Letterpress version of Caslon available?

hrant's picture

A "mil" is 1/1000-th of an inch. If you had read my ATypI "Presswork Critique" link you'd know. But also, it's in the dictionary. So Jim's "three-one-thousandths of an inch" is 3 mils. Gain certainly varies a lot, but interestingly for a common class of printing it seems to hover around 1 mil, and apparently this average hasn't changed much at least since Dwiggins's time (when he noted that is was 1 mil). The other three parties I mentioned have all arrived at values of around 1 mil for typical gain, and it's very telling that they've done so independently.

BTW:
1) More than anybody I wish Jim would stop using you as a proxy.
2) I am American mostly on paper. I don't usually drink instant coffee. I prefer tea. But most of all, I prefer serving an especially potent brew of Armenian coffee, as I'm doing now.
3) You're not talking about Democracy (which I hate), you're talking about Glasnost (which I love, although Putin is ten times the man Gorbachev was).

--

Anyway, again trying to expose the wheat:
Do you agree or not that letterpress type generally looks darker than the equivalent font printed offset?

hhp

hrant's picture

> too much lost time

I forgot to point out that this is (most probably) the argument used today by designers who know about trapping, and think there's an advantage to incorporating them, but don't actually do it simply because it's too much work doing it right - the benefit is admittedly secondary. I can accept that - making money in type design is hard enough without such idealism. And in fact there are certainly some wonderful fonts out there (past and present) which don't have trapping but nonethless deserve to be classified very highly on the scale of text faces. But they're not on the pinnacle.

And soon, saving effort will no longer be an excuse... :-)

--

In terms of the earliest example of trapping I'm personally aware of, it would have to be from the early 18th century:

fleisch8.gif

This is from H Carter's "Optical Scale in Typefounding".

But Fleischmann was in a stratosphere of his own, at least in the technical realm. If you ever put an unaided pantograph to his stuff, I'll send some burly Rotterdam dockworkers after you! :-)

BTW, interestingly, J

serafino's picture

Hrant,

Still waiting for that phone number, speaking of proxy.

I hate to differ about your massive shear trapping tripe, but that is a design feature. Sorry.

As far as these people that trap types for the "globular printing industry" I am not sure how this fits into the Caslon Oldstyle discussion?

But this might.

If you applied, what "you imagine to be" massive shear trapping on Caslon, would there be any metal left? How many "crucibles of magical globular ink" would you put on so you could read it? From what I can make out a lowercase "e" would imitate a word space. Is there a special mantra for instance? There is a special mantra isn't there?

Now wait a minute, if you didn't put the ink on, you wouldn't have to take it off! Are you playing with my mind or what?

You are going to have to go real slow here. For some reason I am just not getting it.

I don

serafino's picture

Hrant,

I think sometimes you confuse ink trapping with "light trapping" and at other times with "optical scaling". Why do you avoid the "optical scaling issue"? We don't all print lunch bags you know.

Gerald Lange

Have you managed to teach Hrant anything about the hot metal Monotype systems yet. Might be a good time to do that?

Gerald Giampa

serafino's picture

Hrant,

Have you looked at the crotches with the vodoo massive ink trapping that you "imagine to have been" applied in the Fleischman example?

They are still filled in. Really roundy like. Actually the crotches without the massive shear as clearly illustrated in the lowercase "d" are sharper.

Did Fleischman know the Mantra? Or was his throat sore that day? I'll bet yours isn't! Yet!



Gerald Giampa

serafino's picture

Hrant,

So how many M of an inch to a point? How many points to a pica? How many M are there to a pica? Are those French inches or English? Is the French inch bigger or smaller. Surely with your 60 hours of hot metal experience they taught you the point and pica system. In fact that must have been all they had time to teach you.

I imagine reading all about this in your ATPi article? I look forward to it.


Gerald Giampa

hrant's picture

> Still waiting for that phone number

What phone number? If you mean Mendoza y Almeida's, I'd have to ask for permission; and since I'd myself advise him not to give it, I won't bother asking him, OK? But if you mean Rimmer's, I don't need it: I have his email.

> For some reason I am just not getting it.

But I already told you the reason: it's against your religion.

hhp

serafino's picture

Hrant,

Well you don't have to get sore at me about it? Gee, just asking? I didn't know I had a religion. You aren't drinking that tea again are you? My grandmother told me to stay away from that stuff.

