Hand & Eye Foundry: a (hopefully affordable) type foundry in London

Hi all; apologies for cross-posting, but I was a little worried that the ‘hot metal’ section might be a little niche all on its own.

I work at Hand & Eye Letterpress in Whitechapel, running our Monotype composition and super casters. With the arrival of some new matrices, we think it’s probably time to start offering founts of type properly.

To give you an (incomplete) idea of what we have, we can cast various sizes of Baskerville, Bembo, Bodoni, Bulmer, Caslon, Centaur, Clarendon, Ehrhardt, Fournier, Garamond, Gill Sans, Helvetica, Imprint, Joanna, Perpetua, Plantin, Sabon, Scotch Roman, Times New Roman, Walbaum, and various Grotesques.

Of course, we’ll cast however much type anyone wants, but we intend to offer 1/4 strength founts (10A 18a) for £25 in composition sizes (up to 14pt).

So, given the range of faces we have, would anyone be interested in type at that price?

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Absolutely! USD$40 (£25) for 1/4 strength founts sounds good.

As a customer/buyer, I found it very helpful if a foundry could make available a PDF with the following items:
(a) List/showing of available typefaces (better if it was scans from the Monotype green folder type specimen book);
(b) Prices for other distribution schemes;
(c) Shipping prices to the US and other countries.



Part of the fun is browsing to supplement the cases; no browsing, no spark of possession.

Let us see your wares.


Marvellous news! I’d certainly be interested at those prices - particularly in Joanna - and wish you every success. What grade typemetal will you be using? I look forward to seeing more details.

Best wishes,


Great news, and thanks for the recommendations, guys- it’s tricky to know how to present things to potential buyers. How would you normally expect to find out about somewhere you could buy type?

At the moment, the plan is to have a self-contained website with everything on it (so that search engines can pick it up, and to make ordering online easy), but a PDF list would be easy too.

We’ll be using 10/17 Monotype metal, which we’ve had recently made (I can’t imagine the last time the company would have been asked to make that up); we also set type for our own printing, so we’ll be remelting and strengthening the metal as appropriate.

And if anyone happens to be on Twitter, you can follow us @handeyefoundry.

Here are a couple of examples of Monotype foundries and their PDFs:

Swamp Press:

M&H in San Francisco:

A pdf list of what was available would be very useful. As in the UK you can count the type foundries that are prepared to sell to small printers on the fingers of one hand, with several digits to spare, and few are on the web, you would need to spread the word widely. I’d suggest the following:

Make sure you are linked through Letterpressalive.co.uk, Happy Dragons’ Press, Britishletterpress.co.uk, and British Printing Society website, not forgetting to take out an advert in ‘Small Printer’ to catch those not on the web. This is how I find out about letterpress things. Good luck!


I too am interested in type for this price.

Briarpress is a great place to get the word out about your product. You might also try letpress listserv. Letpress is an email list that contacts thousands of letterpress printers.
Skyline Type Foundry advertises their new releases in this way.

When you get your foundry started, make sure to put a listing in the free Printer’s Yellow Pages. There is a category for Typefounders. With now over 63,000 registered members, your listing will reach a broad group of people.

I am waiting for you to start casting Joanna …

I think Dale Guild has a good sales window from the website via ebay. I bought some type from the Whittington Press when they advertised in Parenthesis. I also find the Caslon website and PDF lists useable. I find it difficult to fathom D. Stempel as they price by weight.

I can’t keep up with Twitter, but would be great if you had a Facebook page …

Thanks for all the suggestions, all. Just so you know, we’ve been up and casting for about a year now: this is just an attempt to broaden what we do, and try to find people who actually want type in a more focused way. So, thank you.

kvtang- if you want some Joanna, all you have to do is ask :)

Paul- thanks for all the suggestions; very helpful indeed.

I think we’ll get some sort of temporary website setup, with a full list of faces & sizes, with a PDF too; we think it’d be good to have a decent site with lots of photos and specimen sheets, but there’s only really any point doing it if the demand’s there.

