I am in the process of sorting 3 type cabinets worth of type I purchased and came across this in one of the ornament drawers. It is an ATF pamphlet with some tissue paper that contained three different size single type. A 4pt, 8pt, and 12pt that according to the pamphlet contain the entire Lord’s prayer. They are dirty and are soaking at the moment but I could see something is in fact there. Has anyone else come across anything like this before? The pamphlet says this demonstrates ATF’s superior process in manufacturing type.
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That was a pretty cool promo piece. I believe it was done using their Benton engraver.
The Arm Letterpress
You are correct. It mentions the Benton. It’s just really hard to imagine this was possible.
A wonderful find.
I did read about this before-
Thanks for letting us know there are some still out there.
Thanks for the link. I have since used some magnification to look at the type and can see something is there on the larger two of the three pieces. I still find it hard to believe they did this on the 4pt piece. Amazing.
I’ve got the ‘lord’s prayers in Dutch and in English. The Dutch was cast by either Enschedé or the Amsterdam Typefoundry, the English version, complete with a printed sheet was cast by Monotype.
I’ve got a handful of these as well, along with one inscribed with the “Ave Maria” or something like that. I’ve also come across a few Linotype promotional mats, stapled on a card, that will cast the Lord’s Prayer or the Alphabet in miniature on a 12 pt slug. Very neat stuff! I’ve never printed with mine, as I don’t want to separate them from their presentation packages… But if you print yours I’d love to see the result! Neat find.
Many of these “Wonders of Typemaking” souvenirs were given out by ATF. This is what they said about the 4 pt Lord’s Prayer: The matrix was cut, using the Benton, directly into nickel-alloy metal. It was the longest version of the Prayer, which was 66 words and 271 characters (including punctuation). It was spaced on 13 lines; of .0002 in. ea. The depth of cut was .00015 in. The box that I have has a date of 1927 on one of the included pieces (not a piece of type)
when I took priniting in 1960 our instructor showed us a piece of type with the lords prayer on it. We were all sceptical as we could see nothing, always wondered to this day it he was pulling our legs or what. Nice to finally know he was legit.
Thanks for all the helpful insight. I am not sure all three pieces that were wrapped in tissue with the pamphlet have the prayer on them. I can plainly see it on the 8pt piece, but, not the 12pt. The 4pt is ridiculus to see even with magnification. With magnification, I can see the words “Our Father” where the type is cleaner on the 8pt. I would have been skeptical too Vern if not able to see anything. It’s an amazing feat to think how this was done with a pantograph type machine.
I have one given to me by my supervisor who’s father in law started the Baltimore Type Company. Where he got it or if did it himself I don’t know. Ron
Hey folks..new poster here. I’ve been doing some research on some artifacts from my Dad’s collection of mostly R.R. Donnelly & Sons/Lakeside Press items when I ran across this message board. I have two of these type with the Lord’s Prayer on them. These were cast by the Lakeside Press …no date given. They are in an envelope with history of C.H. Beeler and again were used as a promotional item. Does anyone have any info on the Lakeside Press versions? I also have one of the printing plates used to print the farewell message from the last issue of the weekly edition of LIFE magazine December 1972. My Dad worked for Donnelly’s for 44 years.
@Noreaster: I have one of the Donnelley types. I was working for Donnelley when they celebrated their 125th anniversary and our division gave these out as souvenirs. The envelope they came in had some history about this type, so I’m uploading an image of the envelope. Hope this helps. (I think the image was resized automatically to fall within the upload guidelines).
Another attempt at the image upload…
lord's Prayer Type Small.JPG
Donnelley’s 125th Anniversary would have been in 1989. They were founded in 1864.
I would love to see a magnified image of the face of the actual specimens spoken about above. It sounds like a marvel to me.
I had heard about the Monotype version, probably during my apprenticeship; from memory, on a 12-point type; I was astonished to read about the smaller versions.
Many thanks for your info, and especially about the envelope bearing the description. [The envelope gives the best description of the piece; other descriptions have some incongruities.]
Now, all we need is for someone to find the right ink and the right paper to print some of these, direct from the type? But I would suggest surrounding the desired text with something else which is also type-high, to ease the pressure on the subject item.
We have one safely stored in an old aluminium film canister that i’ll attempt to take a shot of tonight. Not sure if the macro on my camera will allow it but worth a shot. I wouldn’t dare run it through the windmill by itself but would be willing to set it with some other type and pull a few prints on the C&P at some stage soon. To think these were created before laser cutters and CNC milling machines is pretty amazing.
D and d
I was only kidding about printing the Monotype character with the Lord’s Prayer on it.
I looked up, on Internet,
The Lord’s Prayer on Monotype
and spent an interesting hour reading; also discovered that Linotype produced a capital letters alphabet on a 6 point matrix, using the same processes as they did for producing ordinary characters.
Also found some interesting history, including the development of cylinder presses to replace platen presses.
It’s funny I see this as there’s something about this on ebay. Here’s the link:
This is really neat! Thanks for sharing.
