Rimmer's Methods

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Because of Richard Kegler's exceptionally good film Making Faces , which documents Jim Rimmer's updated version of Goudy's method as he used it to make the typeface "Stern," Rimmer will be remembered for his pantographic matrix engraving. Moreover, Rimmer's method for Stern remains the best starting point for the artistan matrix maker. But it would be a mistake to think that this was the only way Rimmer made type. He employed several methods over a relatively long period, and his success (and occasional failure) with these is very instructive to the aspiring matrix maker.

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Patrix Engraving by Hand

In Making Faces Rimmer gives himself insufficient credit when he says that he "whacked out" his early typefaces with a knife. In fact, he was doing hand patrix engraving (the method used to produce much of the fancier type of the 19th century), but (unsurprisingly) he updated these methods in a rather innovative way by applying (then-available) dry transfer technology to get his designs onto the patrix blank.

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Patrix Engraving by Machine

For his typeface "Cartier," Rimmer engraved patrices by machine.

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Re-Electroforming for Refining Beards

When machine-engraving matrices, the limits of workable cutter geometry impose minimum angles achievable for the beard. These may preclude sufficiently close fitting which still keeps the beard entirely on the body of the type. Goudy addressed this problem by having Lanston Monotype build him special molds to trim off overhanging beards. Rimmer couldn't do this, so he employed a method which was at once more ingenious and more effective.

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Making Lanston Composition Matrices

For his typeface "Hannibal," Rimmer machine-engraved Lanston Monotype composition ("cellular") matrices. This was no small achievement. In doing this, he managed to acquire an original machine used by the Lanston Monotype Machine Company to make the conical centering hole in the matrices. This machine therefore escaped the final destruction of the Lanston matrix tooling and survives today. [note: in Hopkins on Lanston]

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Pantographic Matrix Engraving

For his typeface "Stern." Documented in Making Faces. All subsequent artisanal matrix engraving work starts here.

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