Anyway if you come up with anything respectable in the way of evidence write me, I am interested. And if you can get over the personality conflict we might be able

hrant's picture

Yallabye.

----

Today I was going through some old issues of Quaerendo (looking for something else), and I spotted a review of the autobiography of P H R

bieler's picture

Hrant

Copy requested.

Interesting, does this mean the "digitboy" is creeping ever closer to the organic origins, dare I say it, calligraphy!!!

Gerald

hrant's picture

Organic, always. But not the hand, the eye/brain.
BTW, I've been wondering, why don't people do foot calligraphy? I mean people with arms.

hhp

Miss Tiffany's picture

The more I look at your two latest images, Hrant, the less I see traps as something to aid printers. They "read" more as an aid in letter definition at small sizes, which is back to the use of traps for optical assistance. The fact that they also help printing is only a by-product.

I openly admit that it is Monday morning and I can't speak English, let alone write it yet.

The Fleischmann, those "traps" are soooooo huge. I wouldn't call those traps, they seem part of the design. Granted I don't know this face, but still, they seem to be more part of the design. Don't they?

Hrant, will you be making that into a PDF?? :-)

hrant's picture

> the less I see traps as something to aid printers.

You could in fact say that traps are a way for the type designer to reach the reader (the real reader) with less interference by bad presswork.

> they seem part of the design

Fleischmann was strange. Look at #65 in the Enschede inventory. Nobody has figures that out yet.

But also note:
1) The point size (8). Don't understimate the effects of scale!
2) I think those are enlargements of the punches, not the printing. The latter would have filled in somewhat. But you're right, not completely: traps are indeed partly optical, especially in smaller sizes. But only partly.

hhp

serafino's picture

Tiffany,

Those traps are just soooooooooo huge Fleischman must have been on a friggin Safari hunt trying to trap the "Big White Rhino".

One things for sure. He was no stranger to danger!

No question about it Tiffany. Drinking that tea will do it to you every time. That' what my grandmother told me. Stay away from that tea.

I'm back fans, did yah miss me?

Gerald Giampa

hrant's picture

But you're forgetting, Caslon was to Fleischmann what Lanston is to Enschede: very little.

hhp

bieler's picture

"Heres Johnnie!!"

hrant's picture

What's heart-wrenching is that he made such a semblance of a graceful exit, considering his pants were down - it was enough for me to let him leave in peace. But now that he's strolling back in, his front might be too much to "bare"...

hhp

hrant's picture

Tiffany, I just made a composite for you:

composite.jpg

The background is cropped from my metal scan from before, and overlaid on it is an actual print I've made from Pascal 60.

You can see: there's no gain; the bodies are not solid.

I made that print (on good paper) because I wanted to repoduce the exact letterform outlines, for tracing - so I didn't care about having solid bodies. The point is, that's the only way I managed to avoid any gain (and I only managed that because I had a master printer holding my hand through the process). If I had wanted to make the bodies solid as well as maintaining letterform fidelity, I'd have had to be Gerald Lange myself. And there are very few of those.

So in real printing such ideal results almost never happen, basically because a non-solid body looks worse (to most people) than fattened outlines, and most printers will go "Huh?" if you mention something about the type designer's intentions... Like I've pointed out, even Bram de Does fattened Fleischmann's brisk foot serifs. Maybe he liked it that way, but it's anti-fidelity to the original.

The tendency is to go over, not under.
Note also that when you're setting up, removing ink is a major pain (you have to start over), but adding is trivial.

So there is generally too much ink and too much pressure, so there very much is gain. Not enough to justify the huge traps on the "b" (considering the large point size), but enough to justify the ones on the "d" for example. That "b" is in fact an exception in the overall font. Which makes me wonder, maybe the person putting in the traps (which would most probably not have been Mendoza y Almeida) was going alphabetically, overdid the "b" (and fixing it was decided against, since they might have had to make a new matrix), but then got it right for all the rest.

--

As for your point about Fleischmann's huge shears being a design decision, I can't deny that's a partial possibility (unlike people who apparently can deny that gain not only exists, but is the norm), but in the case of Yellow, I can be sure it was gain compensation, because I asked the guy. And why would Fleischmann not have followed the same mental path towards that design feature? I'd guess that contemporary phone book printing is comparable in gain to newspaper printing 250 years ago (and that's what that Fleischmann 8 point was made for).

hhp

bieler's picture

Hrant

I think you meant they may have botched the punch (not the matrix - that would be easy to redo) for the b. If trapping were to be a finishing process then perhaps the b was thought wrong and a different procedure was applied to subsequent letterforms but they may not have gone back to the b and redone it. Guessing as well. Bit of an oddity.

