Patterns of various symbols and pictures
Patterns of verious symbols and pictures. Copper plate backed with lead. In original wooden tray. Manufactured by Monotype Corporation.
As well as manufacturing machines that composed and cast type, The Monotype Corporation produced matrices for hundreds of different designs of typefaces in metal. The user of a Monotype machine could cast as much fresh type as they needed from a set of matrices. Eighty-two successive operations, including inspections through microscopes, were required to produce every perfect Monotype composition matrix. Patterns and punches were the artefacts that Monotype created and preserved during the process in order to be able to make matrices on demand for their customers.
A Monotype pattern is a copper-faced plate bearing, in relief, the shape of a right-reading character or symbol. It is about 3" square and ¼" thick, having a character raised 1/16" on its face. It bears lines denoting clearance and sidewalls, also figures denoting series and size of type. They used to be made in two sizes: ¼ size of the drawing for type sizes up to 24pt, and 3/8 size of the drawing for type sizes over 24pt. The pattern was used as a guide when cutting punches on a punch-cutting machine. If a metal typeface was produced in five sizes, for example, there were not necessarily new patterns made for each size. However, in the case of Caslon Series 128, there were sets of patterns made for each individual size. The punch was stamped into a piece of phosphor bronze that made a matrix from which type could be cast.
Patterns, punches and matrices were very valuable to the company and were kept in strong rooms at the Monotype factory in Surrey. Composition matrices were made from a remarkable collection of typefaces there between 1900 and 1995. It included historical revivals such as Plantin, traditional typefounders’ designs such as Goudy Old Style, and original Monotype designs such as Albertus. The Monotype Collection, comprising of all the materials and machinery necessary to produce composition matrices, was moved and installed at The Type Archive in 1995. Matrices are still produced in 2020 for the remaining Monotype customers around the world.