The Monotype Recorder

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The Monotype Recorder was the house organ of The Lanston Monotype Corporation Limited and its successor, The Monotype Corporation Limited. This was the English Monotype firm.

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Volume 24, before 1926

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Vol. 24, Whole No. 207 (May-June 1925)

The Monotype Recorder. Vol. 24, Whole No. 207 (May-June 1925). The icon at left links to a PDF of a scan of the entire issue (260 Megabytes), with annotations regarding certain errors (see below).

This issue is notable for a short article with a good illustration of the pantograph punch engraving machine designed by Frank Hinman Pierpont for the English Monotype firm. Unfortunately, its account of the history of pantographic engraving machines as used in typemaking is almost entirely wrong. Here is a link to an extract of just this article, with appended discussions and corrections of some of these errors (32 Megabytes): monotype-recorder-v024-whole-no-207-1925-may-june-pp18-20-pierpont-pantograph-0600rgbjpg-annotated.pdf

The article is misleading enough that you're really better off with just the illustration. Here it is:

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(The image above links to a 2048 pixel wide JPEG version. Here is the original 1200dpi scan (3664x4338 pixels, 32 Megabytes): monotype-recorder-v024-whole-no-207-1925-may-june-1200rgb-018-pierpont-pantograph-engraver.png

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While anonymous issues of The Monotype Recorder enter the public domain in England after the duration of their copyright (currently 75 years for such anonymous corporate works), due to frustrating quirks of copyright law (unless you're a multinational corporation, GATT is not your friend), in the US issues after 1925 were granted retroactive copyright in 1996 and will not begin to enter the public domain until 2020. I cannot therefore reprint any of them here beyond very limited "fair use."

However, since the production schedule of this journal was irregular (a single nominally quarterly volume can spread over three years or more), I find it useful to record here the dates and abbreviated contents of a few more notable issues.

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Volume 24, after 1926

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Vol. 24, Whole No. 215 (September-October 1926)

This issue consists of a single long essay, "Where the 'Monotype' is Made," devoted to the Monotype factory in Salfords. It is illustrated woodcuts showing two styles of punch-cutting machine (in one cut), a matrix striking press, a paper perforating machine, and a keybar combination blanking press.

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Volume 28

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Vol. 28, Whole No. 229 (March-April 1929)

Contains: "Reaching Maturity: The 'Monotype' Super Caster's Debut at the B. I. F." (reprinted from The British Printer). This contains good cuts of two of the early "triangular" Monotype prototype machines, the Composition Caster, and the Super Caster.

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Volume 31

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Vol. 31, Whole No. 243 (January-February 1932)

Contents: "The 'Monotype' from Infancy to Maturity." Illustrations: The Composition Caster, the Style D Keyboard with Tabular Composition Attachment, Tolbert Lanston, the first Monotype keyboard, the first prototype Monotype (cold-forming machine), the second and third prototype machines, the first keyboard in England (1899), the "limited font" casting machine, the Style C Keyboard, and the 1899 Composition Caster.

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Vol. 31, Whole No. 247 (September-October 1932)

[An article on matrix making, the title of which is as yet unknown to me. Images from it were formerly posted to a now inactive flickr account which showed: "Fig. 3. Making the 10-inch drawing from the original by means of the Monotype Projecting Machine," "Fig. 4. Cutting the Punch," and "Fig. 5. The Matrix Striking Machine." I haven't seen this issue yet]

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Volume 36

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Vol. 36, No. 1 (Spring, 1937)

This number contains "Frank Hinman Pierpont: A Memoir and a Tribute" (with a good halftone portrait of Pierpont), an article on "Alexander Mackie and his Rotary Steam Composing Machine," and a dreadful article on blackletter.

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Volume 39

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Vol. 39, No. 1 (Autumn, 1949)

"Containing an Illustrated Account of The Pioneer Days of 'Monotype' Composing Machines."

Pencil sketches of Tolbert Lanston, John Sellers Bancroft, the Earl of Dunraven, Harold Malcolm Duncan, Frank Hinman Pierpont, William Isaac Burch Facsimile of the first English illustration of the Lanston machine ( British & Colonial Printer & Stationer, Vol. 29, No. 1 (1892-01-07)).

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Vol. 39, No. 2 (Autumn, 1950)

Contains "Fifty Years of Type-Cutting: 1900-1950." Despite the title, this has nothing to do with type-cutting and is, rather, a history of English Monotype typeface design.

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Vol. 39, No. 3 (Spring, 1951)

This is the "Technical Number, with an Illustrated Summary of Post-War Improvements."

It also contains material on "Lining Gauges" on the old "set mark" method of lining vs. the new "lining slips" and a chart illustrating the control ribbon.

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Vol. 39, No. 4 [Summer, 1952]

Typographical Transformations (a "before and after" collection). [I haven't seen this issue yet]

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Volume 40

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Vol. 40, No. 1 (Spring, 1953)

"'Monotype' Machines in the Making." This consists of a description of the Monotype works at Salfords, illustrated with black and white photographs by Guy Gravett.

Sorting things out: At some point between this Spring 1953 issue and the Autumn 1956 issue, Monotype commissioned Peak Film Productions to make two films:

In roughly the same period, they also produced two issues of The Monotype Recorder on the same subjects. Both issues were illustrated with photographs by Guy Gravett.

The second of these (40.3, Autumn 1956) was expressly produced as a companion issue to the second of the films ( Type Faces in the Making - which was really about making matrices, of course). In addition to the photographs by Gravett, it contained stills from the film.

Until I tracked down all four items, I had mistakenly assumed that the first of these issues of The Monotype Recorder (40.1, Spring 1953) was the companion issue to the first of the films ( How the Machines are Made). It was not, however, even though from our later perspective it now serves as a fine companion to the film. There is no reference in it at all to the film.

To make matters even more confusing, this Spring 1953 issue ("Machines in the Making") has on its cover not a photograph of the manufacture of a Monotype machine but rather a photograph of a matrix being made. (It is, however, an exceptional - indeed a memorable - photograph.)

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Vol. 40, No. 2 [Summer, 1954]

"The Recrudescence of the Small Printer." [I haven't seen this issue yet]

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Vol. 40, No. 3 (Autumn, 1956)

"'Monotype' Matrices and Moulds in the Making." This consists of a description of the making of composition and display matrices and (to a lesser extent) moulds at the Monotype works at Salfords, illustrated with black and white photographs by Guy Gravett.

As discussed earlier, this number was produced as a companion to the film "Making Sure" at the Monotype Works: Type Faces in the Making

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Vol. 40, No. 4 [date?]

[on setting mathematics; I haven't seen this issue yet]

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Volume 41

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Vol. 41, No. 1 (Summer, 1957)

Contains Ellic Howe's essay "The Typecasters."

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Volume 43

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Vol. 43, No. 4 (Autumn 1969)

Devoted to various histories of Pictorial Machinery Limited (1919-1969).

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