I have a question RE wood type

First post….
Butting in with a question….
I have a large wood type block that has “mystery metal” tacked to the wood.
Is it tin or is it lead?
Thank you for your time and attention.


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Most likely, what you have is a plate of cast lead alloy mounted on a block of wood to make your whole ‘unit’ type-high. This was commonly done for ads and illustrations. You will probably see a few little nail heads in the low-lying areas that attach the metal plate to the wood block.

This is NOT “wood type.” Wood type is typically a type character routed out of a solid piece of wood

Thank You… Foolproof…I suspected as much.
If not wood type, what is it called?
This piece has a date on it of 1730, if that helps.
Thanks again

A “cut” would be the common term for something like this. The date of 1730 in all likelyhood has nothing to do with the age of the piece itself but simply is part of the information that the block it meant to print. I don’t have any of my reference books near me right now, but I believe that the process used to make your block wasn’t even developed until the mid to late 1800’s.

Back in the old days, before the advent of powerful two-sided adhesives, line blocks and halftones would be mounted on wooden blocks, using tacks to hold them in place.
The wooden blocks were made in two distinct heights; one for the cast metal, commonly known as a stereotype, used for graphic designs which could not be obtained from the use of type,and about twice the thickness of the engraved copper plate used to produce the halftone plate for photographic images