In _Counterpunch_ there is some discussion about the procedure for small text sizes that may have some relevance to Fleischmann. Small text sizes were not initially used in early printing as I recall and when introduced there was some concern about their legibility. I think that's in _Counterpunch_.

hrant's picture

> I think you meant they may have botched the punch

Yeah. Ouch.
BTW, who was Tetterode's punchcutter at that time?

Small sizes: I think newspapers were probably the first to go that low, I guess for economic reasons - they had to print tens of thousands of copies each day, and the stuff was "disposable".

I'll check Counterpunch.

hhp

hrant's picture

> botched the punch

But wait, the "b" in Lindegren's 48 point sample has the same thing...
Although it's relatively less large at that size.

hhp

Miss Tiffany's picture

Taking into consideration the idea of printing for newspapers, perhaps these so-called traps* were used with the flong in mind. Maybe?

*Is this what they were called by the person putting them into the types?

Miss Tiffany's picture

Boys!!! For the love of Mike, please play nice!!!

hrant's picture

I think I used to know what a flong is, but no longer... Can you remind me?

> Is this what they were called by the person putting them into the types?

Who, Fleischmann? Who knows. And anyway, you don't need a word if you don't talk to anybody about it. There was no Punchcutters Club of Benelux...

I think Kent previously explained the origin of the term (and that it meant the gain itself, not its compensation).

hhp

bieler's picture

Hrant

Have you read the chapter on Fleischmann in _Typefoundries in the Netherlands_ (short title) by Ch. Enschede (edited by Harry Carter), 1978?

I have a copy of this if you haven't seen it.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Flong. Are you teasing me again? Flongs were used to print before they could make plates for the drum.

As googled: Claude Genoux and Nicholas Serriere improved the system for making page moulds on papier mache flongs, as they came to be called. A flong prepared from flat type could be curved to permit moulding of the cylindrical type needed for a rotary press. Flongs were used until recent times when the introduction of offset presses and computer technology revolutionised the printing process.

So the word trap is something currently used to describe a detail in the design of certain types?

hrant's picture

Gerald, I don't have the 1978. I'd love to see it.

Tiffany, then I don't get what a flong has to do with trapping.

Trap is indeed the main term used today, and trapping is the activity... and people who do trapping for a living are called trappist monks. ;-)

hhp

Miss Tiffany's picture

Sarcasm? Haha! :^)

Ok. So my line of thinking, if I can call it that, would be with flongs in mind ... Because the flongs are made of paper mache, basically, an exaggerated trap or just trap would help maintain some semblance of a thin, in terms of lettershape contrast, when pressed into a flong and in turn printed.

bieler's picture

Tiffany

I doubt very much trapping would have been a consideration in the stereotype process, where the flong was used. The process was used from the late 17th century into the mid twentieth.

Combinations of tissue paper, papier mache, even plaster of Paris would be used to create a mould from an existing type form. Later on, plastics.

With the invention of the rotary cylinder press in the mid-nineteenth century, the flong would be used as you suggest. It would be bent into a semi-circle and a new casting made from this. This casting would then be locked onto the printing cylinder.

But I doubt, that trapping would have been a consideration. While a secondary reproduction, these were quite accurate.

Miss Tiffany's picture

It was just a wild historical guess based on what little I know and understand about traps.

:-)

bieler's picture

Though, maybe you are on to something. Stereotypes were used for long extended runs, early on to save the original metal type (used for the initial casting) from wear. Commercial grade paper was at its lowest point in terms of quality by the mid nineteenth century and into the early twentieth, and perhaps in certain kinds of book work or for newspaper work, maybe trapping could have been a consideration. On the other hand this is a period of time (Industrial Revolution) where typographic concerns as we discern them today were somewhat non-existent, either forgotten or ignored.

bieler's picture

Hrant

In reading the Enschede it does seem to suggest that he was always the guy working on the small type, in fact one passage indicates he was specifically chosen for this. He must have been working the legibility thing somehow. But whatever secrets he had went with him to his grave.

hrant's picture

Tiffany, I think your line of thought at least deserves closer scrutiny.

