Page 17 - February 2018
P. 17

process is non-invasive and the types   The Stevens, Shanks
       remain undamaged.
         Last year St Bride Library submitted a   Victorian ‘revival’ faces
       large number of specimens from its col-  of the 1950s were much
       lections and the analysis revealed some   harder than anticipated
       real surprises. A sample (the ligature Æ) of
       Stephenson Blake’s Perpetua (cast spe-
       cially for Eric Gill in hard foundry metal)   ing original Victorian matrices to cast
       was 79% lead, 14% tin and 6% antimony – a   a range of decorative faces, including
       relatively “soft” alloy, much closer to Mono-  the once-popular Figgins Scroll Shaded.
       type metal. John Baskerville’s Greek type,   These were advertised by implication
       cast circa 1763, was 90% lead, 0.39% tin and   as ‘foundry type’ but there was always a
       almost 10% antimony, a curious mixture   strong suspicion that the alloy was closer
       with very little tin. A specimen of Mould-  to Monotype metal in terms of durability
       type’s Clarendon Bold (a Monotype face)   because of the technical limitations of the
       was very similar in hardness to Stephen-  casting machines, which could not handle
       son Blake’s Bologna (cast in so-called ‘hard’   the higher temperature alloys required to
       foundry metal).                       cast foundry type. Photon bombardment
         The Herberger analyses also revealed   analysis reveals that the alloys used were
       that the Stevens, Shanks Victorian ‘revival’   actually just 65% lead with high levels of
       faces of the 1950s were much harder than   tin (almost 11%) and antimony (23%) – every
       anticipated. The company used modified   bit as hard as the best Stephenson Blake
       Monotype machines, capable of employ-  foundry types. (It is worth noting that few
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