Wild Barfield Furnace

Wild Barfield Limited

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Wild Barfield Furnace
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Electric furnace, Model No.N252, Serial No.633319 & Plant No.2719, made by Wild Barfield Ltd., Watford, Herts., England, 1963. Used for tempering punches. Part of the equipment used in the production system for Monotype matrices. Older linear dial pyrometer is attached to oven

There are 82 separate processes needed to transform a designer’s drawing (of a letter, figure, punctuation, or symbol) into a piece of Monotype metal type for printing. A pantograph is used to trace and cut the letter from a copper pattern into a piece of steel called a punch. After being hardened, the punch is driven into a piece of bronze using a crank press to produce a matrix. The finished matrix is ready to go to the Monotype Composition Caster where molten metal is pumped through a mould against the matrix to produce a piece of type.

This machine is one of many machines used in the process to make a 0.2 inch or 0.4 inch matrix.

The Type Archive has a functioning Monotype matrix workshop containing around 70 machines and pieces of equipment. It is the only one of its kind in the world and matrices are still produced for customers.


Printing & Writing
Object Number:
aluminium alloy, brass (copper, zinc alloy), copper (metal), glass, plastic (unidentified), steel (metal) and wood (unidentified)
  • tools and equipment
  • equipment

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