Typefounding Artifacts                               email                Home                            Updated 02-01-10

The items here listed were either procurred from an agent of ATF well before their closing, or at the auction held in August, 1993
. In order that you might clearly see the items, large format pictures have been used. Please be patient while they load. Please use email link above if you find any errant or dead links. Thank you.
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It is hoped that the offering of these few artifacts might induce a few interested institutions/people to take the step from interest to typecasting, and thus increase the number of type foundries in the 21st century. More small tools for typecasters will be added soon to enable them to produce more accurate matrices and types.
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24 point Handmold,
provenance: ATF, a friend of the Guild;  Drive; B2; .060.                                  PICS                 $3,250.00                  This handmold was used in the ATF Matix Dept. for the job of justifying matrices after the rough matrix was made, or when an existing set of mats was to be altered for use on a different caster, as from pivotal to automatic, of from one mold to another having different drives.    
                                                                                                                                                                 
SOLD                             $3,250.00

18 point BB&S Normanesque, patented 1883, Provenance: ATF, a friend of the Guild; Drive, .053"   PICS                  $3,250.00
                                                                                                                                                                                          
SOLD
              The above two items have been used together to successfully cast 3 usable fonts with the aid of a few brass shims to retain an 18 pt. body for the types. Types could be cast more easily on a 24 pt. body. The depth of drives of the mold & matrices are slightly different, but the previous owner filed the bottom of the types to the conventional .918" height. A proof of the types cast from from this mold & matrices is shown. It should be noted that these Normanesque mats are the earliest BB&S/ATF Victorian decorated mats in private ownership. These items were procurred from an agent of ATF well before their closing. The Smithsonian has all the rest.
Reduced price if  purchased together.
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11 point Caslon Oldface Matrices, Provenance: Johnson Tpfy, Mackellar Smiths & Jordon, ATF, Dale Guild Tpfy  $SOLD       

            Includes Caps/accented caps, lower-case/lower-case accents,small caps, long s and accompanying ligatures, figures and points.
This font comes with a pivotal mold which can  be fitted to most American pivotal casters or the body pieces can be used to make a handmold if someone desires to cast Caslon as Caslon cast it. PICS

Item[1]. Caslon Old Style. Complete suite of 171 11pt roman matrices, including small caps, accents, quaints and tied letters. Obsolete [replaced by modern automatic matrices] Starr-patent electros grown by Laurence Johnson. Subsequent replacement nickel electros for some characters done by ATF as busy work. Undrilled for automatic casting and keyed to a specific hand and steam department mold for pivotal casting [see Item below].

Item[2]. Hand and Steam Department 11 pt Pivotal mold No. 1725. Original MS&J [possibly Johnson: an ancient no nick blank style] mold adapted to ATF specifications, mounted on a No.2-1/2 pivotal machine block No.1005 , complete with all necessary devices. Specifically keyed for use to cast the above matrices. Rescued in 1993 at the ATF auction.

An historical backround of these artifacts follows:

As is well known, in 1858, a complete series of copper strikes for the text-sized Caslon Old Face was sold for this design's exclusive use to the Laurence Johnson Foundry of Philadelphia. Among other items, a display containing the 11 point size of these copper strikes and Johnson's original "Starr-process" [Starr's Patent, ca.1845] electro-deposited production matrices were for many years exhibited in a glass case in the reception room of the American Type Founders Company's Library in Jersey City.

Johnson had called the face "Old Style." When its holdings succeeded to MacKellar, Smiths and Jordan, it became Original Old Style. In 1892 it became ATF's Old Style No.71, and after much reworking eventually the design became No.471: the added digit indicates the  MS&J foundry as its source
.

In 1986, the following was related by James F. Buckley [1911-1992].