A little off topic, but along similar lines. In the late 60s or early 70s the Russians sent a package to the folks at the Lawrence Radiation Lab in Livermore, CA, where my dad worked. It took a while to figure out what they had sent, but it turned out to be an almost microscopic bolt that actually had real threads on it. Keep in mind that this was during the cold war and the Russians were trying to show their technical ‘superiority’.
A little time went by and the Russians finally sent a message to LRL asking if they received the package because they had not heard a peep about it. LRL then replied that they had indeed received the package and that a response was already on the way back to Mother Russia.
LRL never heard a peep about it out of the Russians after that.
LRL had returned the microscopic bolt, but it also had a microscopic nut threaded onto it. True story.
One of the very few stories my dad ever told about anything that went on there.
Love that story, RIck, To think there was a time when that kind of brinksmanship mattered!
In my first year of vocational school our printing class went to the printing show in Boston (1963), atf was giving these out, i thought they were on a 10 point em, under strong magnification you could barely make out something, i saved it for years in the envelope they gave it out in, but can’t find it now.
There was also one with ave maria on it , i have one somewhere too ,was put in my hand with the comment take a pull off that if you can!
Here’s mine! It’s a 10pt. Mine has a little envelope with some information on the front. Thought I’d share!
Are you sure it was a bolt, and not a steel flea with miniature horseshoes?
Vettelove, you are off to a good start, how many presses do you have now???
@dickg Ha ha ha. Well…… I have one press without an ink disc and one press from eBay that was listed as a No. 5 6x9 Sigwalt, but the guy actually sent me a No. 4! Jealous of my amazing collection? HAHA! (eBay is handling the matter, we shall see what happens. The press without an ink disc, as you know, I bought for mega cheap as a hobby restoration project.)
I think you should start planning an addition or maybe a large garage, you have only been at this a short time and 2 presses already, it took me a couple of years to get a second press.
This is for terrybeg….I was given a Lord’s Prayer type, same a yours by and old friend that worked at RR Donnelly. I accidentally ruined it trying to clean it, and am really sick about it. Would you consider parting with one of yours?
I am part owner of a small print shop, and can be contacted at:
Thanks for your consideration.
Here’s another pic for those interested. I believe this is the ATF salesman sample.
I received a Lord’s Prayer type as a contest “prize”, in the late 1960s, in a Junior High School print shop class. We had a competition, for whoever could set their full name in type, the fastest, and I prevailed. I had it, for years, but it was misplaced when my mom moved from her home in Detroit, MI, in 1998.
After reading all the above postings, I did a quick eBay search, for “Lord’s Prayer type”, and actually found a new ATF 4 pt version for sale, for $18. The seller said her husband was an ATF salesman. Great find!
For the time being, anyway, you can see the ATF type listing on eBay, at:
Unique American Type Founders Sales Sample The Lord’s Prayer on 0553 Square | eBay
Arrived, today. Looks terrific! Appears to be in like new condition. I can’t read it with my inexpensive magnifying glass, but can definitely tell there’s something there. I will post a few photos, below.
I bought one a few weeks ago, and had to bring it into my “day job” to use a microscope in order to prove to myself it indeed contained the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father) passage. It was indeed there! Even at 100x magnification it was difficult to see, but it amazed me that it could be mechanically etched or milled to such fine detail into a matrix and cast to a degree to actually see it. Quite the novelty!
I display it at work with my “Smallest Bible In the World” —the entire Bible on a single 2x2inch microfilm page complete with 100x reader that NCR put out during the 1970’s to show their microfilm capabilities at a World’s Fair. I have another version of the entire Bible on a 20mm by 25mm microfilm mounted on a glass paperweight (origin unknown).
From Dan’s very early comment about ATF using the Benton engraving machine, then bolstered by KarlWS’ brochure from ATF, the assumption has been made that Monotype did the same, with their Benton machines. However, I found a rather arcane piece of information that Monotype used a variation of the Benton called the Pierpoint, that was developed by Legros and Grant, that incorporated a number of improvements for making Monotype punches. I thought I had never seen one, then remembered that M&H Type at one time had machinery that came out of Monotype. Sure enough, in looking at some of my past photos, there was a Pierpoint, big as life, and until a couple of days ago, I had assumed that it was a Benton. So I think it is safe to say that Monotype used a Pierpoint to engrave their version of the Lord’s Prayer. See:
Legros and Grant! That is interesting stuff, Fritz. Did you see that their book Typographical Printing Surfaces is online? It isn’t the best scan, but the 1916 printing is expensive and hard to find.
