Page 9 - February2017
P. 9

composing stick set to an M laid on its   mix, say, 8pt small caps with 18pt roman
       back will make a reasonable type or block   because they are readily discernible
       gauge.) If possible, take a pull of the type   in the case. The case may contain a
       sandwiched between lines of new type   mixture of sizes too. Probably the most
       or strip border. Ink in the counters can   likely is the unhappy marriage of 10pt
       easily disguise the design and condition   and 12pt Times New Roman, a face very
       of a fount, and is also an indication of the   popular with the amateur who hasn’t yet
       care with which the former owner treated   mastered the different body sizes. He too
       it. Caked ink can hide an almost unused   is the printer who very carefully mixes
       type, so before discarding it as useless,   the small capital C O S U V W X and Z with
       wash the type well in water-soluble paint   their respective lowercase forms, and the
       stripper, or one of the proprietary brands   I (and perhaps O) with the fi gures 1 and
       of type or paint cleanser. You may fi nd   0 in old-style faces. Only too frequently
       “I remember buying a half-fount packet of Pepita at a sale
       of type. And what did I get for my money? Pepita in 18
       point with the characters a-m, A to M and not much else!”


       a hidden treasure there, but for safety   does one fi nd cap I, lowercase l, and the
       wash both type and hands thoroughly   fi gure 1 in the wrong box. (Occasionally
       afterwards.                           these latter characters are code marked
          On the other hand, cleaning the type in   on the beard of the type to differentiate
       this manner may reveal a sorry mixture   between them.)
       of typefaces, and not the one that was      In very old cases of founders’ type
       advertised. Remember that the former   (c.1900 and before) you may fi nd that
       owner may not have been an expert on   the type is cast to the pre-point-size
       typefaces nor even have really known   system, where the body size varied
       what he had bought himself. He may    from founder to founder. This applies
       have ‘strengthened’ a fount with a    particularly to display faces as very little
       wrong design or simply have dissed    old composition type (less than pica or
       into the wrong case without realizing   12pt) exists nowadays. A mixture of types
       it. Unfortunately too, he may not be as   of the two systems would cause havoc
       honest as you would wish, and may     when it comes to locking up the chase.
       realise what a pie he now possesses and   Two ways of distinguishing the founders
       simply be looking for a mug to buy it from   are the nick on the front of the type and
       him, because he is too lazy to sort out   the pinmark on the side. The pinmark
       the mess! Beware also that the fount is   often incorporates the initials of the
       not a mixture of two or more families.   foundry together with the type size in a
       These may be similar faces like founders’   circle. Nicks will vary tremendously. Most
       Granby and Monotype Gill Sans, or Times   Monotype has the familiar rectangular
       New Roman mixed with Plantin Light.   nick which lies halfway between the
       Alternatively they may be completely   beard and the foot. It is possible to cast
       different faces altogether. Printers having   Monotype faces in founders’ metal on
       run short of cases have been known to   a Monotype caster at a slow rate. This
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