"When the Library was finally sold to Columbia, (it was one of the last things to be cleared out) I was tasked to remove the items which  did not go with that collection, including some artifacts left in the reception area display cabinet. Only the Johnson production matrices for the 11pt  "471" were to go back to the vaults which were now in Elizabeth. I was forbidden to save or take away anything else (it meant instant termination) and the rest of the items that had been overlooked or discarded by the Columbia people were thrown away in the final clean up. My colleague Dick Morroco and I were sorely tempted but we obeyed our boss; his name was Elmo Duff. He had been one of Bullen's most unpleasant "assistants," and had been made head of sales at the time. He didn't last long. Those English strikes, along with the ones from Fry for our Baskerville Roman that ATF bought during the First World War were cast from only for the making of electros. Model casts of every character were saved in the matrix department, so the original matrices were not put at risk more often than was strictly necessary. The type would be trimmed up and finished for the copper bath prior to plating. I was told that "after 1908 all electros were made in nickel, (with a backing of copper) as it was harder and more durable."

The quiet and humble Jim Buckley worked his entire career at ATF as a "Type Clerk" for an impressive 64 years, starting at the age of 17, in 1928. He passed away, still employed part time at Elizabeth but one year before the demise of the company, in August of 1992. Jim kept these 11pt matrices on his desk for decades, and in 1986 he gave them to the last-to-be-hired ATF employee as a keepsake
.
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11point Scotch Roman and Italic; Provenance: Farmer, Little & Co. Tpfy., ATF, Dale Guild Tpfy..      On Hold             $2,750.00  
                                                                                            PICS 
                                                                                                             PICS-2

This design is the direct descendant of the original Scotch Roman as cast by the Elihu White Foundry of New York and passed down to the A.D. Farmer & Son Foundry. These sets of matrices were newly electroplated ca. 1890's, from types cast from the old worn out mats, not long before Farmer, Little and Co, was purchased by ATF. This is the correct size and design as was used for many of the historic religious and scientific scholarly editions printed in the early 19th century, including the treatises of Edgar, Arnold, and Darwin, and especially the Mormon Book of Nephi.

In 1907 over 190 matrices were saved from both the roman and italic each, and they were converted to automatic casting. Acquired by ATF at the demise of the Farmer & Co. plant. No Barth 'Farmers' molds survive, but these matrices have a depth of drive which is very close to the .050" drives of the Thompson caster and the Monotype Display Caster mold. Measuring an exact .0515" they will produce type only .0015" over type height [.918"] when used on the above mentioned casters. Only the obscure obsolete swash-caps of the italic were discarded when they were converted to the Barth caster. Along with the matrices for both the roman and italic, which are packed in sturdy steel galleys, there are lining fonts of individual casts packed into their original cardboard boxes, as well as the original matrix vault card for each, showing the entire range of characters. Only the mats shown are included in sale. The vault cards may differ from the actual count of matrices, as through the years, certain characters deemed redundant (Latin dipthongs & c.) would be pulled The fonts are complete. An actual count may be had upon request.

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19th Century typefounders hand ploughs and Iron Type Rod;                            PICS         on hold                           $900.00        Provence: ATF Auction, a pre-ATF working artifacts. The hand plough is unique in its way, and there are fewer ploughs in private hands or museums than hand casting molds.
Also part of this lot: a functioning steel type-rod for locking up 30-36" (5-6 lines) of type,  a rare brass-lined mahogany fonting galley from the McKellar, Smiths & Jordan Foundry (36 pica lines), one wooden type stick (3/4x3/8x36") which is used to clamp the type while ploughing the feet. You need only supply type and a vise, which can be easily made from 2 boards and 2 woodworking clamps.

This first plough is for trimming the jet-break creating the feet on the bottom of types. It was hand made from steel and brass, clad in what is either birch or maple. It is capable of adjustment, and still works perfectly. Will cut feet on types from 6pt -24pt.depending on the cutter. The cutting iron in this particular plough will cut feet on types from apprx 10pt to 14pt. The width of the cutting tip determines the width of the plough. The cutting iron is a simple piece of 1/4" square stock and are easily made for the different widths of jet-breaks.  Physical size: 5 1/4 x 1 7/8  x 1 1/8".


