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You are here: Home / Conferences / Antwerp 2018 / Programme

Discursions of David W. Peat, type collector and character

When Thu 13 Sep 1650
Where Arenberg Theater
Who Katherine Fries, Erin Beckloff
By salvaging and using artifacts of printing history, individuals and institutions have preserved the craft of letterpress. Through interwoven anecdotal and historical evidence, we will explore the relationships of characters – human, metal, and wood – that connect letterpress’s survival through an unusual custodian, David W. Peat, and his extraordinary collection of 19th-century type. Seventy-three years ago Peat’s collection began with an 1873 Franklin Type Foundry specimen book filled with ornate Victorian faces. He now holds a period of typographic history in his basement print shop in the form of 4,000 fonts of type and a rare collection of specimen books of the same era. Acquired from backyard chicken coops, transported in cigar boxes, and recast from the ATF Vault – both the fonts and stories of the acquisitions are essential elements of the artifacts’ history. Without knowing the future significance of his unique collection, from 1962–71 Peat printed 38 pages of his “One Line Specimen” book. With his help we are completing the project: cataloging, researching, and printing the OLS for dissemination and to give sustained life to his type. Through his willingness to share his knowledge, Peat exemplifies the camaraderie of the letterpress community. We are preserving that legacy for the next generation.

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