stock fonts on the Compugraphic Editwriter 7500?

ralphsmouse's picture

I'm trying to make a very specific type ID on a very notable identity. The identity was done on a Compugraphic Editwriter 7500. Is there a list somewhere of the fonts that came stock? I'm mostly interested in something like a Bodoni Poster Compressed.

George Thomas's picture

Since that was a photo machine which used filmstrip fonts, it is highly unlikely anything "stock" came with the machine. That was before the days of the 35 Basic Postscript fonts and whatever fonts you bought when you placed an order for the machine would be what you started with.

I think your best bet would be to scan the type in question and place it here: TypeID

ralphsmouse's picture

I know that the machine was a phototypesetter. I just assumed that that CG were offering the machine with a complimentary grab-bag of filmstrips or something.

I might try the ID board. I can't find any evidence of any kind of Compugraphics condensed Bodoni. If anybody has a 70s-80s Compugraphics catalog that I could nerd-out on, I'd be much obliged.

bojev's picture

Compugraphic fonts that are still around have a Cg prefix to the name. They are now part of the Agfa library with name like CgCloister, CgOmega etc.

bojev's picture

Cg Poster Bodoni was the only version they had - no compressed or condensed version mentioned anywhere. Could have been compressed photographically in doing the art. Lots of versions of Compressed Poster Bodoni are around today like from Adobe etc.

bojev's picture

1977 • The Compugraphic EditWriter 7500 is introduced and becomes an instant succes. This phototypesetter combines a keyboard and photo unit in one piece of equipment, enabling one job to be typeset while the operator simultaneously keyboards another. Separate units such as the Mini-Disk Terminal (MDT) and Mini-Disk Reader (MDR) allow off-line text entry and phototypesetting using 8″ floppy disks. The output is imaged onto photo paper which is up to 8 inches wide. TYPE CAN BE SET IN SIZES FROM 6 TO 72 POINTS, USING A SYSTEM OF SWAPPABLE FONT DISKS AND VARIOUS FIXED LENSES MOUNTED ON AN INTERNAL TURRET.

Mark Simonson's picture

I was involved in the purchase of several EditWriters back then. Bob, that citation you quote mentions “font disks” but the EditWriter used font strips, which were strips of film negative, about 18 inches by 4 inches, with metal clips on the ends, that fit around a metal drum inside the machine. Each strip held four fonts, usually a single family with four styles. You could fit two strips in the machine at once, for a total of eight fonts. There were also ROM cartridges (called a “width card” for each font strip containing spacing and kerning information that needed to be inserted into the machine.

When you ordered a machine, if I recall correctly, you got two font strips as part of the deal. They could be anything from the CG library, but the default was Helios II (CG’s Helvetica look-alike) and English Times (CG's Times Roman look-alike). Beyond that, it cost $380 for each font strip ($45 extra for each ITC font to pay for the royalties). If you bought several at once, there was a price break.

Compugraphic didn't use the CG prefix until the 1981 when they released exact copies of “typefaces most frequently specified in the graphics industry” in a series they called the “Typographers Edition.” These included CG Century, CG Century Old Style, CG Century Schoolbook, CG Frontiera (Frutiger), CG Goudy Old Style, CG Melliza (Melior), CG Omega (Optima), CG Palacio (Palatino), CG Plantin, CG Times, CG Trade (Trade Gothic), CG Triumvirate (Helvetica), and CG Trump Mediaeval.

I have a CG catalog from 1977 that has a bunch of Bodoni styles, but no condensed. They did release ITC Condensed (a.k.a. ITC Fat Face Condensed) in 1981, which was a very condensed fat face style, and also Manchester Condensed (a.k.a. Madison Condensed), another Bodoni-like modern face.

ralphsmouse's picture

Thanks Mr. Simonson! I suspected that CompuGraphics might have supplied a few strips with their machines. I didn't realize that those ROM cartridges carried spacing and kerning information, that's wild! I can see how that would have saved typesetters a lot of time in those days. I'm glad that the information you provided is now on the net. Recently, I had hit a pretty stern dead-end on any detailed typeface information about this machine.

The typeface I'm looking for is in the Bodoni Poster Compressed/Onyx/Arsis neighborhood. I'm finally starting to embrace the typographic community's aggravation with aliases and knockoffs. They make for too many needles in too many haystacks.

Mark Simonson's picture

I don’t recall why they used ROM cartridges. Competing machines from AM/Varityper didn’t need them. The film fonts were on spinning discs that somehow had the spacing info encoded (some kind of tick marks or whatever). I used both at various times.

A useless but possibly interesting footnote: What sold me on the Compugraphic machines was the fact that they used discrete lenses for each point size. The AM machines used a zoom lens. This was great in that it allowed many more type sizes, but it also was less reliable. The sharpness of the type depended on whether you went up to a point size from a smaller size or down to a point size from a larger size. So, depending on which way you were going, you might need to insert an extra size change beyond the size you wanted to make sure the type was in focus.

People have no idea how much simpler certain things are than they used to be.

quadibloc's picture

It could have been they used ROM cartridges because putting tick marks on the negative was patented.

Or, it could have been that tick marks on the negative would work for spacing information... but if you also wanted to do kerning you needed too much information for that, and so the ROM cartridges contributed to typographic quality by allowing automatic kerning, as opposed to manual kerning.

Also, I see that Circuitous Root is planning to scan a Compugraphic type catalogue; I hope they do manage that soon.

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