This page shows some of the various schemes for founts of metal type, for English type setting. Some schemes for setting in other languages are shown on a separate page, as also is one version of schemes for small founts. The schemes below show the quantity (or weight) of each character that is provided by founders. How the type then fits into a case is shown either as Quantity in a Case, or as one of the many Type Lays available.
MacKellar (1870) gave the bookwork scheme with 3000 m, shown below, but other sources give schemes that have differing proportions of many of the characters, eg Smith (1755) shows two schemes for a 500lb fount, one having 3000 m and the other 2000 m, and Southward (1933) shows a 1000lb fount having 4200 m. These, and some other, distributions are shown at the end of this page, with quantities reduced as if for 20lb of type (ie in theory sufficient to set an area of at least 6x8 inches (48 lines of 36 pica in 12pt). The original schemes can be found by multiplying or dividing each character quantity by the appropriate factor.
In the tables that follow, ¦ represents a single dagger and ¦¦ represents double dagger. Fractions are shown as 1/2 and small caps are A B etc. The ... are dot leaders, and --- are em rules (dashes).
The above bill is given by Southward: Modern Printing (6th edition 1933, edited by Whetton). The ct and various long s ligatures are extra, as are long and short accented vowels, and ê ø ñ etc.. Southward does include 12oz of 3em brace, and 13oz of 4em brace (the brace shown above being 2em), and also middle and the two end terminals for em rules (at 9 oz each) - to form a pieced brace. However, he omits the & and &.
Unfortunately, one cannot simply divide by 10 an 800lb scheme which has been proportioned by weight, to arrive at an 80lb scheme (say). There is considerably more metal in a character m than in a character i, for example. Thus a Monotype Times New Roman m is cast on 18 units, being full width, but the i is cast on 6 units, so one gets three i for the weight of one m. Most founders sell by weight, not character quantity, and so the distribution of characters changes both with actual type face, and type size.
An alternative distribution is given by American Type Founders: 1923 Specimen Book, for an 80lb font of body type. Their 20lb font is simply a quarter of the 80lb font, and breaks down as 40oz caps, 12oz small caps, 17oz points (punctuation), 16oz figures, 235oz lower case, which should easily fit an English double or U.S. job case. Similarly a 40lb font is half the 80lb quantity, and might fit a pair of upper and lower cases, although the 29lb 6oz of lower case characters would be a tight fit.
In the figures for the 80lb fount below, those in parentheses are additional to the 80lb fount, and are the strength appropriate to a 100lb fount.
The following is an attempt to show various distributions, as if for 20lbs of 12pt type.
Note that these schemes will not be as accurate as the full-size originals, because no account has been taken of any necessary re-proportioning of quantities as founts change size - eg it does not follow that in a quarter size fount, every character quantity should be a quarter of the original, or that two 10lb founts added together should simply be twice the quantity of each character, and indeed the capitals and small caps are probably overstated for this very reason in the adapted Monotype and Riscatype distributions shown.
Note also that these founts are for bookwork, ie continuous text setting. Jobbing founts, for setting cards, posters, fliers, etc. have for example a larger proportion of capitals (but usually relate to type sizes larger than 12pt). Monotype show the same lower case Jobbing quantities as for Bookwork, but double the figures and some points, and double or treble the caps. Founders often box caps and lower case separately, so in practice one could purchase proportionately more or less of each, as required.
|It is interesting to note the differences in the order of frequency of the characters. Thus for the lower case:|
e a i n o r s t c d h l m u b f g p w y j k v q x z (Stephenson Blake 1989)
e a i n o r s c d h l m u b f g p t w y j k v q x z (Startype 1979)
e t a i n o s r h d l u c m f p w y b g v k j q x z (Monotype 1970s)
e a i n o r s t h l d c f m u b g p w y j k v q x z (Riscatype 1960s)
e t a o i s n u h r l w m c f d y g p b v k j z x q (Intertype 1930s)
e a i n o r s t h l d c m u b f g p w y j k v q x z (Southward iro ATF 1933)
e t a i n o s r h d l u c f m w y p b g v k q j x z (Southward 1887)
e t a i n o s h r d l u c m f w y g p b v k q j x z (MacKellar 1870)
e t a i n o s h r d l u c m f w y g p b v k j x q z (Savage 1841, from Caslon)
e t a i n o s h r d l u c m f w y g p b v k q j x z (Hansard 1825)
e a s i o t r n d l u h c m w y p g f b v k q j x z (Stanhope c1800)
e a t o h n r d i l f s m u w y c g b p v k x j q z (Smith 1755 improved)
e a t h i n o r d l m s u c f b g p w y k v j q x z (Smith 1755 traditional)
The above distributions are for setting English, rather than Dutch, Spanish, French, etc., which would always have different orders of frequency. For example:
e n d a o r t i s g h l k m u v b c z w ij f p j y x q (Dutch distribution for a 4500a fount)
e n a b d o r i t s l g h m u v ij c f k j p w y z q x (Dutch distribution for 12a fount, Stichting Lettergieten 2001)
e s t a n r i u o l d p c m v q b g f h x y j z k w (French distribution within 18,000 ens of Cicéro, Lefevre 1880)
e s i r t a n u l o d c m p q b f g h v j x y z k w (French distribution for a 5000a fount, Lefevre 1880)
e n r i s t a d h u l c g m o b f w k z v p ß j x q y (German (Antiqua) distribution for 3000a fount, Genzmer 1961)
but note that in the earlier schemes, the ligatures make a difference, ie MacKellar has fi equal to q and ff equal to x (and above z). Hansard has fi equal to q, ff to j, fl to z (and é above z, and à â ê equal to z). Smith also includes long s ligatures in his schemes, which for example would move s above i in his traditional scheme, if the fount had no ligatures. The Dutch scheme has ij as shown, but also é above y and ó à è fl ä ö ü fi í ì above x and ò û â above q. Similarly, in the French scheme, é is above p, fi above y, fl and ç above k, etc., but also note how few k and w were in use at that time. In the German scheme, ü and ä are above j and ö is above q.
For some fount schemes currently in use in U.S.A., look at the AAPA page of Type Lore.
And for some basic information about buying a fount of type, read Fred Williams' APA article from Type & Press.
|This page was written by David Bolton and last updated 16 March 2009.|