The typefoundry casts new metal type, leads, rules and spacing, as well as offering hot metal typesetting for letterpress printers.
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How it works
Letterpress type is cast from typemetal alloy, at around 370C. The typefoundry’s Monotype Composition Caster and Super Caster are, between them, able to cast type from 5pt to 72pt, leads from 1pt to 18pt, and spacing of almost all sizes.
As with the printing process, the making of type has advanced a great deal since Gutenberg’s time, while retaining the same basic principles. To cast a piece of type, the matrix [a hollow form of the letter in a relatively soft metal, such as copper or bronze] is clamped onto a mould [which forms the body of the type] and molten typemetal forced into the cavity. My Monotype casters were manufactured at the peak of letterpress technology, and are complicated machines that require a great deal of precision and maintenance.
I am also developing methods for engraving new matrices directly using an engraving pantograph, as well as cutting punches and making matrices by hand.
If you need to print a longer piece of work than you can set by hand, I can set the work for you on my computer-controlled Composition Caster. Before casting begins, I can send you digital proofs (‘soft proofs’) that show the number of lines, line- and page breaks and hyphenation: changes can be made at this stage, removing the need for lengthy hand work on the type itself.
If you have a project in mind, then please get in touch to see how I can help.
Given the enormous quantity of typefaces available, it would be impossible to keep stocks of type on the shelf: as a result, most founts are cast to order. There are fixed costs associated with a casting job, so a minimum charge will to all custom castings. To help get type to printers, I’ve set up Fountify: a system by which you can order any quantity, large or small, of type that I’m casting.
Any founts that I do have available immediately will be listed in the shop.
Borders & ornaments
I have many hundreds of border and ornament matrices, ranging from 5pt – 72pt, and have begun work on cataloguing them. As you may be able to imagine, this is an incredibly lengthy process.
While the catalogue is still in preparation, please email me if there’s a specific design you’re looking for.
Spacing, leads & rules
I try to keep a stock of 1pt, 2pt, 3pt and 6pt leads; if I have stock, it will be listed in the shop. Other sizes of leads can be cast to order – please get in touch to enquire.
Spacing (ems, ens, thicks, mids and thins) can be cast for all point sizes, and I try to keep some in stock. If I have stock, it will be listed in the shop.
I can also supply brass 1pt spacing and copper ½pt spacing; these are usually in stock, and will be listed in the shop.
I count myself very lucky to have worked with some of the country’s finest presses, and to have provided expertise and advice to some important institutions, including …
Bodleian Library, Oxford; Corvus Works; Drayson & Stock; The Electric Recording Co.; Evergreen Press; Fleece Press; The Florin Press; Glasgow School of Art; Gloucester Typesetting; Gwasg Gregynog; Hand & Eye Editions; Incline Press; Kingston University; London College of Communication; Muttons & Nuts; The New Typography Workshop (Alan Kitching & Kelvyn Smith); Nomad Letterpress; Northumbria University; The Old School Press; Petrepolis Editions; Pinched Post; Plymouth University; Red Eels Press; Royal Court Theatre; Social Enterprise Printing; St James Park Press; Tipoteca, Italy; The Type Archive; University of Edinburgh; University of the West of England; University of York (Thin Ice Press); Whittington Press; The Writing Shop, Tokyo.