Just back from an expedition to Caslon Limited in St Albans, to have my Adana printing press serviced by the experts. I feel very lucky to have had the personal attention of Roy Caslon, a real enthusiast for letterpress printing, and to see the workshop where the presses are refurbished. The difference a few expert tweaks have made to my printing is extraordinary.
The name Caslon, of course, is hugely significant in the history of printing. In the early 18th century William Caslon (that’s him on the left) designed the fount that bears his name, which was used in the first printing of the American Declaration of Independence. There’s a lovely facsimile of it on the wall of the company’s boardroom in St Albans.
Though in most respects it’s a thoroughly modern printing firm today, Caslon bought the foundering Adana business in 1987, so they are the people to go to for anything Adana-related. The machines are no longer manufactured, but Caslon have an extensive range of spare parts as well as the knowledge and experience to refurbish old and unloved machines.
They also have an amazing stock of old type, as well as casting new type on request, not to mention all the multifarious bits and bobs that any self-respecting printing house should have. I came away with a bad case of type-envy and fear I may be spending my hard-earned there again very soon.