Page 7 - January 2017
P. 7

of shelf space at Salfords was occupied by   drawings have provided the essential DNA
       this bulky - and very heavy - hoard.  for digital revivals of many Monotype
         The Great Purge was the solution to a   designs. Within two decades of the Great
       growing problem, and faces which were   Purge, Monotype were carrying out trials
       slow-sellers, or considered unfashionable,   to assess the suitability of many defunct
       were the fi rst casualties, based upon   faces for re-issue as digital versions.
       sales records supplied by the marketing   Littleworth, one of the faces scrapped in
       department. Sadly, withdrawal meant   1967, was one of many tested from 1985
       almost total destruction. The drawings   onward to ascertain whether it would
       were retained in the archive and the bulk   work as a Postscript digital typeface.
       of these remain at Monotype headquarters   That particular experiment seems to
       to this day. These are still consulted by   have failed, but many others were a great
       researchers, and on a regular basis by the   success, and the revivals continue today.
       team of young typeface designers who     The ink-squash characteristics of
       have maintained the company’s high    letterpress printing (on certain papers)
       profi le in the 21st century world of digital   can thicken the hairlines and give some
       type.                                 faces greater ‘colour’ on the printed page,
         The hardware—punches, matrices and   while the digital version can look rather
       patterns for the faces eliminated in the   insipid, unless the artwork is modifi ed
       Great Purge—no longer exist, so they   for the new medium. Some letterpress
       can never again be cast as metal type. In   typefaces (such as Bell Centennial) also
       1967 they were seen as nothing more than   rely for their appearance upon ink ‘traps’
       scrap metal, and disposed of accordingly.   which hold an accumulation of ink within
       A few complete sets of matrices for some   the corners of the design during high-
       faces still survive in private hands. The   speed printing, defi ning the outline of the
       late John Eickhoff , owner of Bristol’s   characters, and these look very diff erent
       Acorntype foundry, produced small     when printed digitally, sans ink build-up.
       founts of deleted Monotype faces such   Artwork must often be redrawn to get the
       as Cushing, Pastonchi and Littleworth   best out of these old designs.
       from obsolete mats. Many readers of SP     If you have any of these retired faces
       will have purchased founts from him,   in your cases, then treat them kindly and
       and some may still be using them. John’s   don’t use heavy impression. They might
       rare matrices for these three faces survive   one day provide the typographic DNA for a
       in Switzerland (with Hans-Ulrich Frey   metal type revival—when the oil eventually
       at the Offi  zin Parnassia Vättis) but mats   runs out and we all have to return to
       have a fi nite lifespan and will eventually   treadling once again.
       burn out, though good quality type can be
       used to create new, electrotyped mats for     Readers who are interested in the
       casting. This process is time consuming   precise details of the 1967 withdrawals
       and expensive, so the majority of the faces   will fi nd a comprehensive list of Monotype
       destroyed in 1967 are gone forever as   series numbers (with typeface names) at
       metal types.                 Typecaster/
         Although the physical artefacts required   numb.htm, courtesy of printer and
       for the production of these obsolete   Monotype enthusiast David Bolton.
       metal faces no longer exist, the original
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