Monotype Composition caster Thoughts on lettering

The mighty, the magnificent, the marvellous one and only Monotype Composition Caster

Possibly my longest blog title ever. Richly deserved. I can’t believe it is over a year since I last posted on the Monotype (see here and here) and all that time I have been meaning to write more. Well, the other day I had a post from a reader in South Australia who had stumbled on this potpourri and said he was restoring such a machine. (Thanks Ron for your kind words.) Here is a photo of my mighty Monotype taken in the UK in the late 1990s.

2 replies on “The mighty, the magnificent, the marvellous one and only Monotype Composition Caster”

A mystifying beauty, the Monotype. I just hopped back onto our compcaster after a few months away (mostly spent lettercarving in Newport) and was more than a little rusty. When I was trying to calibrate the quad for a small quantity of 9-pt Janson I underestimated by .025 and promptly began casting type on, ahem, multi-kerned bodies. That is, much too narrow to support the face from both sides. A simple enough correction but a little embarrassing nonetheless. At least I keyed it properly!

BLIMEY! What a blast from’t past. You can have no idea just how many hours I spent nursing a row of these monsters during my long lost youth while apprenticing to be a typesetter in Lancashire. Of course I never actually went on to be said typesetter as the industry went digital on me and the thought of sitting at a keyboard all day just wasn’t an acceptable proposition. But at one time (though its difficult for even me to believe) I could and would strip down one of these things and rebuild it in next to no time.
Lead, tin and antimony! I remember the old geezers used to warm their meat and potato pies by floating them on the reservoir.
Actually, now that I come to think about it… the digital revolution possibly saved my life!
Thanks for the memories – that photo managed to spark an avalanche of them.
All the best…

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