Slotted Handset Type

I was given a box of misc. handset metal type. While sorting it out to see if any of it was salvageable, I found several fonts had a bottom slot cut into them—well actually, I shouldn’t say CUT—it looks like it was cast that way.

I am assuming this was type from a sign making system used by stores on something like a proof press (like a Line-o-scribe system). Is that correct? I can’t think of any standard letterpress reason to have a bottom slot. The metal seemed a bit lighter—but that could have just been me … (or a result of the chunk cut out).

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you are right, some of that type was monotype and seemed lighter, there were those sign machines in every department store, had to be lots of that type at one time.

Post a picture or two so we can see.

I believe it’s the Showcard sign presses that use the slotted-back type (which fits over metal rails), while the Line-O-Scribe sign presses don’t have the rails so use regular type.

The Showcard press indeed was designed to used slotted type that was kept in place on serrated rails by spring-loaded clips. Here are a few pictures.

By the way, if you’re not interested in keeping this type, let me know!


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A few weeks ago, I was able to buy a Sofadi press, the French equivalent of the Showcard press. It came with its table and is in very good condition. Last week a friend brought me some of the metal rails, with the spring clips. Now I’m looking for some type to go with it. Preferably in Europe, and preferably German/French height.

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It’s The Showcard Machine Company in America and Sofadi in Europe.

This is the link to catalogue in the new digitised archive

The one I use is similar to Thomas’s but doesn’t have the ink table and is on a base with a foot lever connected to the gripper handle so I can use both hands to get the paper in the gripper.


I have a piece of mdf, press width, with two thin pieces of wood strip glued underneath that sits on the rails. (standing on the floor left of the picture)

Ink the type first, put the piece of mdf over the type, then put the paper in the gripper, the mdf stops the paper getting inked.

Hold the paper over the roller with one hand, remove the board with the other, and then pull the roller forward holding the paper taught.

The type I use is european height but mix it with english height by packing the english type underneath or keep them in separate lines. There is a lot of give in that roller.

The spring clips doen’t really work so lock up with magnetic quoins or “fill the space with a chase”. I use different widths of wood to go between the lines which is kept underneath.[email protected]/16021133190/in/[email protected]...

I have been able to get rough proofs of etchings on the Sofadi

Thank you platenprinter for the link. I now wonder if Sofadi built any machines themselves, or that they merely imported them and fitted them with their own nameplate.

As I was just checking out the yellow Pages and the Chambre of Commerce in Montreuil, I found this view. Apparently, the company was a Canadian based company. Nowadays the building is being used by a printer, specialising in self-adhesive labels.

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I have 3 fonts of the slotted Showcard type for sale.

Check them out at the bottom of the posting at:

just let me know if you are interested and a fair price and they are yours.

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