scheme for fonting up type

I need a chart or guide for properly fonting loose type from my cases. Not finding much help online or in my reference books.
Thanks. Teri

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Teri, if you mean what? pro rata, ratio of any/every given letter to every other given letter, in a complete/comprehensive full font or case, was basically as follows:- For general use in trade houses, the relative sizes of the compartments in a standard case, was a good yardstick for a start, with generally, (caps or lower case) A E N O R S T being the ones to run short first, therefore,*in house,* Casting Dept,s were always topping up cases accordingly. When display Mats (14 to 72 point were hired in) there was always an extra percentage of some characters cast up on galleys, as spare sorts, and in particular “decade by decade” extra figures, as even now, dates will require lots of “2”,s and lots of “0”,s i.e. A.D. 20?? etc. Way back corners could be cut, in the case of display size cases, to keep the weight down (comps hernia,s in mind) X,s Z,s Ligatures Dipthongs could be paired to the bone and substituted with extra caps.>>>>> It should not be too difficult to find, font size, schemes and schedules<<< (still, as here in U.K.) from your existing type suppliers, specified as 3A, 5A, or 3a, 5a, etc etc, calculated for general use, to give a reasonable cross section of requirements. >>Of course if you corner a Niche Market with repetative orders kept as standing type, it may become necessary to source TOP UP fonts, which may still be available, but at a price?? Hope this helps a little, Apologies if it doesnt! Good Luck, MICK

The best fonting chart was published by American Type Founders, but you have to know how the fonts you are trying to put together were originally calculated. In that way you can determine how many fonts you might have in your cases.

Here is a link to the AAPA information pages which will give you the numbers, but it won’t give you the info for the original size and count of each font. That info must be gleaned from original catalogue entries.


to all

For the count of types in a font (fount) it may depend on whether you are setting US English or UK English; that might color (colour) the number of “u” needed, which surprizes (surprises) a few, including those who spell UK English word “surprises” with a “z” in place of the “s”.

We tried moulding the word “:and” also the word “the” in headline type for the morning newspaper; this was not popular because with our stereotyping system, 48 point shrunk (shrank?) to about 45 point. The foreman had said that there had been some discussion to put these two words on the linotype, but this possibly was not practicable.

During WW2 the morning daily used US spelling for news, but retained UK spelling for advertisements; it may have been supposed that more news could be fitted in? [The afternoon daily printed such things as tide tables in the gutter between the pages.] Shortly after peace, we went to UK spelling, except that the management of the newspaper did not favour one of the major political parties in Australia, the Australian Labor Party, so used the spelling Australian Labour Party until someone pointed out that it was a name and the newspaper should use the same spelling as the organisation. [The ALP had a convulsion and now claims to support all levels of society, not just “labourers”.]

The linotype keyboard appears to cater for people who favour spelling the UK way; I wonder why, if the first Mergenthaler was made in US.

At primary school, we used UK English and the headmaster cautioned us to spell the word “jewellery”, not “jewelry”.

At the commercial print shop where I worked for 9 weeks (8 or 9 weeks too long for them and me) the comps kept an eye on all jobs being put through, there was a severe shortage of the lower case “r” in Ronaldson 10 point, and those still in existence were badly worn. The other comps said they had had a Typograph (I think) but I never saw any sign of it. I suggested (not to management) that they buy some sorts to make up their founts, but eventually the shop became a stationery supply only.

Would it be advisable to carefully keep a list of the number of each type in the original (new) founts, and over years write in any deficiencies? Also keep track of which types appear to be wearing faster than the lesser-used types. Alternatively, one could take several typical lengthy jobs and count the characters?


PS: Proofreading correction; remove the colon from the word “:and” near the beginning of the post.


to all

re number of types in a fount: Some believe that the language used affects this. Some Australians notice any mis-spellings in notices, and advise to try to understand the advice presented. Such as which spelling system is favored (favoured)? Some Australians have a problem with the two words “affect” and “effect”; there is a technical word “affect” as a noun.

Does anyone spell the verb as “advize”?


Known as ‘Fount Schemes’ or ‘Synopses’ in the UK.

Many foundry catalogues gave examples; a few (usually post World War Two) present a table giving schemes of various sizes, either in relation to the number of ‘A’ or ‘a’, or sometimes in relation to another letter. Older published typography books and printing textbooks tend to give schemes based on weight e.g. an old UK standard was the breakdown of a 1,000 pound weight fount of 12pt type containing 4,200 ‘m’ - but that is far too large for modern needs (it would occupy many cases) and attempting to reduce the numbers of each letter in proportion leads to inbalances if it is reduced to the weight of a very small fount.

Here are some links to a range of smaller and more useful schemes / synopses:

The accompanying text contains some useful and thought-provoking detail on why individual printers frequently need to vary smaller schemes to suit their own needs.