Archive through June 26, 2003

bieler's picture

"Gerald, I am trying to remember if you are the person who prints beautiful "works". If so, what are you up to these days? In the way of printing I mean."


I don't know if I am that person either. But I did do a broadside once called Murder in the Printshop that used your Caslon 337 letterpress. Sent you a copy.

Currently, whether I am that person or not, I am printing a book on Joseph Moxon. He said something and I respond. Sort of like an e-mail conversation, except completely under my control!!! Was great fun until I started printing.

serafino's picture


Yes you are the person I remember. As you know I have been a reclusive person for some time and things are coming back to me now I am more active.

I would like to see what happens in your book. I imagine it will be prohibitively expensive? Are you printing letterpress, polymer plates, lead?

Gerald Giampa

bieler's picture


My last book project with metal was around 1998, I think. Started using photopolymer in 1991.

Photopolymer is just a great printing surface; with a platemaking machine it's like having your own Monotype caster but not being limited to Monotype. And desktop publishing software and digital type is a blessing, is now and has been for some many years.

Well, yeah, Moxon will be prohibitively expensive. About a grand. When you are printing a book with a hand-operated press and using handmade paper that cost $7.50 a sheet, and it sucks up a couple years of your life, yeah, it gets expensive. On our last book, a speculative book on the proof of Gutenberg, I think my partner and I spent around $70,000 on a book that was printed in an edition of 146 copies. Now that's a risky investment when you are not making a book that is intentionally directed at any market whatsoever. More like, this is what we want to do and this is what we have to do, so let's get down on our knees and pray.

Basically, just an idiotic career choice.

A wish-we-could book currently in research stage is on the 16th century astronomer Tycho Brahe!!! A very interesting and strange and important fellow. We will have a lot of fun with this one. Well, at least, initially.

hrant's picture

Yes, Mr Lange is most probably That Person. Fine printer rara avis.

BTW, I once worked with somebody who was a huge Brahe fan. What's the deal with him?


serafino's picture

Some day I would like to meet all you guys. Sure we would have lots to talk about. I have had an interesting life in this industry. Almost bought ATF, asked the wrong question. Raised $40,000,000 from brokers at Prudential to try and buy English Monotype. They should have taken me up on the arrangement. They got all mad at me instead. We seem to get along just fine now though.

And no, I am not a capatalist. I was never in it for the money.

Gerald Giampa

hrant's picture

The true capitalists don't post to Typophile.


bieler's picture

"I once worked with somebody who was a huge Brahe fan. What's the deal with him?"

Well, that's the thing. What was the deal with him?

His twin brother is born dead. He is given to his uncle as a son. First person, at the age of 12 or something to look at the stars holding the first printed ancient star maps and realizing they were wrong. Is able to prove this. Loses his nose in a sword fight over who is the best mathematical student. First scientist to use the printing press to print his work, papermill and all. Trains the great Dutch printer and scientific publisher, Willem Janszoon Blaeu. First to establish what we now call a scientific research facility. The King of Denmark gives him his own island and he imprisons the inhabitants. Has a couple of dwarfs for entertainment. Invents running water for the sole purpose of a practical joke on unsuspecting visitors. Has a jail under his castle. Never lets an apprentice leave the island, ever. Invents all his own instruments, of which their were very very many. His entire castle revolves to follow the movements of the stars. Contributes significantly to astronomy; on his death bed he gives his apprenctice Kepler all his data. Dies from mercury poisoning associated with the several hundred false noses he had. And I'm not even touching on the good stuff.

Hell, where do you start?

Our narrator is imprisoned in the dungeon.

serafino's picture


You see I can't even spell capitalist right. Now we have this guy in the dungeon. Is this a good thing? It seems we are moving from Ink Trap to Snot Trap. Tell about this nose thing. Also about the Gutenberg proof?

Are we allowed to drift from the strict subject?

Gerald Giampa

bieler's picture

No, unfortunately we aren't. Someone will complain shortly.

The nose thing. At dinner parties Tycho would bend over and let his nose fall in the soup. Never ending. What a hoot.

The proof of Gutenberg is that there is none.

bieler's picture

This is funny stuff. Probably a couple of hundred Tycho sites out there. Big cult following. My favorite is the one by this young girl where she has you click on Tycho and watch him walk. He walks and then his nose falls off.

hrant's picture

> Are we allowed to drift from the strict subject?

