OUR PRINTING PRESS has been out of business with a very interesting project the past few weeks, interfering greatly in our reach for a goal of 250 issues of The Flexible Voice.
As I have previously mentioned, I have developed a relationship with The Bizzell Library at The University of Oklahoma and its rare books collection on the history of science.
Several days of “cabin-fever” brought on by a February snowstorm induced me to call the curator to ask her if she had anything in mind that I might print for them.
Her answer was both quick and thrilling.
“I have in my hand a book that Benjamin Franklin, himself, printed in 1747 describing his first experiments with electricity, and you could reprint one of his letters to his friend in London,” she said.
“Stay right where you are, I’ll be there in an hour,” I yelled.
And snowdrifts be damned, I had my hands on Ben’s book in fifty-nine minutes.
Now I don’t know how a “computer jock” printer would feel emotionally when he first got his hands on such an important piece of history, but my heart skipped a beat or two as I touched that piece of paper that Ben Franklin had carefully laid on the gauge-pins so long ago.
It just so happens that the twelve point Caslon, machine cast by ATF, that I am using now exactly matches a font that the Caslon type foundry in London made for Franklin. Long “s” ligatures which I have seldom used added to the authenticity and charm of the book I proposed to print.
I did handset and print thirty-two copies to be given to the visiting scholars who came to the university’s fiftieth year celebration of the History of Science Collection. They came to OU from all over the world, and were quite impressed.
The sole remaining copy sits proudly on our coffee table.
Handset in Caslon 540; written and printed each month just for the fun of it by: Robert Orbach at Oklahoma City, Ok., 73116