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Bixler Press and Letterfoundry collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: CSC-0149

Scope and Contents

The collection contains material created by the Bixler Press and Letterfoundry in Skaneateles, New York. This establishment was started in 1973 by Winifred “Winnie” (Gray) Bixler ’69 (RIT Art and Design), and Michael Bixler ’69 (RIT Printing). It includes printed type specimens and ephemera, typeface drawings and negatives, and typographic realia like metal patterns and matrices.

Dates

  • 1966-2020

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

Winifred and Michael Bixler met as students at Rochester institute of Technology. They married in 1969 and started their typecasting and printing business in 1973 in Boston, Massachusetts. They moved to Skaneateles, New York in 1983. The Bixler Press and Letterfoundry is devoted to the book arts and particularly the crafts of fine letterpress printing and traditional book typography. They are the only type manufacturing shop in the United States that holds the most extensive collection of classic English Monotype book faces, including over 7,000 accented matrices.

The Bixlers' clients include editors, authors, and artists from all over the world. They also produce their own promotional material like type specimen broadsides and books, as well as reprints of classic texts. The couple divides their labor where Michael is responsible for the design, casting, and printing of their editions. Winifred “Winnie” handles Monotype keyboard type composition, as well as fine bookbinding.

Series II holds materials related to the Bixler typeface. Michael Bixler studied typography with Professor Alexander Lawson in the RIT School of Printing. He was inspired by the classic letterpress typefaces of the Italian Renaissance and in 1968 – 69 designed his own typeface to adhere to this aesthetic. To do this, first he drew all the characters of the alphabet in pen and ink. These included designs for the upper and lowercase, plus the numerals and punctuation. Then, the designs were converted to engraved metal patterns through a photographic intermediary step. The pattern letterforms were used with a pantographic router to cut the small brass moulds or matrices. For the final step in the typeface production, Bixler fitted each brass matrix on a Monotype typecasting machine that injected molten lead into their recesses. The hot lead solidified almost instantly and a piece of metal printing type was cast. The casting process was repeated thousands of times for each character to obtain a full case of type —enough for setting multiple pages of text. The Bixler typeface only exists for use at the couple’s letterfoundry.

Extent

5 Linear Feet (One flat box, two booklet boxes, one plastic case, one oversized folder)

Language

English

German

Japanese

Arrangement

Series I: Printed Materials arranged by size, as many are undated.

Series II: Bixler Typeface Realia, arranged and labeled by typeface, letter, point size.

Physical Location

Cary Stacks 9b, Cary Flat File S4.5

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Michael Bixler.

Processing Information

Collection was processed by Amelia Hugill-Fontanel in November 2020.
Title
Bixler Press and Letterfoundry collection
Status
Completed
Author
Amelia Hugill-Fontanel
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • November 11, 2020: Amelia Hugill-Fontanel finished adding notes, descriptions, and extents.

Repository Details

Part of the Cary Graphic Arts Collection Repository

Contact:
Rochester NY 14623 US
(585) 475-2408