Why there are 3 nicks on a lead type

Hi there,

I encountered an old lead type that comes with 3 nicks.
Do anyone know what is this, and what is the purpose of having 3 nicks on a lead.

What i know is the type is from Stephenson Blake and Co.


image: IMG_2346.JPG


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Sometimes a foundry would cast different point sizes on the same body, the nicks would help to identify the different sizes. In my cases, I’ve got 5pt cast on 6 pt, 6pt cast on 6 pt (2 nicks); 8pt on 10 pt and 10 pt on 10 pt (here again 2 nicks). For instance, the Amsterdam Typefoundry did cast a series of Garamond with a small x-height and with a large x-height. The nicks show you what you’re handling…

A picture that I took at Rainer Gerstenberg’s workshop in Darmstadt, Germany, showing the different nicks that the Univers family required.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/14567444806/in/album-72157625...

some nicks were cast, extra nicks ploughed into the finished type.

This was also common in lining faces such as Copperplate Gothic, which the Spartan above would seem to be a copy. Lining faces might have four sizes on the same body and baseline, very difficult to distinguish the middle two.
Lining faces, like the Copperplate and Commercial Gothics and Engraver’s Roman, were once absolutely essential for any job or social printer. Now the digital versions are more likely to be used in display work; sad to see the fine made coarse.

hi Parallel_imp and thomas gravemaker.

thanks for the information.
i have another question, so is there any other function beside easy to identity the point size and the foundry for the lead?


An important function of the nick or nicks is to let the compositor know, by touch, which way to place the piece of type into his stick.