Dan—That’s exactly where I found the reference to the Pierpoint engraving machine. I had never seen a copy of Legros and Grant’s book, and though this scan is difficult to read, there is an amazing amount of information on type founding in it. When I have time, I plan on reading more of it. And that book is now 100 years old and it discusses so much that has disappeared in the mean time. Way back at the ATF conference in 1990 at Harold Berliners, two fellows showed up in coat and tie to the opening reception (everyone else was dressed very casually) and I started talking to them and found out they worked for Adobe. I asked them why on Earth were they attending a type casting/hot metal event and they responded that as their company was entering the “font” business, they had been acquiring old type catalogs and found out that “you guys had already figured out everything about type.” And if you recall computer type in the 1980s, a lot of it was very rough and unsophisticated. So maybe there is redeeming value to how the “old guys” did it.
I would imagine that one of those guys was Sumner Stone. He told me he had some contact with Giampa back in the day before everything got swamped. There were even plans for some matrix work and casting that never panned out- one of THOSE sad tales.
There was a copy of the Legros & Grant at the Dale Guild with which I had the opportunity to spend some quality time. I would imagine it resides in Belgium.
Dan Jones in Canada has a Pierpoint machine:
There may be several of these engravers that have survived. It appears that English Monotype used these Benton style machines as well as U.S. Monotype, Linotype, and maybe Intertype.
At Monotype Hot Metal, at the Type Archive in London, we still use a Pierpoint machine to cut punches. It’s been modified to make the punchcutting process more systematised (and I’ll write something about that, one day). The Benton Waldo pantograph was used to cut all punches above 24pt (and some at 24pt), and also to engrave the buttons on Monotype keyboards.
One crucial difference between the US Lord’s Prayer types and English Monotype is that Monotype cut a punch, which was then struck into a matrix blank, rather than engraving the matrix directly.
My English Monotype version has the “for thine is the Kingdom” ending used by the Church of England, but not generally heard in Catholic Churches.
At the St Bride Library we hold a 12pt version of “Ave Maria” cast by Nebiolo in the early 1960s. A solid gold version was made for the Vatican and I believe it is still held in their archives according to paperwork at St Bride.
I P E X (International Printing Exhibition) Usually at Earls Court but overflow at Olympia, Mid Sixties etc.
The Monotype Stand was immediately opposite the Linotype Stand, effectively *facing each other off*. The bigger crowd was generally around the Monotype outfit, probably because the sheer volume of the sound attracted the most attention. . Large mirrors above also helped.
Every machine (Mono) was demo`d during attendance times, the One that attracted more than its fair share! was that fitted the Comparatively new Acoustic Hood, fine in principle, but NOT too well liked by the Operators, made it difficult for some operations.
The one plus was, Every visitor received, A Lords Prayer on the obligatory 12 Pt. body, with the precautionary note that it was NOT Type High.
In later years, on visits to the Works at Salfords Redhill visitors were presented with a Lapel Badge depicting a Standard Rig, Composition Caster, (Gold Appearance but probably only Plated) still have both, somewhere.!!
A friend of mine gave me the Lord’s Prayer on a one square a pica piece of type. I ruined it by trying to clean it with a wire brush….please be careful with this. remember that it is soft.
I was sickened when I realized what I did. Would you be open to selling yours to me?
contact is [email protected]
The U.K. Monotype Corporation of blessed memory, down at Salfords used to give their 12 point version to visitors as a souvenir. To show off their punch-cutting, matrix making, and casting skills. I have one somewhere. But in later years I have come to be even more amazed by the work of Stephenson Blake Ltd in making type like their 12 point copperplate script on the angled body. Or the Monotype Corporation’s 6 point Gill Sans Titling in the number 4 size.
which prints about 2 point!
These were cast in very large numbers as giveaways. They are novelty pieces, cut and cast by many different foundries, including Monotype on both sides of the Atlantic, which cast the Lord’s prayer in 12, 18 and 24pt. The British Monotype version has extra lines of text (compared with the US versions) as a nod to their “superior” engineering skills (there was great rivalry between the American and UK engineering divisions of Monotype).
In Italy, Nebiolo cast the “Ave Maria” in similar style, including a solid gold example which was presented to the Vatican library.
I’m still tinkering with this Pierpont Monotype engraving machine. It is a “punch cutter” that makes steel punches of the type face; of course, the Benton engraves a matrix directly.
Just for interest, the tool box for this machine contained a punch engraved with the complete alphabet.
InkSprite’s comment re Transatlantic rivalry between the two
Monotype firms is right, but one should bear in mind the
UK firms tradition of appointing Americans as Salfords Works Managers. And wasn’t Frederick Warde …. or do I recall that wrong. I do recall Mrs W. what a woman!
With my experience using type and ink being minimal, is it ridiculous to ask if the different sizes can still be purchased?, even if they were actual sized reproductions? I purchased a couple “litho stones” just to have examples of different stages of the technologies of printing. Items like this can be used for interesting “chit-chat” when a press approval is not going as well as preferred. above all though, it would be cool to have. I find it incredible, the dedication to perfection, the level of craftsmanship these people displayed with tooling of the day. I was reading on this over then weekend during a press run, that, a couple of the engravers ended up either very sick or insane from the mental pressure i believe. the end of engraving tool invisible to the naked eye. Very impressive stuff here. thanks for the info.