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Printing From Things, Not Pictures Of Things

Wel­come to the Type Consortium.

The aim of this site will be to gauge inter­est in, and pool resources to pur­chase let­ter­press type in quan­ti­ty from the few tra­di­tion­al type foundries still in oper­a­tion. The advan­tage will be two-fold: low­er prices for pur­chasers, more work for the foundries.

Con­trary to the opin­ion of some with vest­ed inter­est in oth­er tech­nolo­gies, it’s my belief that let­ter­press can­not be done with­out type, and specif­i­cal­ly, “foundry type”. Due to the hard­ness of the met­al amal­gam which makes up foundry type, there is the abil­i­ty to cast designs oth­er­wise unavail­able in oth­er sys­tems such as Mono­type, or the sev­er­al line cast­ing tech­nolo­gies. Fine ser­ifs, ital­ic kerns, light weights, and script designs can only be cast in hard foundry met­al, and be expect­ed to hold up to more than a sin­gle press run.

Type has always been a cap­i­tal invest­ment, and beyond that, type is cap­tured ener­gy in a world con­cerned with ener­gy usage and effi­cien­cy. Lay­ing good type in a case and treat­ing it prop­er­ly means that the cost of the mate­ri­als, and the ener­gy input to cre­ate it, is avail­able to be used and reused again.



15 Comments so far. Comments are closed.
  1. Thanks for push­ing ahead with this. I don’t see a place on the site to indi­cate your inter­est and/or the fonts you’d like to see cast.

    As far as resources, why not list Fundi­cion Tipo­graph­i­ca Bauer?
    For Mono­type, you should include Gol­go­nooza Let­ter Foundry <> Dan Carr not only casts Mono­type, he designs fonts and cuts punches–not with a pan­to­graph. Check it out. See the Greek face he cut for Peter Koch’s Parmenides <>

    Keep me post­ed. I’d love to see a cast­ing of any or all Bauer Futura.

    • Author admin,

      Thanks Art,

      Bauer may no longer be cast­ing. I’ve sent an email to Hart­mann today but it bounced. Wait­ing to see if a gener­ic address I CCd will elic­it a response.

      Not sure Gol­go­nooza would want to be list­ed. As far as I know, Dan and Julia don’t cast com­mer­cial­ly. But yes, with their Kucko cast­er from the defunct Type­founders of Chica­go, they could pro­vide gen­uine foundry type.

      Have an inquiry out to the sad rem­nants of Stephen­son Blake ask­ing if the can still man­u­fac­ture brass rule at .918″. That would be great.


  2. Geoffrey Quadland,

    This site is a great idea!

    There are some fonts cast by Stem­pel that I would def­i­nite­ly get as part of a larg­er order. If you have not done it already, it would be good to post a link to Stem­pel’s web­site and online spec­i­mens as well.

    I think it would be good to explore the Indi­an foundries. I have a Gujarati T.F. cat­a­log which I got about 30 years ago, and it has a lot of copies of Amer­i­can type, orna­ments and bor­ders from prob­a­bly the 1870’s onward. If those mats are still being used, it would be a ver­i­ta­ble goldmine.

    As has been sug­gest­ed, it would be good to have a list of things peo­ple would like. Also, a sug­ges­tion would be to have a place where peo­ple could post their type­face inven­to­ries. With those, if some­one need­ed a repro proof, they could get it.

    Good luck and best regards, Geoff

    • Author admin,

      Hi Geoff,

      Not sure Gujarati is a going con­cern, and fur­ther, would be con­cerned about the very long dis­tance nature of transactions. 

      If you’ve been in con­tact with any­one there I’d be inter­est­ed in an update.


      • Geoff Quadland,

        Hel­lo MJB — in reply to your query, no I haven’t been in con­tact with Gujarati, or any Indi­an foundry for that mat­ter, unfor­tu­nate­ly. Regards, Geoff

  3. Preston Briggs,

    Anoth­er mon­to­type foundry:

    • Author admin,

      Thanks Pre­ston,

      I’ve been in con­tact with Ed at Swamp and I know that at this point he has more work than he has time for.