> He must have been working the legibility thing somehow

Yes. I have some ideas as to how.

hhp

serafino's picture

Hrant,

"But wait, the "b" in Lindegren's 48 point sample has the same thing... Although it's relatively less large at that size."

serafino's picture

Hrant,

"(and I only managed that because I had a master printer holding my hand through the process)"

hrant's picture

> I would be happy to give you my sought after opinion

My own seeking ended when you basically admitted that you know nothing about the Benton optical scaling. That was the only interesting thing you had to offer to me, but it turned out that that snippet on your site was a hoax.

--

If you want to talk about Caslon, go ahead. I personally avoid hacks...

hhp

serafino's picture

Hrant,

About the "Fleischman Exemplar". Isn't that illustration from a work of Carter about optical scaling. Optical scaling bothers you doesn't it?

Quote below is yours. About the "Fleischman Exemplar". Exemplar, isn't that a cool word? Nicolas Barker uses it. Gotta be good.

hrant's picture

And I thought I had trouble taking a hint.

hhp

plainclothes's picture

you should probably stop posting here for a while, Mr
Giampa. clear your head. read the posts here once
more. stop making an a-- of yourself.

bieler's picture

Hrant

I don't see how you can expect to capture an elephant with eight-point type anyway. Very confusing. Best elephant trap I've heard of is:

Dig a deep hole
Fill it with ashes
Line the edge with peas

When the elephant comes to take a pea
Kick him in the ash hole

John Hudson's picture

There is no conversation happening in this thread any longer. I suggest we abandon it.

serafino's picture

John,

"Golden shower poets" what's next?
Good advice, I vote you five stars on that one.

The "Caslon Challenge" ended the discussion earlier anyway. See yah later fans.



Gerald Giampa

hrant's picture

John, the great thing about non-physical discussion groups is that it's so much easier to ignore frothing streakers.

On the other hand, the quality of the discussion still depends on the aggregate of individual participation.

Palatino trapping coming up...

hhp

hrant's picture

OK, here's a scan of the "Qu" logotype from Palatino 42, 30, 18, 12 and 8 point.
I really need a 1200 dpi (optical) scanner...

palatino.jpg

The trapping in Palatino is much sparser and much lighter than in Pascal... but it's there: look at where the tail of the "Q" joins the body. It's barely visible overall, but pretty obvious in the 12.

Notes:
1) This cut of Palatino doesn't have the pronounced optical scaling that I've seen in other Palatinos. This might mean that better Palatinos (?) have better trapping (since both of those things are technical refinements).
2) I've made sure the JPEG lossiness hasn't ditorted the traps.

hhp

hrant's picture

Actually, I almost did that a few days ago. Not just for karma, but for "protocol" as well.

But the reason I'm wary of having a "Trapping" thread is that I'm not ready to do the topic justice just yet. Of course, anybody else still can, and you'd have to physically bind me to keep me off such a thread! :-)

hhp

hrant's picture

I took some measurements off that Palatino.
1) The baseline is higher in inverse proportion to point size. Strange.
2) The scale, spacing and weight generally increase in inverse proportion to point size. Good. But the 18 is a direct scale of the 42 (bad); and the 12 and 8 seem to be direct scales as well, but I'm not sure. Also, the 30 seems to be an enlargement of the 42 (a little bad).
3) The x-height/cap-height proportions seem constant. Bad.

--

BTW, I will soon be dissecting ATF Garamond to extract its optical scaling - that should be much smarter.

hhp

bieler's picture

Amazing the difference between the metal version of Palatino compared to the digital. The explanation of this at

http://briem.ismennt.is/2/2.3.1a/2.3.1.02.contents.htm

is completely unfantomable to me.

hrant's picture

> Nice optical scaling.

It is pretty good (except for the 18). But just wait for the ATF Garamond! I'll be doing a waterfall of about 10 sizes, but it'll take me another 2-3 weeks. Seperate thread for that, definitely.

hhp

anonymous's picture

Hrant,

Is there any way we can close this Caslon thread and reopen under another thread titled "trapping"
or " Palatino" ?

There is to much bad karma on this existing thread.

Gerald
(not Giampa or Lange) ;

anonymous's picture

Palatino,

Nice optical scaling. Note the design variations.

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