Numbers for Calendars

I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to obtain durable numbers for calendars. I’ve never used photopolymer - could I cut up a photopolymer plate and move the numbers according to the day of the week for each month? How expensive would that be for 31 numbers if using 1” numbers?

Thank you!

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I think you could do it with reasonable success; how large is your press/base?
The base is probably the most expensive part of this.
You’ll need it, obvs., unless you mount each number on a piece of wood.
If you go this route, you may wish to carefully trim down some of the thicker polymer plate stock and apply contact adhesive to the back/flush mount onto wooden blocks at almost type high and dry under weight.

However, some quite careful planning might make it so you can have etched magnesium plates mounted to wood, and if you make the trim layout properly the company may be able to simply use a table-saw to trim the blocks down pretty even and square, aiding in setting and saving you copious amounts of setup-time and tweaking.
Try contact Owosso Graphic Arts in Owosso, MI. they can be found in the yellow pages on Briarpress.

I cannot believe the size of my base didn’t occur to me - I only have a pilot press base - which I can use on my pilot or my poco.

I don’t feel like spending $ on a larger metal base. I wonder if I could find a source of a large wood base that might be cheaper than a metal base?

Oh, you mean cutting the plates down and using the individual blocks like moveable type? Is this really a discussion topic?


What, pray tell, is wrong with that, Paul?
People with limited means/resources need to solve problems in a variety of ways and probably don’t have a zillion years of printing experience like you might; it’s a valid question, knocking it really doesn’t contribute anything unless you have some critical stance/theory to contribute?
Why not join in the discussion and put your proverbial two pennies into the machine?

If you need a specific typeface unavailable in movable type, I guess it would be possible to have a set of magnesium plates made, then mount them to type height on square blocks?

Wouldn’t it be cheaper and easier to buy a set of figures - enough to set a full calendar? I’m sure there are people with casting ability who would be agreeable to make a set for a reasonable fee. Even the people cutting wood type could probably do it for less than a plate and the necessary accurate cutting it would entail. It would be so much less hassle to set figures than to try to cut apart any kind of plate, even casting on a Ludlow would be easier. People are getting so caught-up in the polymer world that they are forgetting, or rather, re-inventing what used to be a simpler process.

Since the original poster didn’t specify a typeface that would be dependent on a plate set-up, I thought that my mention of moveable type might harken back to how it used to be done, or at least get somebody to pick-up on it, but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe movable type is already too far gone to be of any value today.


Calender Numbers, Blast from the past and more, Hobby printers needing calender figures inc. Mon,-Sunday on the same format would have ordered in sets in/on lead type, (i.e. harder Founders) any thing from 14 point to 72 point???

A racing certainty that, your, Schuyler (Sky) Shipley out of California, has sets from his Giant Caster ready to go at the click of the mouse. Cost/Time may be a governing factor!!

Commercial firms, with in house casting facilities i.e. Super caster (U.K.) Giant Caster, (U.S.A.) would have hired Mats, (matrices) in and cast up whatever was needed.!!!!
Commercial firms without Super caster facilities had process plates (zinc etc) laid down so that they, the figures, could be trimmed out as individual figures and mounted on Monotype high quads, with D.S.A. and at least one normal plate mounting pin within the rectangular calender figure border, in essence exactly as 4 colour plates were mounted with bevelled edges???

Against the backdrop of *NEEDS MUST* when the Devil is driving, is it possible, with only a Hobby Type treadle Fretsaw and P.P plates adapt the retro method for current use.???

NOT FACTS, just humble adaptations, my 2 penn,orth from a long time ago, but possibly positive vibes???

It may be that page 89 (Handy Font 701, 702, 703 & 704) of the M&H catalogue could be your answer.

NIce folk to deal with in my experience.

Bruce W

Anyway, photopolymer is priced by the square inch- so if you did it that way it’d cost you around 86-100 dollars and upwards, depending who you paid to processed it through, shipping, how much of a hurry you were in, etc.
Even more for mag plates mounted to wood, if the company can actually even trim them down that small/is willing to do so.

Paul- I was considering that this person would then have squared up calendar numbers, not lead type that would require additional spacing materials setting time etc etc etc., but I guess it makes sense. This person asked about a plate, though, so I assumed custom artwork- not movable type- and I was considering how difficult it would be to cut up polymer plates and re-mount them over and over in differing arrangements, the difficulty of using a base this way, etc etc.
But again- everyone not having the benefit of same experience you do- your practical suggestions are welcomed in a thread that has a right to be here? No need to be flippant or sarcastic/negative when you have a good answer to type out, imho.

Calendar fonts/supporting people who are making them is, imo, a pretty great suggestion as well if you are willing to use off the shelf numbers and don’t need to make a plate of the specific family/font of numbers one might’ve already chosen.

Photopolymer has a limited lifespan. Not so much from wear, which can easily exceed metal type, but from environmental aging: incident light, ozone, humidity. For a small calendar the advantage of metal is that once the spacing material is established the figures drop into place for each day and are easily switched for each month, good for next year too. With loose photopolymer bits, exact placement of noncontinuous units can be tricky if you are at all picky.
Calendars come in different forms. The calendar fonts sold by ATF were for compact calendars, what would fit on a business card or notecard, not larger desk or wall calendars. A large calendar won’t be printed on a Pilot, but Hamilton and AWT sold calendar fonts of large wood figures tor such use. Otherwise, any foundry left still sells figure fonts.

Mick, a gentle correction. Sky exclusively runs Thompson casters. No Supercasters around the shop that I ever saw. He does, however, produce a perpetual calendar font; sold as Collection #9. It’s currently listed as sold out, but one could probably induce him to re-cast with the proper remunerative incentive.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

@HavenPress. The original poster already stated that they had never used polymer plates. Wouldn’t that lead one to believe that the easier and most adaptable solution would be something with which they were already familiar? Why would you offer the more difficult solution over the easier one? If our place here is to give advice, then shouldn’t we offer the best advice, and explain as to why doing something one way is expensive and impractical? Funny how you end up sort of agreeing with my recommendation just before you insult me, not only for my honest opinion, but for an elaboration on the subject that actually makes sense.

Pardon me for saying, but first- I never insulted you, or said you were a jackass or anything deliberately insulting.

You were flippant and sarcastic and dismissive though.

My suggestions related to adapting the material to this person’s needs and were different than your own take, as described above.

Oops, you did it again.

Mephits, Michael, Sir, thank you for your correction, some time ago I did correspond with Sky briefly! and we swapped some technical info, I seem to remember part of the discussion was U.S.A Giant Caster and U.K Super Caster, pros and cons, as I had already looked up His publicity and Passion and His holding of Display matrices, I wrongly assumed that he was Running Super Caster, but I still suspect that he has One in reserve,
My misconception, Apologies and thanks again, Mick

Oh, I think Sky is probably interested in anything and everything to do with casting type! And his matrix collection is absolutely stunning. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he has some display mats in there. But if he’s got a Super Caster or Giant Caster, I’m not sure where he’s keeping it. There definitely weren’t any around the Foundry when I spent a week there this summer. The Thompson National Forest (World’s largest collection of Thompson carcasses awaiting resurrection), yes, but no “true” Monotype machines that I saw. There was a Nuernburger-Rettig Universal Caster, though!

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN