Thursday, November 5, 2009

Across Atlanta, Over 85, Corner Rounders, Quoins and Mr. Moss

    Across Atlanta, over 85, and it was, you guessed it, another letterpress adventure.  I needed a corner rounder.  A good one, one that would do stacks of paper, not just one at a time.  After months of rounding corners, one at a time, multiply the number of pieces of paper by four- 120 sheets times 4 corners equals 480 punches and sore fingers...
It was time.
But I didn't want to spend shipping on the item.  I'm in Atlanta.  Somewhere there has to be one!  So I called the company to find locations near my zip code.  It gave me three places of buisness.  I called them.  Only one had the item in stock.
That was the one that I was going to.
(Incidently, I found his buisness mentioned on Briar Press (which is an amazing site for letterpress- and just fun to poke around in - )
I drove to my destination and on the little spot that i was looking for a bindery supply I found a heavily wooded neighborhood.
I called my husband- can you check the number on my computer- and can you map quest it for me.  (My blackberry browser only proceeds in aggravating any and all situations.)
He confurmed that I was in the correct spot.
I called- and yes I was in the correct spot- "use the lower driveway."
And then- I entered not at all what I was expecting.
A spry man of 76 opened the door.  Sharp, impecibly dressed, assesories including a blue tooth in his right ear. 
He smiled and opened the door.  I felt as if I was entering a hobbit hole (or another basement)
"I am rebuilding the gas motor lawn mower for a museum.  I invented it- a long time ago."  he said this as he motioned to that mower parts and other various machine parts and ancient parts I cannot begin to name.
(See, see what  I mean)
We walked further into his building.  His office was littered with crowded bookcases, computers from every era, catalogs, more machine parts and an ajoining room with just as much amazing stuff. 
He went to get the corner rounder out of the other room all the time we were chit- chatting and he was telling me about his buisness.
Then I saw- on the floor- QUOINS.  "You have quoins!" (A quoin is a neat little item that belongs to letterpress- it is a little rectangle that expands and contracts as you turn the key that belongs to it.  It is used to "lock" type in a chase.)
He looked at me and smiled. "You know letterpress?"
"Yep, I own a C&P"
"That is neat, someone your age knowing about it.  What do you do with it?"
I described briefly what I was trying to do.  He nodded.
Thrown off guard I tried to think of other letterpress items that I needed.  Of course it was one of those stupid times when your head goes blank.
I did end up walking out with some guage pins- which holds your paper on the press to be printed. (otherwise it ends up on the floor when the press closes!)

All this to say that Mr. Moss is a valiable resource for someone like me.  Being relatively new to all this- (this little field that has all but exhausted it's life span) Mr. Moss has lived through it and carries the knowledge that only someone who has experienced it can.  He talked about ATF (American Type Foundries- the giant here for type- I asked about cataloges- SNATCHED by someone already!

In any event, I was excited that now I have a source to contact with questions who is local.  (Before the only source I had left for China and I have not been able to contact him.  See, those letterpress people...)

Sometimes it feels like I am the only crazy person taking this adventure.  I know it's not true.  There are little letterpress shops all over.  But it is nice not having to explain to someone...

If you need something in Atlanta- contact Mr. Moss at Moss Sales and Service.

1 comment:

Pamela Smerker said...

That is so cool! Wow what an treasure hunt you are always on....awesome! Thanks for sharing, this is all so facinating to me. LOVE it!