Perpetua Medium Italic

Hi all - can anyone advise what “Perpetua Medium Italic” might be or look like? I am familiar with ‘Monotype 239 Perpetua Italic’, but can’t find a reference to a ‘Medium Italic’ anywhere.
Could it be one of the other ‘Perpetuas’ on the list link below?
Perhaps 561?

Help appreciated!

Log in to reply   8 replies so far

Ken, just did a quick trawl of Volumes One & Two *Monotype* specimen book of printing Types, (undated but inherited) from Monotype direct, when a lot was bound for the Skip, mid to late 70,s ish!!! . . Only listed, by Series!! are 200 Bold Italic, 239 (unspecified but taken as read, standard weight face) 258 Titling, (caps Only) 280 Light Titling, (caps only) 461 Bold, & 480 Titling (caps only).
This only a brief trawl and only, from 2 Monotype specimen books to hand, I have a fairly comprehensive assortment of other Specimen Books, Mail me via B.P. and I will happily trawl further, if you wish.
Please accept my riders, *in brackets* as being aimed at the New Devotees, who may be reading ***TITLING*** for the fist time.???
In the case of 2 alphabet faces, i.e. upper & lower case, as in Perpetua & perpetua bold, (and I have cast Both) the Matrices were struck for Composition from 6 point up to 14 point, and then from 14 point up to 72 point, with Matrices from the Lending Library. In some cases it was possible to get 14 point Mats/Dicases for Composition AND 14 point in Display format (hired) for use on the Supercaster… .
It was also possible to acquire, from 14 point up to 24 point , Diecases/Matrix cases for large Type Composition, i.e. Childrens Books and similar, but involved some modifications to the Standard Casting Machine.
As I post I have 2 sets in front of me, as negotiable currency, on B.P. or E bay, eventually!!!. . Feel free, Mail me, if I may be of help. Mick

Thanks Mick - have sent an offline, let me know if you don’t get it.

Monotype was not the only foundry to produce Perpetua faces.

In 1930 Stephenson Blake introduced Perpetua, slightly bolder than the Monotype version introduced from 1925; Millington describes the face as a joint project between SB and Monotype.

I only have the 1969 SB catalogue; this shows only Perpetua and Perpetua Italic; I wonder if in earlier catalogues they might possibly have offered different weights? Jaspert, Berry & Johnson show only Perpetua (Roman only, no Italic) for SB, plus Perpetua Bold (Roman and Italic), Perpetua Titling, Perpetua Bold Titling, and Perpetua Light Titling for Monotype.

Thanks Free Presse, and following on from Mick’s comments, it looks like there may be a ‘bold italic’ and an ‘italic’, but no ‘medium italic’.
(Just to clarify, I was using ‘monotype’ in the general sense of coming out of mt casters, which I assume most suppliers were using in the UK. I’d be very interested to know if this assumption is right)
I do have a draw full of SB Perpetua, and a smaller drawer of Mouldtype. They do line up extremely well, but as you note are just different enough……. :o)

Stephenson Blake used Bruce pivotal casters, much altered and improved by SB’s in-house engineers. Founders’ type was a significantly different alloy to the alloys used in Monotype casters, requiring significantly higher metal pump pressures and had a higher melting point.

In contrast, other UK type foundries that operated into the post WW2 period (Adana, Mouldtype, Riscatype, Startype) were equipped with Monotype casters, most notably supercasters. All of this class of type founders appear to have installed additional heating coils in their caster pots to enable them to use harder alloys than regular Monotype alloys.

So you are correct in your belief that the majority of UK founders post-WW2 used Monotype casters and availed themselves extensively of Monotype’s hire library of matrices to avoid purchasing exhaustive sets of matrices themselves. I have no handle however on their various shares of the market, save that in 1914 SB, Caslon and Miller & Richard jointly accounted for 2,000 of the 3,000 tons of type sold annually in the UK. This would suggest that after SB bought Caslon in 1937, SB may have accounted for 50% of the UK type market - but I have no real feel for the volume of trade that the Monotype-equipped foundries (which were all established after the launch of Monotype’s supercaster in the late 1920s) accounted for.

By 1939 the UK market for type had fallen to 1,000 tons a year; I have no information on export markets. Miller & Richard ceased operations in 1952. The only other significant traditional (non-Monotype-equipped UK foundry) was Stevens, Shanks & Co which ceased casting type in the early 1970s. SB seems to have outlasted the Monotype-equipped foundries mentioned above (except Startype?), though by a scant margin, closing in the late 1990s. The name was revived for a few years in the 2000s but the new company cast only Mazak type as far as I know.

Only a well-informed industry insider would have a feel for the market shares possessed by the founders in the post-WW2 period. Based on the proportions of various founders’ type I’ve encountered in closing down sales and dispersals of Uk printers’ composing rooms in the 1990s, I’d guess (and I emphasise that it is no more than a guess) that the Monotype-equipped founders may have jointly accounted for half to two-thirds of the post-WW2 UK type market.

The above omits micro-foundries and part-time type casting enterprises, a handful of which currently operate in the UK.

Thanks very much for this insight - much appreciated!
I wonder if any of the ‘hot pot’ casters are still operating…

The circuitous root website has an excellent ‘family tree’ of UK founders.

I’m told that when Riscatype closed in c.1984 either Mouldtype or Startype swooped in and bought up their additional pot heating coils, apparently to enure that no other founder used them. Startype closed in the late 1980s; Mouldtype closed c.1992. Some of their casters went to Supertype, a small scale founding operation set up by one of the owners of Startype. I’d imagine that Supertype might be operating casters with additional heating coils. Of the handful of other micro-foundries operating in the 1990s and later, I only have detailed knowledge of Acorntype - that foundry definately did not possess additional heating coils. I do not know whether Adana had additional heating coils but dopubt whether they did. I very much doubt that any of the three or so micro-foundries in the UK that operate at present run casters with additional heating coils.

As well as the circuitousroot website, the bitish website has useful information on current and recently closed UK foundries.

Some of the information on these two excellent website is not quite up to date. Brian Hubbard, who ran a micro-foundry, died 2008 - see obituary in Printing History News no.23, 2009 which is available online. This issue also carried an obituary for John Eickhoff, the proprietor of Acorntype until it closed in 2005.

>Some of the information on these two excellent website is not quite up to date.

Thanks for the information and sources - though the Eickhoff obituary is in PHN No. 22 (the previous issue). I’ve updated the entries for Acorntype and Hubbard TF, and added brief entries for Eickhoff and Hubbard.
The “family tree” may not be updated for a while - the underlying technology used for it isn’t quite up to the task. It’s best used to get a general feeling for the “texture” of the history of the industry, anyway.

For the back numbers of Printing History News, see:

David M.