looking for images of type casiting (hand?) mould, circa 1750, England

sdmac's picture

I am working on a historical novel set in 18th century Birmingham, England, about, among other things, John Baskerville. I am looking for an illustration (or other image...photos of replicas?) or a good (i.e. detailed) written description of a type-casting mould of the kind in use at this time. Can you help? Print and typographical history are just part of the ongoing research for this project, so any other recommended resources on the subject--great books, websites, etc.--would be much appreciated. So much to learn....

sdmac's picture

Sorry for the typo in the subject line. Can't figure out how to edit it!

jslabovitz's picture

Stan Nelson of Atelier Press is a recognized expert on hand-moulds. He doesn't really have a website, but there are several YouTube videos of him working with moulds. Here's one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTnVAjYxfwQ

--John

eliason's picture


Check Legros and Grant, Typographical Printing Surfaces (1916), available at Google Books.

George Thomas's picture

Check out www.briarpress.org, a site devoted to everything letterpress. Over 72,000 members plus many links that might prove to be helpful.

dberlow's picture

Closer to the right century...
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hrant's picture

Doesn't the Jim Rimmer video show that too? I forget.

BTW I noticed that Guy Hutsebaut (the man in the Plantin-Moretus video, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the second Thessaloniki conference) isn't flicking the mould up as he pours the type-metal, which is supposed to reduce air bubbles in the sort (by making the metal settle faster). Maybe that's actually a bit of romanticism, or maybe you only do that if you're making thousands of sorts a day...

hhp

John Hudson's picture

Hrant: Doesn't the Jim Rimmer video show that too?

I don't think so. Jim used an early 20th Century machine caster.

hrant's picture

That is what he used in his usual production, but since he dabbled in many related type-founding techniques (like he helped me cut a punch* even though he almost never did that himself) I was thinking he might have shown some oldschool mould action as well. Hmmm, great excuse to watch the DVD again...

* http://www.flickr.com/photos/48413419@N00/4098975081

hhp

sdmac's picture

Thank you so much! This really helps. I had imagined the mould as metal with wood on the outside (something I read somewhere along the line suggested this to me...the wood being for insulation?) but these sources seems to suggest it was only metal. Deeply appreciate the help. S

eliason's picture

? All of these examples have wood on the outside.

sdmac's picture

In the images posted by bbg there doesn't appear to be any metal on the mould; I took the darker parts with strike marks for metal--wrongly? And I thought your FIG 215 was all metal but I guess the lines are meant to suggest wood grain? The others have wood but appear newer.

Stan Nelson's picture

Coming at this very late in the game, but if SDMAC wishes information about type moulds please feel free to contact me at raymond.nelson.jr@gmail.com as I have quite a bit of relevant information.
The photographs above are of Giet Instrument 48, from the collection of the Museum Plantin-Moretus. It is probably the oldest surviving typemould, based upon its structure and a tentative association with matrices dating from the late 15th century.
Guy Hutsebaut is experienced in hand casting, and knows that one does not need to shake the mould with every sort, but the shake is essential in many cases if one is to achieve a sharp face on the type being cast. It isn't to remove air bubbles, but rather to drive the liquid metal into the 'eye' of the matrix before it solidifies, since the metal freezes in an instant.

hrant's picture

Stan, great to have you here.
Interesting – so the shake is only used for trickier sorts? For example not the "o", but the "æ"?

hhp

Stan Nelson's picture

Sure. For many letters the shake is necessary, especially in the smaller bodies. See my YouTube video: OutOfSortsFilms Stan Nelson on Handcasting. There is a series of five videos. SN

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