You mean more than once?...
Well, apparently yes! :-)


hrant's picture

Tonight I offer you the following...

(417K) (Make sure your browser doesn't do a scale-to-fit.)

without commentary, except to say that it's a 600dpi (optical) scan of the 60 point cut of Pascal (designed by Jos

bieler's picture


Hey, that worked out well. Very nice scanning job. Traps all over the place. Sure better than looking through the glass!!!

Was wondering if you found similar incidence of trapping in the ATF Garamond?


serafino's picture


I see what you see, only I read it differently. I see cleaning out the corners. The metal must be clean or it will not relieve when cast. It will "hold" when the type is removed. What I can see is evidence of gravure slippage, or manipulation error on the top crotch of the "h".

On the "b" if your theory was correct the punchcutter has lost control. Please draw your eye to the top bowel-crotch of the ascending stem. Either the top crotch is an error, or the bottom crotch an error? Take your pick. There is no need for one without the other. If you take issue to the nature of stems and placement compare the situation on the companion areas of the "d".

So no more yeah buts . . . please!

If "ink trapping" were "the intention" the application "should be even". His work, as you can easily see, is not that fussy.

Or, lots of theory, little ability to apply.

Meaning this artifact lends little support to your hypothesis. If he is cutting ink trapping intentionally he should have enough skills to apply his principals evenly throughout. I am not disparaging the beauty of his letterforms in fact the cut-look-&-feel is integral to the very beauty. The crudeness is in effect, much more than secondary to the design.

But "ink trapping", come come.

These letters are much as if they were cut in linoleum or wood. Those are the characteristics which come easily when using similar tools such as a gravure. There are large and small gravures. Tools, including needles are used in small point sizes or tight areas. These cuts are "humongoumamouth".

Looking at these letterforms I see forms worked by mostly a single gravure, large by type cutting standards. Certainly it, possibly them, would be used only in the crudest of work when cutting an 8 pt. character. Probably, not even then.

The very nature of these letterforms does not required fine gravures. The large gravure(s) have given the design the intended emotions of the designer. Cutting emotions. I suggest a more finished look would have greatly reduced its appeal.

If you view the crotch in the Q you will see a place where it would "certainly deserve" the "ink trap treatment" you refer to "if the punchcutter believed as you".

I see a punchcutter seeking a-cut-look-&-feel to his letterforms, and getting it. Forgiving people such as yourselves for mistaking them to be either faults, or "in your(s) case(s)" inktraps in order to achieve the characteristic nature of the letterforms that have drawn our attentions. By the way, which because of the tooling, are acidly beautiful.

You have to love it for what it is, not for what you want it to be. You should remember that boys, and the girls shall be forever thankful.

There is an acid sharpness throughout, and I suspect lots of "gravure", little "file".

There is a general crudeness throughout and if you notice the "h" has another mis-cutting on the top left curve. Also if you view the beard of the same character you will see a flatness on the lower portions of the gravure straightening into perpendicular at the top of the stroke meeting close to the same error. He is giving a lot of meaning to free handing and that I believe issues much of the beauty of this particular typeface.

I highly recommend that some of you consider cutting types yourselves. The impossibility is merely an obstacle in your minds. But remember, there is few of us left. Contact Jim Rimmer.

Gerald Giampa
Lanston Type Company

serafino's picture

Hrant and Gerald,

Was it punched into metal or electroplated? If you know, tell me how you know?

Just asking?

Gerald Giampa

hrant's picture

> Very nice scanning job.

Long live Agfa. It's a damn shame they don't make scanners any more. I just wish I'd gotten one of their higher-end ones (1200 dpi) before they stopped.

ATF Garamond: will look soon.


> I see cleaning out the corners.

My friend, don't make me give up on you. Those are classic traps. Why so much resistance? Is your stance that trapping doesn't even exist, that it's only my imagination? Come on. The traps in that font are all over the place, but nowhere that they don't belong: there's nothing "mistaken" about it.

On the other hand, the traps are indeed too big for that point size, and also, it's simply not a very good trapping job in terms of maintaing size and shape - it's hard to do consistently, which is probably one reason not many people do it. Look at the trapping in DTL Fleischmann, a digital face where there is no graver to slip: it's all over the place.

BTW, Pascal is not a "crude" face, intentionally or otherwise. Are you at all familiar with it?