The second plough is designed and set up for trimming beards (metal overhanging the body around the face) and verticals kerns on the top and bottom of types (when the face of the type is viewed).  The wood is in very good condition. There is no rusting to the steel. The cutting iron is not original, as they would, on average, only last a year or two at most, and would be changed quite often as the job dictated. Both ploughs are in working condition and have not been cleaned or otherwise altered. Original patina. Physical size: 6 x 2 1/8 x 1 ".  Both ploughs are designed to be used with the iron type rod. Measurements;

These artifacts were in the ATF building up to the time of their closing in 1993. It is likely from one of the Manhattan foundries, but a Boston, Philadelphia or Mid-Western provenance cannot be ruled out. It has been brush-cleaned only, and conservation oils applied. It has not been dismantled, and is not made up of parts. It is just as it was when gathered into ATF, or made in the very early years of the trust.
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Early Plough; a Script Gang Plough; Provenance, ATF, Dale Guild,                      PICS                        $750.00 reduced to $475.00
    This is a simple, but beautifullt made and cleverly concieved 19th Century plough for trimming the of large kerns on script types, before electric motors, and interchangable cutting heads. The earliest true kerning script types I can remember seeing are those used by Isiah Thomas, the prolific printer and printing historian of Worchester, MA., ca 1790, in a volume of sermons, that looked quite different from his contemporaries in England and Scotland.
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ATF Type High Gauge; Provenance, ATF, Dale Guild, Friend of the Guild                PICS                                                           $225.00
                                                                                                                                                                             
SOLD
         One of the first to be made in an effort to establish new standards in the many Foundries that had joined the TYPE TRUST in 1892. This one is dated  with stamp "1896", "No. 5". Is also stamped "Am. T. F. Co."  The tool, though humble when compared to other type-founding artifacts, is far more rare than handmolds, ploughs or matrices. In excellent usable condition
.
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Type Alignment Gauge 1; Provenance: Inland Type Foundry, ATF, Dale Guild            PICS                  SOLD                    $1,750.00

This tool was handmade in the 19th century, and as thus, is unique. There may be a  like form in the Smithsonian Warehouse, but this is the only one we have ever seen in this standing format. It could likely be the only one that escaped the consolidation and the two WWar scrap drives in which dozens of railroad cars were filled. Stamped, "Inland Type Foundry, St. Louis" on front where the thumb rests when held during use. On back of leg is also stamped "No. 12", so there were that many made, unless they started with the number 10, indicating this as the third one made. Like this one, all other alignment gauges are hand-held, but they are without the legs and feet. The single ball foot is removable. It is completely functional and without any missing or damaged parts. No rust, but the original patina is beautiful. Adjustment screw works freely, no problems at all. In all original condition, and ready for many more years of service. Here is beauty and function found in one tool. Measurements; 3w x 4d x 4"h
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Type Alignment Gauge 2; Provenance: E. McKee, ATF, Dale Guild                             PICS                                                $1,750.00
This tool was handmade in the 19th century, and as thus, is unique. That which makes it more so is the name engraved upon it with the date, 1896. E. Mckee came East to represent one of the midwest foundries at the time of the consolidation in 1892, later became the first foundry manager in Jersey City, ca. 1902. This tool would have been used on his daily walks on the floor, to inspect the various work being done, especially in the matrix department. If it was not done correctly in the martrix dept., both errant types and errant printing would be the result. While the group of foundries in the "Trust" did not agree on much, they did agree on producing a superior product to those foundries that didn't join the American Type Founders' Co.. This very tool insured the alignment of early ATF types; one of the most important aspects of quality type. Can align types from the smallest to 96pt. basline. The adjusting knob is marked form 0 - 100, and one revolution seems to move the gauge 1 point. This gauge does it much faster than an optical comparitor.  Tool measures 5 1/8" (extended) x 1 1/2 x 1 1/8."
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Type Alignment Gauge 3; Provenance: Linn Boyd Benton,, ATF, Dale Guild                  PICS                      make offer!   $3,500.00
The personal alignment gauge of Linn Boyd Benton, reckoned a mechanical genius even by those who didn't like him. He was the Benton of Benton and Waldo, originators & makers of the finest pantograph engraving machine. He  managed the old Conners Foundry in Manhattan and he too moved to the central Jersey City Plant upon its opening. Everything about the use of this gauge has been said of the McKee gauge above, except the mania for Benton's exactness. It takes 8 revolutions of the micrometer-type adjustment to equal the travel of just one revolution of the McKee gauge, or a typical point-set micrometer. Even to the most adept machinist, this piece is awe inspiring. It's see-thru window is unique, and allows the user several options in viewing the baseline. This is, by far, the finest alignment gauge ever made. It can align types from the smallest to 96pt. baseline, and does it much faster than an optical comparitor. By the way, the 42pt Cloister O S l.c. "m" is about 1/4 point low, visible even to my worn out eyes. In a fitted, velvet-lined leather box; the gauge is larger than any other of its kind. Tool measures 6" (extendend) x 2 1/4 x 1 1/4."


