Tip Type in Wilkinsburg: Rudy Lehman's Legacy
In January of 2013 my friend and mentor, Rudy Lehman, died. Rudy had run Lehman Typesetting in Wilkinsburg from 1957-2013, and the shop houses a complete and classic working Linotype machine, something that is getting harder and harder to find. On a Friday after he died Rudy's family told me that metal scrappers were coming Monday to haul away the equipment in the shop. I asked them to please cancel that plan and I have been working ever since, raising money here and there, to buy the shop and the equipment. Rudy's family is delighted that someone wants to save the shop and I am about to sign a contract to take it over. I plan on turning into a working Linotype and photo lithography studio, available for projects by artists in Pittsburgh and beyond. As part of this plan, in September 2013 I will be attending Linotype University, a monthlong intensive course held at the Working Linotype Museum on the campus of Pry Plastics, Inc in Denmark, Iowa. Run by Larry Reid the course is a labor of love and preservation, free for people who have the equipment. Linotypes are amazing and beautiful machines! The Linotype is sometimes called a typesetting machine, but this is not correct: it does not set type. It is a substitute for typesetting. It is strictly speaking a composing machine, as it does composition but its product is not set type, but solid slugs in the form of lines of type with the printing face cast on the edge. Text is molded and cast into lead and after the printing process it is melted back down and used again. I am extremely excited to work with this extraordinary and evocative process and to be able to make it available to other artists.
Funded by Pittsburgh, PA (October 2013)