Thanks again, all. Do keep ‘em coming.


I would like to add my voice to the call for a specimen book for browsing the collection. I’d love to see something along the lines of the 19th century books that had a half page or more dedicated to each face, showing available sizes, extra characters like swashes and ligatures and a block or several of placeholder text or clever headlines to show the type as set. I know that would be a lot of work (especially if your matrix catalog is large) and it may not be worth the effort, but it would definitely be something to set yourself apart from other foundries today whose specimen books, while perfectly adequate and useable, aren’t always particularly interesting to look at.

If you’re looking for an easy website builder, I absolutely love weebly.com. They have a simple template site where you drag a photo icon onto your page, click on it, and upload a photo from your computer. Drag a paragraph icon down, click on it, and start typing. It’s fast and easy, and no html knowledge is required. I’ve done several sites on it, and it’s not super fancy, but it’s simple and professional looking. They also have good customer service (email, not phone, but prompt). And I love that I can update my site regularly myself with no outside help needed.


Wow, I’m interested too! Do you have any foreign mats to some of your typefaces - as Dane I’m especially interested in æ, ø and å, but also the German ligatures ch, ck, ß and tz.
BTW, place your focus on casting types instead of making fancy websites and specimens!:-)
Gott grüß die Kunst

Hi Jens; we do have some accents and non-English ligatures- it depends on the typeface. For example, we seem to have a lot of Sinhalese and Tamil accents from Sri Lanka in Baskerville :)

For composition sizes (6-14pt) we can make any mats that we don’t have- it would cost an extra £10 per mat on top of casting costs. You can always drop us a line on [email protected] if you want some more details.

If you’re in Denmark, I have no idea how high your type would need to be- everything we have would be 0.918”. Would that be ok to use in your presses?

A quick update: I’m casting some lovely Joanna type this week: we have 8pt, 9pt, 10pt, 11pt, 12pt, 14pt.

£25 1/4 fount (10A 18a)
£15 small cap fount

If you need more, then 1/2 fount is £50, full fount is £100; for more than that, we do a discounted rate of £25 per kilo.

We’ll ship anywhere. We’re friendly like that.

If you want to drop us a line, [email protected] is the place to do it.

+1 for Hand & Eye - bought some Helvetica last week and it’s top notch, great service as well, stellar work Nick!

To handandeyefoundry and others

Re variation of type-high in different countries, may I offer a suggestion if trying to mix type of varying standards?
When we changed from hot metal to cold type, and came to a problem, the production manager said: There must be a way.
Sometimes it took a few hours of thought to find that solution, but later the production managers in various places sometimes conferred over problems.
For differing type-high standards, one way is to put some packing under some of the type to lift it to the same as other type [shim metal?]; some presses would need adjustment? There is a more drastic solution, but that’s as much as I am prepared to say; I don’t want a posse from some foreign country chasing me to tar-and-feather.

We know how the gauge of rail track was decided for standards gauge,. does anyone know how the usual type-high standard .918 was chosen?


I have worked with Anglo-American and continental European type heights together in several years now. The difference is approx 0,2 mm – so a piece of paper under the Anglo-American type and they fit my European standard type height. No problems!
If there is a little problem, it’s with the spacing material. But as long as you don’t mix the different material up it works.
Handandeyefoundry: Wow GBP 10 for making a mat sounds goooood :-). I’m looking forward to seeing a complete list of typefaces. Could be interested in some Centaur and Arrighi in 10 and 14 pt. (maybe 24 pt :-)
Gott grüß die Kunst

Jens: Well, some good news there: we do already have Centaur & Arrighi in 10pt, but that’s all. We can *probably* hire the matrices for display sizes (14-72pt), but there’s a £100 charge for that (and, to reassure you, we don’t charge a mark-up on the hire costs). Roman and italic are a separate set of mats in that case, though.

If there’s enough interest, we’d be very happy to split the matrix hire cost between anyone who wanted the type.

And yep, £10 per mat is a bit of a bargain :) Works out expensive for an entire die case, of course, but very useful when you just need an accent or two.