      I’m pri­mar­i­ly con­cerned with keep­ing the foundry type foundries busy. The Mono­type foundries seem to hold their own, as most of them are cast­ing in com­po­si­tion for book work, or are cast­ing for them­selves as case type and composition. 

      D. Stem­pel and The Dale Guild are cast­ing type for print­ers from pro­pri­etary matri­ces. Mono­type foundries more often than not have many of the same faces avail­able. That is, Swamp has the same mats as M&H. No oth­er foundry in the world besides D. Stem­pel has Jan­son, or Palati­no, or Syn­tax, etc. etc.

  4. Geoff Quadland,

    Hi again,

    I see you do have a link to Stempel…that’s good.

    Should­n’t you list Sky­line Type Foundry in the “Resources” sec­tion as well?

    Regards, Geoff

  5. Thomas Hardjono,

    Hi Michael,

    Great to see this idea of yours final­ly devel­op­ing. Giv­en the grow­ing inter­est in the US for let­ter­press and print­ing using met­al type, I think the Euro­pean foundries should be inter­est­ed in expand­ing their sales to the US.

    BTW. I saw in a recent Dale Guild (DG) prospec­tus for Clois­ter Light­face that DG is cat­e­go­riz­ing orders on the basis of the target/type of work. (eg. Large Job font $500, Small Text Font $750, etc. etc.). I think this is a great idea that sim­pli­fies order­ing. Just a thought.


    • Author admin,

      Hi Thomas,

      We’ll see about the inter­est lev­el, at least from Herr Ger­sten­berg at D. Stem­pel. Two email inquiries about a cou­ple things I’m per­son­al­ly inter­est­ed in have gone unanswered.

      Unfor­tu­nate­ly, Bauer isn’t cast­ing. It’s unclear if they still can, or if things are sim­ply moth­balled await­ing the great renew­al of inter­est in type this site gen­er­ates… LOL.

      I can’t speak to the DG scheme, I haven’t been made aware of what they’re think­ing. A paper prospec­tus? Email? Curious.


      • Thomas Hardjono,

        Hi Michael,

        Here is the link to the recent DG prospec­tus for Clois­ter Light­face. The bot­tom part has the pric­ing info.


      • Author admin,

        Inter­est­ing. If one does the math from a sorts line cost of $9.30, to the sorts line cost of the $2500 “book font”, the cost dif­fer­ence is $.04/line.

        A $10.80 cost sav­ings. Not the econ­o­my of scale I would imag­ine will induce vol­ume sales.


  6. This first thing I would like to pro­pose the do is issue a request to Stem­pel to offer an Eng­lish trans­la­tion of their site. Or am I miss­ing some Google trans­late finesse that’ll do this for me auto­mat­i­cal­ly. I have peo­ple ask­ing me where can I find fresh met­al type to invest in. I hear a thun­der­head building.

  7. patrick Goosseens,

    Hel­lo, just inquir­ing how things are going con­tact­ing Stem­pel ? I am locat­ed in Antwerp Bel­gium, and was won­der­ing wei­ther you had a reply from them. I have had con­tact with the foundry, iff i can halp in any way, i would be glad to do so.

    • Author admin,

      Hel­lo Patrick,

      Inter­est­ing­ly, the site went down a month ago or so, and I feared Ger­sten­berg had packed it in. I see it’s back live again. A Ger­man con­tact I have called the Muse­um, and it was stat­ed that there was some kind of reor­ga­ni­za­tion hap­pen­ing, though I don’t have any details.

      Cer­tain­ly if you can pro­vide any infor­ma­tion I’d be inter­est­ed to know. From what I under­stand, there are no young folks inter­est­ed in learn­ing the trade, so time is limited.