Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Type (Greek "a stamp") denotes the small pieces of metal which are arranged in "formes" to impress letters upon paper and other substances, the end which is presented to the paper having the letter cut or cast upon it in reverse. A fount of type comprises 227 characters; and besides the simple letters of various kinds there are combinations known as "ligatures" and" logotypes." Types are also classified as "shorts," "ascenders" (where a part rises above the general level of the line), and "descenders" (where a part extends below this level). In setting up type, the spaces between words and lines are presented by the insertion of small blocks and strips of metal. The width of type differs considerably, and the size of letters is divided generally into the following nine classes:- Eng1ish, Pica, Small Pica, Long Primer, Bourgeois, Brevier, Minion, Nonpareil, and Pearl; and there are other sizes. The metals used by type-founders are tin, antimony, copper, and lead, but most founders have their particular secrets. Antimony and copper have a tendency to harden the type and to give it a sharp outline, while tin imparts durabi1ity. The earliest material for making type was wood. The chief processes of founding are cutting the punch which forms the letter, sinking the matrix, mixing the metals, casting the type, finishing and dressing it. Casting-machines and other inventions have much lessened the labour of founding. The earlier kinds of type were the Gothic character (still in use in the majority of German books), the Roman (adopted in 1470), and the Italic or sloping type (1501). The Aldine editions are printed in this type, but it is now chiefly used for emphasising or drawing special attention to words. Caxton employed Flemish type, and English printers generally went to one or other foreign country for their type. But in the middle of the sixteenth century an English foundry was started. Although in Tudor times Roman type was used for devotional books yet black letter was slow to go out of fashion. It had, however, passed away before the dawn of the seventeenth century. Elzevir, Baskerville, and Didot type were characterised by their roundness and clearness.