image link-topic-sf0.jpg

1. L

letterform. As used in this book, the visual form of a letter, figure, or other character or symbol, independent of typographical information (lining, fitting). Of course, many "letterforms" in this sense are not letters at all, but I need a term to distinguish the nontypographical shape of characters and this usage seems to fit historically. Someone lettering a sign is engaged in the act of "lettering," after all, and does not become a "numberer" when lettering figures.

The equivalent Unicode term would be "glyph image" (not glyph).

lettering. The use of letterforms (q.v.) in any way which does not define the four parameters which are necessary to make letterforms into type (q.v.)

2. M

mat. US pronunciation: as in "floor mat" or the personal name "Matt." Colloquial for "matrix." The plural of "mat" is "mats."

matrices. US pronunciation: MAY-trih-sees (not MAH-trih-sees). Plural of "matrix."

matrix. US pronunciation: MAY-tricks (not MAH-tricks).

An intaglio (that is, sunken; female) letterform, most frequently in copper or brass, almost always right-reading, used for casting individual types and slugs (lines) of type. Matrices vary widely in format, but all typecasting and linecasting is done from them.

See right-reading for a discussion of the unusual situations where the intended printed result is wrong-reading and a matrix used in the creation of the type for this would be wrong-reading.

Note: "Matrice" is historically attested (even in Moxon); in this form it displays an influence from French. Since at least the late 19th century, however, this form has been rare and "matrix" has been standard. Unless you're explicitly citing early usage, or trying to revive it, "matrice" should be avoided because it appears to be an incorrectly formed singular of "matrices" (which is the correct plural of the standard modern term, "matrix").

3. P

patrix. US pronunciation: PAY-tricks (not PAH-tricks). A relief (that is, raised; male) letterform, generally in soft metal, almost always wrong-reading, used:

See right-reading for a discussion of the unusual situations where the intended printed result is wrong-reading and a patrix used in the creation of the type for this would be right-reading.

The word "patrix" would seem to be a 19th century coinage, derived by analogy to the word "matrix" (q.v.) "Matrix" was originally the Latin word for "womb," and derives ultimately from the "mater" (mother). Its other modern meanings, in mathematics and typefounding, are derivative from this. "Patrix," ultimately from "pater" (father) is a plausible formation for the opposite of "matrix."

Basil Kahan, in Ottmar Mergenthaler: The Man and His Machine. (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Books, 2000) notes that the Oxford English Dictionary cites an 1883 article in The Times (London) and wonders if it might be possible that Mergenthaler coined the term in conjunction with his "first band machine" of 1883. I suspect that this is not the case, not only because that would imply a very rapid transatlantic passage from what was then an exceedingly obscure American engineering project to general use in London and because the OED also cites a similar German coinage, patrize, from 1846. There were a number of patrix-based processes, particularly for stereotyping and stereotype-based composing machines, in use and development in the 19th century.

Patrices, even if not so called, had by 1883 long been used in 19th century matrix making. If in fact the first use in English of this term dates from 1883, then using it to describe these earlier objects is anachronistic, but handy.

Patrices as used for electroforming matrices were universally cut (by hand or machine) in soft metal (such as typemetal). This was much easier than cutting punches in steel. These patrices were also universally wrong-reading (like punches) as right-reading matrices were made from them.

Patrices as used for producing composed "stereotype matrices" (from flongs or equivalent in other materials) were probably of more varied composition. No direct-impression composing machine achieved commercial success. It would appear that the patrices in Mergenthaler's "first band machine" were of soft metal (and that a proposal to use harder stereotype material would in turn have required steel punches instead, making the machine uneconomical (Kahan, 20)).

Punches, while superficially resembling patrices, are always in a hard material such as steel.

planchet. Synonym for matrix blank.

4. R

right-reading. Of letterforms: appearing to the eye in the same orientation as ordinary reading text. Printed material is right-reading. Type (which produces printed material) is wrong-reading (q.v.). Matrices (which produce type) are right-reading. Punches or patrices (which produce matrices) are wrong-reading.

Note: In specialized instances, the printed output is intended to be wrong-reading. This was done for use with photographic negatives, and sometimes lithographic plates. This of course reverses the normal sequence (type to produce such wrong-reading text would be right-reading). Unless these instances come up specifically, I will ignore this complication in the present work.

5. T

type. Regardless of medium (metal, wood, film, bytes) a type is an object containing a letterform (q.v.) in which four parameters are defined:

These four parameters, taken together for each type, produce a default horizontal and vertical positioning of the letterforms relative to other types and to surrounding fixed elements. If these four parameters are defined for each object, then you can know the default position of the letterform relative to a solid external object (such as a rule (q.v.)) and you have type. If these parameters are absent, then you cannot do this and you have lettering (q.v.)).

All metal and wood type defines these four parameters by virtue of its physicality. In film, these may or may not have been defined. In the digital world, only two systems of encoding define these parameters and are in fact digital type (Ikarus and OpenType when UseTypoMetrics is specified and in fact used (which is rare)). No other formats do this (not Postscript, TrueType, METAFONT, or any use of OpenType without UseTypoMetrics); these are not in fact digital type formats but rather digital lettering (q.v.) formats. Note: This is not supported on the Macintosh®. Typography is not possible on a Macintosh, although it is very good indeed at lettering.

Baseline is not a characteristic of type; it is an applied interpretation of the letterform's visual design. If you think that baseline is an inherent characteristic of type, then you will never be able to align it at the caster.

6. W

wrong-reading. Of letterforms: appearing to the eye to be reversed left-to-right from the orientation of ordinary reading text. Printed material is right-reading (q.v.). Type (which produces printed material) is wrong-reading. Matrices (which produce type) are right-reading. Punches or patrices (which produce matrices) are wrong-reading.

See right-reading for a discussion of the unusual situations where the intended printed result is wrong-reading.

Select Resolution: 0 [other resolutions temporarily disabled due to lack of disk space]