Set of Typefounder's Tools; Provenance: ATF, Dale Guild                                              PICS       SOLD                              $1,200.00

Point-set Micrometer, invaluable anywhere in the shop, but especially at the caster. Made by Brown & Sharp.                                  
Type Gauge, precursor to the micrometer, as noted in DeVinne's book on "Plain Printing Types," the casts can be set in a group side by side measuring the result, top, bottom or at the nick, and find irregularities not so easily found in the mic.. Very helpful in judging the state of you mold/s. Sliding measurements in ten-thousandths. An amazingly accurate handmade tool. Also made by Brown & Sharpe
Matrix Depth Gauge, an absolute must in establishing the drive of your matrices. Measurements in ten-thousandths. Each is handmade and a machinist's work of art.


Set of Typefounder's Tools 2; Provenance: ATF, Dale Guild                                              PICS                                           $1,000.00
Point-set Micrometer, invaluable anywhere in the shop, but especially at the caster. Made by Brown & Sharp.                                  
Type Gauge, precursor to the micrometer, as noted in DeVinne's book on "Plain Printing Types," the casts can be set in a group side by side measuring the result, top, bottom or at the nick, and find irregularities not so easily found in the mic.. Very helpful in judging the state of you mold/s. Sliding measurements in ten-thousandths. An amazingly accurate handmade tool. Also made by Brown & Sharpe
Matrix Depth Gauge, an absolute must in establishing the drive of your matrices. Measurements in ten-thousandths. Each is handmade and a machinist's work of art. Can determine depth from .000 - .0090.


Type Standards, these are tools from which all other foundry tools are made. The caster/machinist can use these to determine the accuracy of his types, matrices and molds. A standard is often used with the Type Gauge; a standard is placed in the gauge and "zeroed out." You now have that point measurement plus .00012 of determinate jaw space to judge your work, or that of another. ATF"S official acceptable deviation was plus or minus two ten thousandsths of an inch! Go to a machine shop and ask for that degree of accuracy. In 999/1,000 shops, you will be shown the door in a fit of laughter. In either event, it will give you a judgement of measure that cannot be had by the micrometer. From 5pt to 72pt                                                                                                                  PICS             SOLD                         $450.00


Type Standards, ENGLISH, these are tools from which all other foundry tools are made. The caster/machinist can use these to determine the accuracy of his types, matrices and molds. A standard is often used with the Type Gauge; a standard is placed in the gauge and "zeroed out." You now have that point measurement plus .00012 of determinate jaw space to judge your work, or that of another. Which ever, it will give you a judgement of measure that cannot be had by the micrometer, nor seen by the naked eye. ATF"S official acceptable deviation was plus or minus two ten thousandsths of an inch! Go to a machine shop and ask for that degree of accuracy. In 999/1,000 shops, you will be shown the door in a fit of laughter.  The standards range from 5pt to 72pt., plus a type-high standard  block @ .918199, whereas, American height is .9185.                                                 PICS       on hold                            $450.00
                                                                                     