> If you view the crotch in the Q

So you've failed to see the trap there? What about the micro-traps around the join of the "f"... Ah, you'd missed those too. :-> And what about on all three corners (not just the top) of the counter of the "A"?...

> the "h" has another mis-cutting on the top left curve.

That's just damage. I know because I did it.

Don't see what you want to see, eh? :-)

BTW, the 30 point has similar trapping...


serafino's picture


I will send the scan along to Jim Rimmer "if you allow" for another opinion. As you know he could cut that face in a summer afternoon.

I await your approval.

Gerald Giampa

hrant's picture

> I will send the scan along to Jim Rimmer

Please do - thanks! (And I wish I could make it to TypeCon...)

But please do include the relevant parts of the conversation we've had here - or just point him to this thread. Although I have no doubt those are traps, I certainly don't want anybody to think that I feel the trapping there is well done.

BTW, one more thing:


These are 48, 24 and 12 point casts of Pascal, [presumably] from different foundries: the 48 and 12 are from one sample (source: Lindegren), and they have trapping (and of different scales), while the 24 is from another (source: S Carter), and it doesn't! So it was not an aesthetic decision on the part of the designer himself (and hopefully the punchcutter didn't make any aesthetic decisions on his own, certainly not at the larger sizes!), it was a technical decision on the part of the punchcutter. Or it could even have been done by the finisher of the actual sorts! Does that make sense?


hrant's picture

> the "h" has another mis-cutting on the top left curve.

Wait a second: did you mean the top-left of the arch, or the very top-left (of the stem)? I thought you mean the latter. If you meant the former, that that's part of the trap. Look at the bottoms of the "b" and "q".


serafino's picture


I will see if Jim will follow through this discussion. His opinion is much more worthy than my own. My working experience is limited to the Benton Pantograph although I have had decades of more than double daily contact with Jim Rimmer. I am sure his input would be very enlightening. However I must warn you that he is a no nonsense punchcutter and would quickly dismiss the "needs" of your, shall I say, "suspicions".

Your most recent showing of the 48 pt. which allegedly includes the so-called "ink trapping" results in deterioration rather than enhancement. Perhaps his cutting was intended for someone not so thrifty with tins of ink!

As I said before, type by nature is an

hrant's picture

Thank you for your valuable input.

> he is a no nonsense punchcutter

Good, good.
I hope that his duly respected skills at punchcutting are matched by a grasp of past practice, of how some other people have chosen to cut type. Many good digital type designers don't use traps - but even they have to admit that some others do!

> Perhaps his cutting was intended for someone not so thrifty with tins of ink!

I agree (and I already stated) that I think the traps there are too big.
But at least this way we have more proof that they -and the intentions- were there!

On the other hand, I think you would agree that people tend to use too much ink (and pressure) more often than too little, no? That at least is [the other] Gerald's view, and he's not a dilettante like me!

> Can you tell one from the other?

No, and it's things like this where I need the most help, from people like you.

My only faint clue here is that -according to the director of Neufville as well as a former student of his- Mendoza y Almeida drew all the necessary sizes (or at least very narrow ranges) himself. How would this have affected the role of the pantograph? And coming around to that issue I wanted to one day approach you with, how might Benton's so-called "cutting slips" (mentioned in Rehak's book) be relevant here? (So maybe today is the day then! I wish I had a Cessna to fly to Finland...)

> Working away from a crotch enacts a digging motion. Work into a crotch there will is a lifting motion.

This is very interesting, and I admit very logical. But a good punchcutter (or the pantograph?) would be able to reduce/eliminate this effect, no? I have many questions - much to learn... Where exactly do you see the effects of this phenomenon you describe in the Pascal 60? Maybe in the fact that the "b" has a much deeper cut than the "d"? It might be important here to state explicitly that the scan has been flipped horizontally, for easy decipherment of the letters.

But it also seems like some shapes have symmetrical cuts (both with respect to their flanking sides as well as with respect to the location on the letterform), irrespective of cutting direction. And also, some shapes (not necessarily the ones I've scanned) are missing traps/nicks where I would expect to see some - these are generally secondary ones, like the asterisk, but sometimes it seems like they just forgot (which also happens in digital too, like in the DTL Fleishmann I mentioned).

> The 12 point appears natural

It has a huge trap!
And remember, that was a print.

