Linotype and Intertype Matrices

At the CircuitousRoot Typefoundry

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1. Why

Why? See the rationale behind the list of Type at the CircuituosRoot Press ; the reasons are the same.

[TO DO: Finish catalog.]

[TO DO: Proof these and scan the proofs.]

[TO DO: Scan specimens from Big Red]

My first Linotype fonts came with my Model X (Metro...) and C4 (Futura) (in 2008) Then I got lucky and acquired the entire font library of the Lynn Card Company along with my Model 5 and Model 29 Linotypes (in 2009). This collection wasn't particularly extensive in terms of many typefaces, but within each face it went deep, with many sizes and, most importantly, accents and other refining characters - everything you'd need to set cards, of course.

2. List by Number

3. Old Style

3.1. Caslon No. 137

"This cutting of Caslon is larger, size for size, than Linotype Caslon Old Face, and will be found extremely useful for boht book and advertising composition. as well as commercial printing. Advertisers and printers generally will welcome Caslon No. 137, for it has sufficent color and weight to print clearly on coated and calendered papers - and important factor where illustrations are considered. Six useful sizes are available [7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 point], each accompanied by supplementary one-letter italics and true-cut small caps." { Linotype Faces ["Big Red"], 113.}

{McGrew, 67} says that Linotype's Caslon No. 137 is a "copy" of Monotype's "Inland Caslon Old Style No. 137". He says that the Monotype face is, in turn, adapted from a short-descender version of Caslon cut by Inland Type Foundry as "Caslon Old Style," but that "the italic seems identical to that of [Monotype English Caslon Old Style] No. 37." This is a curious evolution, as the Linotype Caslon No. 137 that I have has quite long descenders. Of course, the original Caslons had very long descenders.


Note: The six sizes of Caslon No. 137 were each cut with their regular italics and small caps, but were also supplied with "One-Letter" italics and "True-Cut" small caps, both listed as "Special No. 5." I have not yet ascertained whether my font has these.

Provenance: Lynn Card Company, 2009.

4. Other

4.1. Ransom Note

This is a typeface of my own devising, in a way. (Actually, the name of the face is due to my wife, Rollande, who first applied it to some of our handset type.) It is merely a collection of more or less random matrices, sorted only so far as to make them all run simultaneously (so one can choose a mold appropriate to a font). The name of course derives from the stock trope of the ransom note pasted-up from individual letters cut out of magazines.

This sounds like a joke, but in a way these are the most useful fonts I have. They're test fonts - fonts to run through the machine while debugging it. The process of debugging a machine inevitably damages mats. I'd much rather do this with a font of Ransom Note than one of my "good" fonts. The very first font that any Linotype/Intertype shop acquires should be a font of Ransom Note.

The process of putting together a font of Ransom Note and checking it out in the machine is also most instructive.

For the most part, these fonts have been assembled from mats in various " hell boxes." The contents of a matrix hell box are quite varied. Sometimes mats are in there because they were damaged (often in impressive ways). Other times they're there because they simply got lost and found. The process of sorting through (that's a pun, actually) a hell box to create a Ransom Note font is multistage. The initial pass separates out:

I then clean the mats (well, the repairable and the good ones). I won't really know if a mat is good until I run it through the machine (= sound form, lugs, and teeth) and cast it (= sound sidewalls). Mats which hairline are separated into a separate font (Ransom Note Hairline). These are still useful for checking out the noncasting functions of a machine.


Ransom Note Hairline consists of the subset of Ransom Note which either has or which I expect would cause hairlines. I don't want to run these (except a few times, by themselves, to demonstrate hairlines). They therefore don't have any point size requirements (though if I do cast from them, I should select only mats appropriate for the mold in use). Ransom Note Hairline is, however, the font of choice for debugging matrix travel through the machine.

Each font contains both mats which run in channels and sorts.

The nature of the source of Ransom Note means that more matrices than usual run pi. Over time the more generally useful sorts may tend to migrate to the regular stock of sorts.

4.2. Zombie

The Undead Font. These are mats that were or would have been in some other font (not just Ransom Note, but indeed any font) which now fail to pass through the machine. Collect them, document them (to show how mats fail), and to the extent possible fix them (and document their fixing, to show how mats may be saved).

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