metal type

Your thoughts on Bernhard Modern Roman Bold

Hello Typophiles,

I am a letterpress printer, a hobbyist who works mostly with metal foundry type. As such, my choices of typeface are limited. In fact, I often find myself designing pieces to suit the type I have rather than procuring type for a preconceived design.

I’m planning a large broadside – in the 11-by-17-inch range – with a short poem on the subject of sleeping too late on Saturday. It’s a contemporary poem, but the diction is a little nineteenth-century and the tone is romantic but restrained.

C.C. Stern Type Foundry, Portland, OR

My son, a recent transplant to Portland OR, alerted his type-geek dad to the http://C.C. Stern Type Foundry, a volunteer-run working museum, offering public programs to preserve the craft of type casting, and to educate and inspire a new generation of printers and students of printing history.

Here are some photos he took at their open house on March 26, 2011:

Monotype keyboard

Monotype mat case

Visitors at open house March 26, 2011.

Grammar School Arithmetic (a book from 1904)

Some scans from a book I picked up recently (for 25¢). Printed in 1904.

Interesting just to see how the type is set; complex fractions (all are all nut—no virgules to be found), the @ symbol for per-item cost, page structure, impressive engravings for illustrations, and the thoughtful mix of typefaces. Quite a complex project for metal type. All for the kids.

Yes, it has all the answers in the back.


Type Anatomy (Nick and Groove)

It pains me to post this, but having no practical experience with metal type, I find myself in a quagmire... I'm looking for general information and specific/general measurements if they exist.

The Long:
I'm building a model of a metal type form. I'm under the impression that the Nick is simply a visual and tactile reference when working with type, and its size, shape and general orientation or height on the Belly are not specific?

As for the Groove, is there a contextual consistency held within each font, or are the ways of determining it's impression depth and orientation between the Feet?

My model is being made as if it were a 30pt piece.

The Short:
Need measurements for the profile of a metal type body at 30pts

Any help or advice is appreciated.

Digitization Advice

Hello, I'm working on a visual translation of a Russian Futurist book—Tango with Cows—and so I need roman equivalents of the cyrillic used in the book. For one of the cyrillic faces I have a specimen of a matching roman face printed on coated paper. I'm seeking advice on how best to digitize it. I'm pretty sure the face hasn't been digitized but if it has been, this is somewhat of a moot point.

Here are some factors:

1. I'm mostly interested in this as part of my larger project, so I am not that concerned with making a font good enough to license.
2. I'll probably only need upper/lower case, a few numerals and a question mark.

How would you use the alternate g's in the Bulfinch metal type font?

Hello Typophiles. I am a hobby printer who works mostly with metal type. I'm hoping you can offer some helpful comments on the use of the two lowercase g's that came with a font of Bulfinch Oldstyle. This face was designed in 1903 by William Martin Johnson for use in the Ladies' Home Journal. Although I think it was used mostly for heads, it was cast in sizes all the way down to 6 points. I'm using 18-point Bulfinch to set a short text block, and I'm not sure whether to use only one of the g's (and if so which one), or whether to use both (and if so how to determine which to use where). Thanks for your comments!


Metal Type - Blackletter identities

I have just taken up letterpress printing and have bought a collection of metal founts, some of which are easily identifiable, others less so. I have two blackletter founts that have got me stumped. Images are incuded here - if anyone needs bigger, higher quality images of specific character, just ask.

If it is of any help, I have amongst the type I have just purchased, quite a few that are clearly marked from the Stephenson Blake & Co. foundry. There are no marks on the blackletter type itself, but there are one or two bits of spacing material with their mark, but I'm unsure whether the spacing was originally with the type.

Any help or advice you can give would be very useful. Many thanks in anticipation of your response.

Kind regards,

Christopher Skinner

A proposal for metal type nick identification

Hi everyone,

I am the Faculty Advisor of the Shakespeare Press Museum, a working printing museum on the campus of Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo, California.

We have 18 operating presses and about 400 metal and wood type fonts.

Our never-ending problem is cataloging and indexing our collection of type, some of which is so rare that we don't know what it is, where it came from, or what to call it.

I have been working for several months to develop a method for cataloging the nicks on the type we have, which I plan to use to help identify type that is not distributed correctly, or at all.

Acknowledging the potential weaknesses of the system (different nicks in the same font, for example) I would like to put this out to the Typophile forum for comment.