It isn't that optical printers are a lost art, it's that the machines were generally rubbish, usually poorly maintained, and almost certainly leased... therefore taken out of service or going out of service soon.

You might find somebody out there actually running a good old Durst printer in their own operation but I doubt it.

In the bad old days, when film took a couple days to d&p, before kiosks and mini labs and 1 hour labs, the operator that actually touched your film made enough money to live in the same neighborhood as you. You could buy a house working at a good lab. Of course, those days are long gone. And so is really great processing.

For one, I think the closed system digital scanner / printers, like the Frontier are fantastic. Instead of scratched negatives, instead of film proofed through sleeves, and a hundred other evils, all we need worry about is a slight over sharpening of the image and occassional screw up.

I've loved A&I since they did Kodachrome for me and they have always done great machine printing. I think you just got an order they'd be happy to re-do for you.