ATF Type High Gauge, A3; Provenance, ATF, Dale Guild. The only one like it. An amazing piece of craftsmanship. One of the tools an apprentice had to make in order to advance.  This gauge is marked "A3", identifying it with the Dickenson Foundry. The form is that of the '70's and 80's. It measures 2 5/8 x 1 3/8 x 7/8". The pics show gauge with a 42pt. type.    PICS     on hold                         $300.00


BB&S Type High Gauge; Provenance, ATF, Dale Guild. The only one like it. An amazing piece of craftsmanship. The only survival of one stamped BB&S. Somewhat larger than the ATF one above.                                             PICS                                            $325.00


Point-set Micrometer, invaluable anywhere in the shop, but especially at the caster. Measurements in eighth points, which are easily halved with a 5x loupe. Comes with the wrench as seen in the second pic.                                   PICS             SOLD                    $350.00
 

Type Gauge, precursor to the micrometer, as noted in DeVinne's book on "Plain Printing Types," the casts can be set in a group side by side measuring the result, top, bottom or at the nick, and find irregularities not so easily found in the mic.. Very helpful in judging the state of you mold/s. Sliding measurements in ten-thousandths. This gauge has "American Type Founders Company" stamped into the top jaw. There is some light pitting on the extorior surfaces only. Inner jaw surfaces very clean. An amazingly accurate handmade tool. One of the tools an apprentice had to make in order to advance.                                                    PICS                SOLD               $350.00


Matrix Depth Gauge, an absolute must in establishing the drive of your matrices. Measurements in ten-thousandths. Each is handmade and a machinist's work of art. Worth 10 times the price insuring accuracy.                  PICS          on hold                   $400.00



HERMANN  BECKER PUNCHES;  Hermann Becker was the last hand punch-cutter that worked at ATF. A child immigrant from Germany, he worked for MacKellar, Smith & Jordan, and was kept on after the consolidation. He worked until he died in 1948. The Company never gave him an apprentice in spite of the fact that
he "came to the rescue" in many casting jobs. These punches are  just as they were left at  Mr Becker's bench. He is seen driving a punch into a matrix blank in the 1946 ATF movie, "TYPE SPEAKS."

This movie is still available from Carl Schlesinger 39 Myrtle Ave., Apt 39  Rutherford, NJ  07070   201-935-5504

                                                                      
A group of 3 punches,                         PICS                             $125.00
    
  
set 1.....12pt., ae, oe ligatures and a colon, marked 12; an oldstyle face  Sold

  
set 2.....8 or 10pt., G, II, 000 (three zeros), a face much like the above  Sold

  
set 3.....12pt.,     S, k, o (accented, and short vowel mark on top of one another). A  like oldstyle face  SOLD

More punches are listed occasionally on ebay
here. If you do not have an accout there, you can still contact me



 
 
     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Pica Greek Matrices, Pre-Civil War, Provenance: Unknown Foundry, ATF, Friend of the Guild         PICS                    $7,500.00        Unidentified, possibly Porson, Pre- Civil War mats driven from punches, many "Star Patent" electro-replacements; many are sawed with notches to receive the "leather" of a handmold (including some electro replacements). Among the earliest foundries to make matrices via the Sar Patent were Conner's in NYC, and Johnson in Philadelphia.
   These are the oldest American made matrices in private hands, second qtr. 19th C.; could be as early as 1830-42. They are the only 19th century American Greek foundry mats in private hands. There are 185 numbered matrices that have been backed with brass for use on a Pivotal caster,  plus another 50 or so matrices that are the original punch-driven mats with the sawed notches on bottom for the leather thong. There is also a deep tapered cut on the back for, as yet, an unknown reason. There is also a set of Arabic figures.