Page 4 - January 2017
P. 4

|  Death by Univers |                             |  Bob Richardson (9718)  |

       The Story of the Great Purge
            he owners of Monotype casting    Solus and his Jubilee (originally cut for
            machines could once buy          rivals Stephenson Blake as Cunard) are
       T(expensively) or rent (cheaply)      good examples of this. Quantity was very
       matrices from the Monotype Corporation   important, since high volume sales were
       and, perhaps surprisingly, the detailed   needed to recoup the design and cutting
       sales records still exist at the Type Archive   costs of any new face. The fi nancial
       in London to this day. We know, for   investment in the production of a typeface
       example, that Adana was one of just six   was substantial, so it must have been
       purchasers of matrices for 18pt Monotype   disappointing when a design such as

       Trojan (Series 114, originally issued in   Series 117 (Monotype Gaelic) sold only two
       1913). I mention this specifi c size because   sets of matrices during its entire period of
       I was recently able to acquire a substantial   availability.
       fount which was probably cast by the     Monotype regularly reviewed their
       company just after the Second World War,   sales fi gures and deleted/withdrew/
       shortly after they acquired their fi rst new   suspended or destroyed without hesitation
       Monotype machines in 1949—a fact also   typefaces which didn’t earn their keep.
       recorded in the ledgers still held by the   The ‘execution’ terminology used in David
       Corporation.                          Bolton’s online list of Monotype Series
         The launch of a new Monotype face   Numbers varies (see footnote) but all
       was always something of a gamble. A few   make it clear when a typeface had reached
       designs proved enormously popular—Gill   the end of its earning ability.
       Sans recovered its costs many times over,     At the St. Bride Library near Fleet
       providing handsome profi ts, but other   Street, a plump, cloth-covered ring-binder
       faces were less popular and resulted in   contains specimen sheets for Monotype
       losses for the company. Even Monotype   faces which have been formally withdrawn
       faces by well-known designers sometimes   over the last seventy or so years.
       failed to sell in profi table quantities and   Assembled by retired librarian James
       were scrapped. Eric Gill’s Monotype   Mosley during his tenure (1956-2000),
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