Don Black Linecasting

Thousands of drawers of type, most full and some waiting to be filled, are stacked to the rafters. Then there are presses by the dozen – platen, proofing, intaglio, and beyond – and other pieces of print and bindery equipment. Can’t forget all the (soon to be) hot lead. Linotype, Intertype, and Ludlow galore. You name it, it’s probably here somewhere.

This is Don Black Linecasting, a Toronto-based family run operation specializing in all things letterpress, bindery, and hot metal equipment. For nearly 40 years, Don Black, his wife Ruth, and their son Craig have been restoring and selling equipment to printers and shops all over North America and beyond. Don started out in the print industry in 1953 as a Linotype mechanic at one of Toronto’s daily newspapers, The Globe and Mail. He later shifted to freelance work and formed a typesetting business, eventually moving into the equipment dealing business full time in 1974. Ironically, Don eventually acquired much of the very same equipment he serviced in his early days at The Globe and Mail. Read more about Don Black in this great article, Mr. B.

You’d think it would be impossible to find anything in this place, but when I asked about a single typeface I was looking for, Craig Black consulted his database and had a drawer pulled in minutes (and I couldn’t possibly leave this place empty-handed). Great customer service, of course, but the apparent well-oiled system they have in place to keep track of all of this stuff is what really stuck out to me. More important is the fact that these guys really know what they’re talking about and know how to make presses and machines work well.

If you’re trying to track down an odd piece of equipment or some rare type, Don Black probably has it or knows where to get it. Not a bad place to look for your first press either, or your third and fourth. Letterpress enthusiasts would definitely enjoy a visit to Don Black Linecasting, and they’re happy to show you around. Be sure, of course, to bring your self-control and a few extra bucks. And a vehicle with a sizable trunk.

Intertype linecasting machines. See ’em in action here!

Vandercook and Canuck proof presses on the left, and a beautiful iron handpress on the right.



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Categories: Printshop Tour

One Response to “Don Black Linecasting”

  1. john broadhurst says:

    brings back memorys of hot metal. I rebuilt linotype and intertype machines for peter whitaker that are in manchester . the good old days