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.

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15 responses to “Printing From Things, Not Pictures Of Things”

  1. Art Larson says:

    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.

    • admin says:

      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 @bauertypes.com 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.

      mjb

  2. Geoffrey Quadland says:

    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

    • admin says:

      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.

      mjb

      • Geoff Quadland says:

        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 says:

    Another montotype foundry: http://swamppress.com/

    • admin says:

      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 says:

    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 says:

    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.

    [TH]

    • admin says:

      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.

      mjb

      • Thomas Hardjono says:

        Hi Michael,

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

        http://thedaleguild.com/news/1014/

        [TH]

      • admin says:

        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.

        mjb

  6. This first thing I would like to propose the TC.org 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 says:

    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.
    Regards,
    Patrick.

    • admin says:

      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.