Want brand new foundry type?


If you want brand new type in hard cast foundry, not monotype quality, don’t hesitate no more: Since last year, Mr. Rainer Gerstenberg, former employee of D. Stempel AG, works on his own under the firm “Druckerei Gerstenberg” at Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt, Germany. He can cast the most typefaces from european founders (Stempel, Haas, Deberny & Peignot, Nebiolo etc. from designers like Rudolf Koch or Roger Excoffon). Some of the mats date from the 17th century and he still works with them, using his great skills and long experience as a type-founder. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any apprentee and we don’t know how long he will continue the buisness. You can’t imagine what this would mean - all the machines and the mats of the almost entire european typographic heritage would be “lettre morte”…
He can cast on american type hight and he is also able to supply single letters of several fonts to replace broken or missing ones


(click on metal typeface inquiry for the type specimens and the prices)


Best wishes from Philipp (Freiburg, Germany)

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I have ordered a couple of times from Herr Gerstenberg, and have been delighted with the type he cast. Would recommend without reservation.
Emily Hancock
St Brigid Press

I agree. Herr Gerstenberg’s types are the best on the planet. Far superior from the last types I got from Dale Guild. The only downside is that he only casts Didot, so you have to purchase spacing material as well.



didnt this person issue a contrary statement, saying he could cast american type height?

Type height and body size are different things. Didot type can be milled to .918” height after casting, but the body size is not in Anglo-American points.

With respect and I will happily be corrected ON LINE should I be wrong, D.T.P. appears to have inadvertantly corroborated (in advance , Thank you) my post!!!
During 35 years of casting type and using a large array of UNIVERS, composition and display, always worked on the principle that *Didot* implied, actual FACE size only ever sat atop a larger body size, i.e. 6/7 7/8 8/9 etc etc but there were anomolies in that there was, for example 10 didot univers on 11 point, and 10 Point Univers cast on 10 Point mould, but in any every case the beard, ascenders and decenders, (with non standard alignment) could be accomodated, successfully.
As D.T.P. implies obviating the need for bastard size moulds and (in)-appropriate spacing material.
Never more so, than in the death throes of hot metal, and the price of odd size moulds.!!!
This especially prompted, (Much to Monotype,s distaste) even more **MUMPING**???
The process whereby firms, that cast Type ran a *You scratch my back and I will scratch Yours* loan system, not very patriotic, but needs must, when the Devil was driving!!!

The thought struck me that the metal type community should get together and initiate some crowd sourcing to get him an apprentice or apprentices. If I were younger and without caregiving responsibilities, I’d do it for free.


Here’s a picture to add to parallel_imp’s description. The dimension labeled “Point Body” (that is, body size) is the one which would now be manufactured either to American Point sizes or Didot Point sizes. This dimension is, as parallel_imp notes, distinct from “Height to Paper” or “type height” (shown to the American 0.918 standard in the illustrations; type height elsewhere varies).

David M.

image: Type Anatomy from ATF TY-111

Type Anatomy from ATF TY-111

Interesting: that diagram has ‘beard’ and and ‘shoulder’ swapped from what I understood to be their definitions. I wonder if that’s a UK/US difference. Or if I’ve been using the wrong terminology…

I recall reading an English source which “swapped” the beard/shoulder identifications - but I cannot now remember which source it was. So I checked Legros & Grant’s “Typographical Printing Surfaces” (1916) which is (a) English, and (b) still the most comprehensive text on the subject. To my surprise, they identify “shoulder” and “beard” in the same way that ATF does. Curious. I’ll try to attach an image from p. 11 of L&G showing their usage.

To add to the confusion, a couple of pages later (p. 14) they are discussing the dimensions of type (vs. feature names) and say that the dimension from the baseline to the nick-side of the type (which in their Fig. 4 would be dimension 8 less dimension 5) is “… frequently referred to as a dimension, and called the beard.” That’s a usage I had not encountered at all.

I’d be interested in finding an English reference which shows beard/shoulder reversed from US usage. I’m sure that it exists, but I just can’t seem to recall it this morning.

BTW, L&G is getting to be a bit expensive as a physical volume. Google has scanned it, but their scan is not viewable outside of the US (because the date of death of John Cameron Grant, “England’s Empire Poet,” is unknown, there is the remote chance that it remains in copyright in the UK). So I’ve put my own scan of it online on The Internet Archive (which does not, I believe, restrict international viewing). See:


David M.

image: Legros & Grant. "Typographical Printing Surfaces." (1916) p. 11.

Legros & Grant. "Typographical Printing Surfaces." (1916) p. 11.

Just to clarfiy: Rainer does not »cast on American type height«, he can finish to it. Casting is done in stock height.
Finishing to .918 is available, but all on a Didot body. Spacing material is available, too.

Checking Monotype Corp »Book of information« and it’s true, beard and shoulder are mixed here (being»beard« the space to descender).

Interesting. You learn a lot by asking questions here that seem obvious to you, but others are more familiar with/find much use in the answers.

Lars - I’d found the same reference in Monotype too, but you beat me to it :)

It’s clearly not exclusively Monotype terminology, though - attached is a grab from Biggs’ ‘An Approach to Type’, which even has definitions of the words, in case the arrows aren’t clear.

But look! “In some books called ‘the beard’”. At least it was known that there was some confusion…

image: approach_to_type.jpg


Hey Nick, look, it also has your name on it! ;)

It is just possible that some of the names of the detail parts of type were not referred to in the print room ,why would they be ?
If you had rollers that were to set down hard on the “type” you would create a problem of ink printing from areas around the face of the type we called it inking of the shoulders , however we never used the term beard , yet again same problem and same solution to it was when printing from a “plate” we referred to the shoulder proper as the background . To my knowledge the beard is a reference to the length of the distance of the measure from the face to the shoulder ,this being angled in the drawings shown would be a different calculation to that of the shoulder ,which i was taught was the depth of the cut of the face or the plate ,this could be correctly called undercut too but that has been tied to that of the difference between the height of a cylinder bearer/and the surface of the unpacked cylinder on any form of cylinder press .
It also has a description that in print is out of sorts with other descriptions , height ,width and depth , we sit 918 type height in a bed of a press machined to 918 depth and the printed letter on the sheet measures in height but on the type that height of letter as printed is measured in its depth .
All very confusing to those not initiated in the world of printers , known by many as the dark arts for a very good reason !!

Looks like Monotype borrowed the drawings from Legros&Grant … this is from a Monotype Corp. leaflet entitled »A leaflet for students of typography«. Not the same but very close.

image: type109.jpg