
and ornate style of the 19th century.

We were inspired to search the matrix vault and see just what Skyline has in the way of manicles.  We came up with twenty-seven (27) different ones, and proceeded to cast every single one of them in two new products, Collection No. 27 and Collection No. 28.  Together these contain a total of nearly 300 pieces, in sizes ranging from 6pt to 30pt.  Check the Type & Borders page for a showing, and set yourself up with a lifetime supply!

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The very word is enough to put a smile on the face of any letterpress printer.  Ever since Johann Gutenberg and his associates began hand-casting individual metal letters half a millennium ago, the craft of typefounding has gone hand-in-hand with the Black Art of printing. With letterpress now enjoying an exuberant revival among fine printers, artists, and hobbyists, where can a printer go to get type? Where is the corresponding revival in typecasting? It is here at Skyline Type Foundry, LLC. We know type, we use type, and we love type.

Skyline opened in June, 2004, and is proudly carrying forward the ancient and honorable craft of making metal printing type.  We are both proud and humbled to be the de facto successors to multiple type foundries of historic note:  included in our matrix library are fonts with the identifying markings of Perfection, Triangle, Neon, Empire, King, Detroit, Barco, Castcraft, Missouri-Central, and Los Angeles Type Foundries.  In 2010 we were fortunate enough to acquire the complete matrix collection of the late Charles Broad's famous Typefounders of Phoenix, consisting of over 50 revivals of 19th century type faces.

Skyline now offers for sale many type and border fonts, with new additions each month or so.   You will find our type to be reasonably priced, because we want to preserve and promote letterpress printing.

We are fortunate to have brought together nearly 3,000 fonts of matrices from which to cast type, ranging from 6 to 48 point, and matrices for some 2,000 different borders and ornaments.  Our holdings include most all well-known faces and a good many antique and uncommon ones. You will find a downloadable inventory of these in The Matrix Vault.  Selected fonts and borders will be cast and promoted with specimens on this web site, by internet notices posted to the Letpress Forum, and in the monthly bundle of the Amalgamated Printers Association.

Is it Monotype, or "Real Type"?

This question comes our way regularly from customers.  The Monotype Company designed and built its machines (Composition Caster and Sorts Caster) to produce type that was intended to be used once, and then remelted.  The Thompson Type Casters in service at Skyline were engineered to produce durable type to be laid in cases and used many times.  In his book Practical Typecasting (Oak Knoll, 1993) Theo Rehak states, "There are many who consider the Thompson machine a very close second to the foundry automatics."  Mr. Rehak was a casterman at American Type Founders until its end, and subsequently proprietor of The Dale Guild Type Foundry, using former ATF equipment.

Shown above, at LEFT, is a cutaway of a piece of Monotype-cast 24-point type.  On the RIGHT is a piece of Thompson-cast type produced here at Skyline.  While we hasten to point out that the quality of any casting is determined by many variables—primarily condition of the machine, formula of the metal, and skill and care exercised by the casterman—we have learned the secrets to coaxing the best possible quality from our machines, and proudly put our type up against any Monotype or Thompson-cast type.

Available Type and Custom Castings

Fonts and borders that we have already cast, and are on the shelf for immediate shipping, are shown on the Type & Borders page.  New items are steadily added as more castings are done.  On-request (commissioned) castings can sometimes be worked into our schedule, depending on several variables and with a certain minimum purchase.  E-mail your request and we'll certainly give it serious consideration.

Will Skyline Type work for Hot Foil Stamping?

The short answer is, "Yes, but."  It is not represented or sold as stamping type.  Physically it will work—that is, it will fit and function in your foil stamping machine.  However, true foil stamping type is necessarily made of a harder substance (brass or zinc) to resist the heat and pressure inherent in that process.  Lead alloy printing type will smash down and deform over time and use. 
Another possible issue is the "depth of drive", which is the dimension that the face of the type is raised above the body.  This dimension is normally larger in stamping type to prevent interference of the body when stamping soft materials such as leather.  All of that said, a regular font of printing type contains many of each character (see the Font Scheme Chart download on the Type & Borders page) and it would certainly be possible to replace type with fresh pieces from the font as necessary when they wear out. 

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How to Place an Order or Contact Us

There's no highfalutin little cyber shopping cart on this site, you'll have to order the old fashioned way:

1.  Click on the Order Form icon below, print off the sheet, and fill in your order.  


3.  Include a check for the total, and mail your order to us.  Thank You! 

4.  We ship worldwide, using USPS Flat Rate Boxes.  These have a 20-lb weight limit which will accommodate 18-1/2 lbs of type, for a fixed postage (which is subject to annual increases).  Upon request we can email you a chart showing the weight of every Skyline product, and we'll work with you to tailor an order that takes advantage of the full capacity.  You pay the actual postage.


Order Form

Skyline Type Foundry, LLC
PO Box 12816

Prescott  AZ  86304

e-mail:  sky

For your convenience, we will now accept instant payment via PayPal from all customers.  To use this option, just send us an email listing the items you would like.  We will then send a PayPal Invoice, and your order will be shipped the next business day after payment.
NOTE:  There is a surcharge for this of 3% for US orders, and 5% for international.  This is to cover the transaction fee that PayPal deducts.  (Rather than secretly build it into our price structure for everybody, we choose to be open and add it to only the orders of those who avail themselves of this convenience.)

Who's Behind Skyline?

That's me, Schuyler (Sky) Shipley, Chief Engineer.  I collect, restore and operate antique presses.  I've been involved with type and letterpress printing since 1962, at the age of 8.  Skyline Type Foundry LLC was formed in 2004.  It is very rewarding to preserve and perpetuate this ancient craft, and to put shiny new type into the hands of letterpress printers worldwide. 


Visitors?  Sure!

We like company here.  It's always a pleasure to roll out the red carpet for past, present and future type customers; printers, engineers, historians, friends of letterpress printing, and camp followers.  Send an email if you'll be in central Arizona and we'll put you on the calendar.







American Typecasting Fellowship
Amalgamated Printers Association  (APA 578)
Society of Quasi-United Itinerant Repair and Restoration Engineers for LinecasterS
St. Louis Letterpress Society (Founder Emeitus)
Southwest Letterpress Users Guild (Now being Organized)

Revised May 1, 2015
Yes, a NEW WEB SITE is desperately needed; it's on the To-Do List!

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