> I ask again whether the type was cut and then "electroplated" or just "punched".

I would have to ask Henk Gianotten, who used to work for Tetterode before they went under.

> Font le Roy, San Francisco you will see sparkling "ink trapless" type.

Could you elaborate on this?


serafino's picture


No coffee yet but very sorry, inadvertently I directed your attention to the wrong pt. size. The interface when writing, makes it impossible to review the previous writings. So I referred to it, your scan, by memory.

Read 24 pt. instead of 12. pt. Mind you the 24 pt. would appear more normal if it were 12 pt.


Somehow I had missed the notation about the guy with the nose "jobby". Very funny I have to admit.

serafino's picture


Seems as if Jim Rimmer has been following this topic. I was unaware of that, however I previously suspected he wrote a smallish note. Now I think I was wrong, perhaps. Hmm, the feeling seems to be a weak feeling.

Someone other than myself should invite him to participate. He mistakenly thinks you have to be a member of ATPi. My inviting him would not have the impact of your inviting him. After all, I suspect I may have outworn my welcome. You may have concluded that yourself.

But I feel his inclusion would contribute very fine value. Hopefully you will not hold me against him. He has his own opinions, his own observations which are his alone.

Also I reserve the right to disagree with him. I am, after all, as you may have noticed, a disagreeable sort of fellow.


Here is the e-mail he sent me. I trust he has no objection.


I've been following your intense messaging back and forth with Hrant Papazian about the ink-trapping situation.

I am certain that no such thing existed in metal type. I certainly recall that in using your comparator to re-drawe letters for you from your Lanston punches that just the reverse was true. In the corners and pinches, the shapes were terminated with a small radius, because of the revolving cutter on the pantograph.

It seems that Lanston did not deem it necessary to hand-nick out these tight spots. You and I both know that a person can print with no problem with Monotype type. It's all in the hand of the pressman that scoops the ink out of the can. A little bit goes a long way. I don't think it has ever been the responsibility of the type manufacturer or punch cutter to try to anticipate with how much vigor and enthusiasm the pressman applies the ink.

Since I am not a member of ATypI I cannot get involved in the forum. Perhaps that is a good thing. There is slittle to be gained from getting heated about a thing like that.

I finally got finished with the job of cutting flat mat accents for 18 point Nicholas Cochin for Lucy lambert, and am now involved in the alignment and
fitting of the 14 point Cartier Roman font that I cut 14 point flat mats for last month. I have to gop back and recut a few letters, but overall it is
looking quite good.

It will be necessary to hand rub all the casting becasue of the leave created by directly engraving flat the mats. If more than a few people are interwsted in buying type, I am going to ship the type in individualbaggies, and send each buyer a free file along with the type.

Hope all is well with you in your new island paradise. Drop me an E.


Yes Jim, we both seem to agree that ink is far to cheap. I think the pigment should be made from burnt flesh from "errant pressman". Then maybe types would cease to be tortured making the world a prettier place for our children to read in.

Isn't that a romantic thought? Maybe I should write poetry. Do you like poetry Jim?

Gerald Giampa
the Lanston Type Company

serafino's picture


serafino's picture


Remind me to ask Jim Rimmer about chinaman's hats and matrices along with green spiders in the bath.

You think I am joking!

You soon are to discover strangeness was invented much earlier in the world of typography. Sometimes I think I am the only "normal person in the world". Probably that's why my grandmother called me the "lonely rose with a good set of thorns". Didn't she say the nicest things?

Whatever your thoughts are, Jim and I can certainly offer knowledge previously unavailable to you. Hopefully that will provide a useful enough contribution that you will forgive me for my twisted sense of humour.

I am not as bad as I sound. Italians tease.

I would like to meet you and all the other guys. Now about that nose guy! That is a little odd, can you adopt an ancestor?

Gerald Giampa

hrant's picture

> Read 24 pt. instead of 12

It's pretty obvious to me that the 24 point would look much more "brisk" (and in character, considering the overall design - again, are you familiar with Pascal?) if it had traps in the crotches between the stem and the bowl.

Maybe you just like the mushy 70s style of font? :-)

> My inviting him would not have the impact of your inviting him.

