Mazak Type names

I have been researching mazak type which is used for foil blocking. I have read that it is very difficult to tell it apart from foundry type, but it was given names different from foundry type.

I know that Diana Italics and Granby Light, are two of the names denoted to mazak, but I don’t know any others.

So I was wondering does anyone know of any other names that was given only or mainly to mazak type?

Log in to reply   18 replies so far

Am i right in thinking that Mazak types were made from zamac (zinc, aluminium, magnesium and copper)? If that’s the case, it shouldn’t be too difficult to tell one from the other…

Mazak type was listed in many catalogs from American Printing Equipment/American Wood Type (not something that is on Internet archive, but copies are not rare).

In appearance, Mazak type is indeed difficult to separate from the usual metal type. From pages 168-169 of 1983-84 American Printing & Supply Co., Mazak identifies: Granby Light; Granby Light Condensed, Grandby; Grandby Condensed; Condensed Sans Serif No. 5; Narrow Sans Italic; Modern No. 20; Verona; Sparton; Condensed Sans Serif No. 4; Grotesque No. 4; Mercury Light.
The Company claims the type is:” the nearest hot stamping type to brass.” No mention of its composition though.
I’ve a 12pt. Modern somewhere in my collection of miscellany, but fresh snows this morning prevent a trek to the shed to find same. :o)

I should have mentioned that I’m a UK member. In the UK a company called Stephenson Blake, made mazak type, but now, nobody makes it.

It is made from zinc, as well as other metals, and yes, even people with many years of experience find it difficult to tell it apart from foundry type. This is the reason why I’m trying to identify it by name.

Forme, I was wondering if you know whether the American Printing & Supply Co. imported their type from Stephenson Blake UK, or did they manufacturer it themselves?

American printing Equipment Co./American Wood Type Mfg. Co. was the sole agent for Stephenson Blake in the U.S. according to its 1959 catalog. All of the Mazak types listed above are also shown in that SB catalog under the same names. Verona is SB’s name for the U.S. type design Munder Venizian (earlier called Laclede Old Style). So, it is likely that the Mazak type offered by American Printing Equipment Co./AWT was imported from Stephenson Blake. I can’t tell you how to tell the difference between Mazak and foundry type, however. It is advertised as being harder than brass type for hot stamping and rubber stamp molding, and supposedly good for 3,000,000 impressions. Foundry type should be easier to make a mark on the side.

Thanks for that additional information. I have seen Granby Light, Diana Italic and Mercury Light in Mazak type, in the UK. So it could be that all the other type faces that forme mentions, are exclusively Stephenson Blake Mazak types.

But I was wondering if each foundry had exclusive rights to font names. For example, if we see that a type face is Spartan, does this mean it can only be made by one particular foundry, in this case Stephenson Blake?

Hello Stephen

I have plenty of brand new Mazak and Stephenson/Blake type fonts available. If you send me your email I can scan pages from an old supply book showing all the different fonts with their names.
[email protected]
Cell 516-633-5107

All of the type names above are foundry type faces from Stephanson Blake. I am assuming that Mazak type designated that a different alloy of metals was used to cast this type to specifically be harder and more heat-resistant than foundry type so that it can be heated and used for foil stamping. It sounds like this was done to compete with brass type, which is ideal for hot foil stamping. My guess is that Mazak type will be exactly the same as foundry type, other than it was cast using a harder metal.

Some typeface names were proprietary to specific foundries and others were fairly common and offered by many different foundries.


Copy and paste into your browser.

Undated Stephenson Blake item advertising Mazak Type.

No Date, but feels 50’s.

Thank you for all the help given so far, it was more than I expected. Rather annoyingly, typenut’s scan shows that the names which I thought might be exclusively Mazak is shared with standard foundry type.

However, all is not lost, because I was thinking if some of the names that we know might be Mazak, for example Granby, came up for sale looking suspiciously clean. Perhaps this might indicate that the fonts may never have seen ink, and only seen foil instead?.

For those of you who read my earlier plea for help regarding my search for Kreene, this is just as intriguing!

Wouldn’t it be very unlikely to have different face names within the same company? I presume they have been cast from the same mats, but on a different caster and I don’t think someone (SB) designed exclusive faces just for this.

Also I presume (even I never saw SB Mazak types) that you could distinguish them by weight (lighter compared to metal at the same size) and by it’s nicks.

@Ludwig: Thanks for those scans! I would date that to 1970s because of the Southwark address used.

I’m told that Mazak type is slightly lighter than foundry type, and has a slight bluish tint to the metal. However, it is very difficult to distinguish from sight, and even very experienced printers frequently get it wrong. It seems that Stephenson Blake cast both Foundry type and Mazak, using the same names.

I’m not certain on whether the name “Mazak” was an exclusive trade mark of SB, or whether the term is generic.

I’ve been seeing a lot of type on eBay recently described as “Mazak, suitable for hot foil” which is patently not Mazak but ordinary founders type. I’ve posted some photos here which may help:

Thank you very much for that tutorial, it was very useful. I’ve actually been warned before, that some people try to pass Foundry type off as Mazak.

On the other hand, I’ve also seen one case where Mazak was described as Foundry type, even though Mazak was labeled on the Stephenson Blake packaging. There is obviously a lot of confusion on this topic.

At the moment, I’m mainly interested in Foiling. I think I’ll have to use mainly Foundry type, though I do have a couple of Mazak fonts.

Did other foundries make Mazak, or was it exclusive to Stephenson Blake?

I replied to you a few weeks back. I have plenty of type in original packaging of Stephenson and Blake. The colored tape used to seal the packaging is marked Mazak. I also have other original S/B packaged type with no Mazak over wrapping. My guess is they made many of the same fonts in both Mazak and foundry type. I can send you a list of fonts that I have if you provide your email address. I also have fonts of Whiley Type which was a hardened bronze type also made in England which should be good for foil stamping as well.
American Graphic
[email protected]

OK, thanks for that Amgreqcorp, I’ve sent you a PM with my email address.

I am late to this conversation, but wanted to add that I have recently purchased some unopened SB Mazak type.

It definitely looks different than fresh foundry type, in that it has a sort of a dull gray cast and is almost powdery to the touch, rather than being smooth and bright silver in color. (Not that I am an expert.)

Is there any reason to believe it would be inferior to foundry type? (If it’s harder in composition, it seems it might actually last longer.) Also, is there any reason to believe it should be treated differently, in terms of cleanup?

I’ve attached the insert found in the type packaging, which mentions cleaning the type as an aid to its preservation.


image: SBMazakInsert.JPG


There is a brief reference to Mazak in the book on SB by Roy Millington p187. Unfortunately here is no listing of the founts cast as Mazak.

Charles Stephenson visited ATF in 1958 and was impressed by their production of very hard type called Service Type which had some zinc content.

Stephenson Blake started experimenting with zinc based alloys with William Hetherington - Chief Engineer and Victor Harrison - Casting Department Manager conducting a number of trials. The result was a hard wearing type named Mazak.