Slotted Showcard Wood Type?

Hello everybody…. as you may know, I’m putting the letterpess part of my shop back into operation. For the last five or six years I’ve been mostly printing small items using woodcut blocks…. but I find that a bit tedious for text. So…. the Showcard Press has just been cleaned up from storage, and is now back in it’s proper place.

The plan is to use it with wood type, which I have….. but I’d like to also use it with the original Showcard Slotted Wood Type for making posters and so forth. It looks like regular wood type, but is slotted. (like duh! ;) )

Anyway, I’ve got a few pieces but have never seen any for sale on any of the regular sites. Has anybody even seen any of this stuff on the marketplace? OR do I need to think about making my own?

I’d also need some of the little spring clips as shown in the pic below….. but I think that might be a bridge too far to hope for.

aka Winking Cat Press

image: showcardtypelocking.jpg


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Why use slotted type? Just so you can use those silly-ass clips and the bars that they go on? I have several fonts of slotted and metal type but none for sale. I suspect that the saw blade on a printer’s saw is about the same thickness as those bars so you could take regular type and cut slots in it. If you want to pursue this further, I can check my saws to see what size kerf they make.
I could probably find some of those clips to spare too.
But, why not just use regular type and lock it in the bed using quoins like real printers use?

Hi John…. I’ve got a fair amount of wood type and large metal type from my old shop, and plan on using it for most of my work.

However, I spent some time many years ago working at a Sears & Roebuck store, where we had a Showcard Press and a whole rack of slotted type. As I recall, set-up with the bar / slotted type system was quite fast and easy. It wasn’t as precise as a regular lock up, but for signs and posters it worked well.

Since the main purpose for setting the press back up is for teaching / demonstration purposes, I’m thinking the slotted type might be an interesting way to introduce relief printing. It may be better, or it may not…. but it would be interesting to experiment with, especially since it allows some freedom with type sizes without having to re-arrage the entire forme.

If you do have a piece of the slotted type, I’d appreciate it if you could measure the width / depth / location of the kerf. From there, I can cut one of my incomplete / ragged fonts on the tablesaw.

The clips would be also helpful if you can find them, but I have a box of different little clips that also lock onto the bars… I don’t know if they are a competing design, or an earlier version, but they do the same thing.

Sorry dont have

Mini or micro binder clips might work directly, or if there is any metal-on-metal slippage, holding board butt-stops in place?
For a little extra latitude in positioning, it seems like you could also use the cross-pieces as head bars, and make magnetic tail bars, considering how small and powerful modern magnets are, compared to traditional galley magnets.
I’ve seen molded plastic SignPress slotted type as well as standard end-grain wood.

It is definitely on the marketplace. In fact, I just took a five minute look at eBay and found multiple fonts for sale.

Sometimes they are marked as such, most often not… but a lot of the time it is quite obvious due to a significant portion of the font having only been used lightly, with red or blue ink. It is also quite common to see number-fonts listed on eBay that are clearly showcard type.

If you search for Line-o-type or Showcard you’ll occasionally see the whole rack listed with type included.

I have bought a couple of fonts since they tend to be cheap even if the typefaces aren’t as attractive IMO. They feel a bit more primitive, which I suspect was an intentional decision by the stores, since the signs competed with hand-lettered showcards.

The fonts I have are a slightly taller type high IIRC, i.e. requiring a bit of makeup if mixing with “normal” fonts in the same lockup.

Hello Kimaboe- I have looked on e-Bay, but I tend to avoid that particular marketplace if at all possible….. but if I see the “Sign Center” Type Rack, I’ll probably jump on it.

I was unaware of the height difference. That could be a bit of a pain.

aka Winking Cat Press

I measured some of the fonts that I have. The saw kerf depth varies from 3/8” to 7/16”. The kerf width is 1/8”. The location of the kerf varies. On smaller sizes 4, 6, 8 line, the kerf is usually centered but on larger sizes there will be two or three kerfs. I have not noticed showcard type being a different type-height. I think most of the showcard type was made by Hamilton. I have a font of 60 line with three kerfs. It’s well made in maple but is plank grain as most larger sizes of wood type.
I’ve been unable to find any spare clips but thinks I have some somewhere here in the warehouse. I’ll keeping looking.

I have at least a few complete fonts with the slit for use on Showcard or similar presses. I won’t be back at my shop till after the New Year but if you’d like to see what I have contact me and I will send pics.
Cell or text 516-633-5107

I realize that you posted some time ago but I just discovered two of these typefaces in a big studio I’m prepping for sale. They’ll be online in a couple days at

They’re gothic, but some of the shapes on the ‘C’ and ‘G’ are very distinct, and maybe the prettiest ampersand I’ve ever seen.

Regardless of whether you need them, I’m so grateful for your post, as I couldn’t locate a makers mark and had no idea what I was looking at.