You said you've been in twice-daily contact with him for a decade... Just tell him you don't have to be a member of ATypI (you don't even need to register anywhere for anything), and encourage him to join the fray. But if he doesn't enjoy "iterative" (as opposed to one-sided) discussion, well, that might explain why he's never heard of trapping! :-/

But really, the point at which trapping started being used (I hope nobody will claim that the traps in digital DTL Fleischman are slips of the graver...) is secondary* - the question is if they're useful (when the right size).

* Although a serious and deliberate analysis of very many metal fonts (not just Pascal) reveals traps in certain classic places, like inside the tail of the UC "Q". Soon I will show you some Palatino.

> In the corners and pinches, the shapes were terminated with a small radius, because of the revolving cutter on the pantograph.

Anybody relying [only] on a pantograph to cut punches certainly doesn't care about admittedly secondary refinements such as traps. But refinements nonetheless.

> a pattern has a mistake and it is used for multiple sizes, the "mistake", allow me, will be multiplied.

1) My point was that the 24 doesn't have trapping (at least not to the extent that the 48/12 do), so it wasn't an aesthetic decision (like you proposed).
2) The traps in the 48 and 12 are different.

Also remember: Mendoza y Alemeida drew separate versions for different sizes - or least small ranges - certainly the 48 and 12 weren't from the same drawing. The really good guys didn't rely on the pantograph too much.

> His cure is worse than the ailment.

At 60 point especially, the traps -certainly the one in the "b"- are indeed too big. But there would have to be a difference of a couple of bottles of Muscatel for the guy to be so bad at cutting on the "b" and then so fine on the "A" for example.

The point isn't how badly/well the cutter did his job, the point is the intention. And to me it's crazy to claim it wasn't there.

> Jim and I can certainly offer knowledge previously unavailable to you.

Certainly, and I appreciate that greatly. The one thing I'm most anxious to learn about involves something on your site: "One of Lanston's

serafino's picture


Actually decades of double daily discussions with Jim. Remember he was involved in the Giampa Textware days. But for the last decade I have seen Jim maybe twice, and only briefly.

For absolute accuracy nothing could beat a Benton Pantograph. The specifications were beyond reproach. Far smaller than the human eye could perceive. For instance the tolerances of measurement was no more than 1 / 100,000 of an inch. The measuring scale is 2 feet long in degrees so fine that it requires a microscope to read them. Technology used in punch cutting for mechanical type manufacture had tolerances and requirements far in excess of what is humanly possible.

Furthermore in setting up the tool to measure it must be sent to the standards bureau in France. The freight, because of the heat requirements and vibration prevention cost us over $2700. and that does not include the cost of adjustment. The device must be in a constant operating temperature, the work to be measured had to be in the same room until it reached its own room temperature.

Sure we cared about type. You bet.

You would kill for the dedicated comparator. This was a special magnification device for viewing types or matrices. It might not agree with your theory however.

The height-to-paper machine was also a microscopic device. If you made a slight mistake in motion you could loose the face of the matrice for weeks, literally. Tiny matrices became a moonscape.

You have to understand the importance that mechanical typesetting was to mankind. You speak of the reading public. Without systems of which I speak we would all be illiterate. Spacing was also far superior in a Monotype than hand-set. I resisted that thought but soon came to appreciate the systems that were developed.

These matters are an entire new area of discussion. There is a book you should read by Krimpen that was put together by John Dreyfus. It deals with this very topic in letter form back and for with someone you are biased against. Stanley Morison. I enjoyed Krimpen

hrant's picture

> For absolute accuracy nothing could beat a Benton Pantograph.

But it couldn't reproduce a sharp inside corner, right?

> Spacing was also far superior in a Monotype than hand-set.

I don't know anybody else who thinks that.

> The samples you have provided would have never met the rigid controls of either of the two Monotypes.

One more time: I don't care about the quality of the execution, just the nature of the intention.

I don't discredit the pantograph more than I discredit the technology of television, or even a kitchen knife for example; it's not the tool, it's what you do with it. The pantograph wasn't guilty of anything - the Benton boys even tried to get people to use it properly - but they failed: people used it to save effort/money, nothing more. Even though the pantograph's technology allowed for it, optical sizing died - it simply became too easy not to do it anymore. So this tragedy happened way before phototype.


anonymous's picture

The straight dope about Brahe's Battered Beak:

Broken Beak

anonymous's picture

> Are we allowed to drift from the strict subject?

Why, "drift from the strict subject" is my middle name!

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