Rich Hopkins & Monotype University: Keeping Hot Metal Alive

Over the years Rich Hopkins of Terra Alta, West Virginia has periodically offered an opportunity for a select few to learn how to cast type metal in his printing shop for an intensive week called “Monotype University”. I had the honor to attend Monotype University 6 in June of 2005 along with Bill Welliver, William Bentley, Paul Maravelas, and David Krenz. Besides Rich Hopkins, the faculty included Jim Walczak, Mike Anderson and Dan Jones.

For my project I chose 24 point Hadriano and many days we worked from 9 in the morning until 11 at night casting in very hot weather. I only experienced one “splash” from the 700 degree molten lead pot and I managed to step back and avoid being burned. The experience has given me an appreciation of just how hard it is to make good type.

Most of the fonts in my print shop are new type and I highly recommend the type that Sky Shipley (a graduate of an earlier Monotype University) makes in Arizona. Go to Skyline Type Foundry to download a list of the wide variety of excellent fonts and borders that he offers. I do not recommend buying old, worn and incomplete type on eBay when new type is so available and affordable. Other excellent type foundries are M&H in San Francisco and Ed Rayher’s Swamp Press in Massachusetts.

Rich Hopkins has also been the long time editor (since 1978) of the ATF Newsletter which just published it’s 40th issue. ATF stands for the American Typecasting Fellowship, whose members meet every two years for a Conference. Rich can be contacted at or at 169 Oak Grove Road, Terra Alta, West Virginia 26764.


The Author standing in front of a Thompson Monotype caster

One thought on “Rich Hopkins & Monotype University: Keeping Hot Metal Alive

  1. I had the privilege to accompany Jim Walczak to Cincinnati, Ohio to retrieve two casters and a bunch of lead. We set them up in his Oxon Hill, MD print shop and to see what was turned out was a real artsy experience!! It was magic! I hope to be able to witness the transformation again.
    John Patterson


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