Distributing metal type

I’m looking for any handouts/pdf’s about sorting type. My department is hiring a student worker to distribute galleys of pied metal type and I’d like to give them visual info or reading about how to double check that a typeface really belongs together.


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Dear Ms Carleton, I was once told there were eighteen thousand different typeface designs, quite apart from size variations. If you don’t know for sure whats on those galleys, Monotype or Founders, then you are giving your ”student worker” an almost impossible task. The result would be cases so foul as to be almost useless. All us pressmen have to sort out pie from time to time, and a right pain it is. One could as stage one look for curved nicks hoping thereby to weed out the more valuable founders, then justify jumbled lines as found and take a proof. Then some sorting for typeface becomes possible. But if its all Monotype, but mixed more than say two faces, then give up and send it off for re-melt and re-casting in a face you really like. Then get your student to lay the new type into case, whereby he/she will learn the lay of the case. PS a job here in the UK for all apprentices is to make the tea !. regards and sympathy

Even if there are 18000 different faces, your sample size shouldn’t exceed a couple dozen faces at the most. Separate first by size, then sort by nick, then by style (Roman, Italic, etc.) This should help narrow things down

Bill is spot on. I would start by sorting by size into different galleys with the type set up in lines with the nicks all facing the same way. Then sort by nicks, putting each set of nicks in different galleys again, in lines. Once you have separated the types by size and nicks, pull a proof of each galley and sort by faces (you may find that at this stage all the type in each galley is the same font). Only then would I start laying the type in cases. To do that sort each alike galley into upper and lower case, in alphabetical order, to make laying the type easier, but distributing the pied type from each galley, with a clear case layout poster for guidance, can also be done. If the person doing this chore is not familiar with the case already it will be very slow going.