History of the Monotype Corporation

£50 – click here to buy this book
Judy Slinn, Sebastian Carter, Richard Southall

& edited by Andrew Boag & Christopher Burke

This important new publication charts the history of the British Monotype Corporation in its significant years from 1897 to 1992. Its three sections cover the Corporation’s business history, typeface design history, and the technical history of Monotype’s composing machines. Written and edited by leading business and type industry experts, this is an indispensable reference for typographers and type designers, and for technology and business historians.

Tolbert Lanston, an American inventor, patented his Monotype system of type composition in 1897. The word ‘Monotype’ is synonymous with the highest standards of quality. Machine sales were boosted by an extra­ordinary programme of typeface design and development – advised by some of typography’s leading minds: Stanley Morison, Beatrice Warde, and John Dreyfus; with type designers like Eric Gill (Gill Sans, Joanna, Perpetua), Jan van Krimpen (Spectrum, Sheldon), Bruce Rogers (Centaur), and Berthold Wolpe (Albertus).


Foreword Andrew Boag
Prologue Christopher Burke

1 Business history of the Monotype Corporation Judy Slinn
1.1 The origins and early development of the Monotype machine
1.2 The establishment and early struggles of the Corporation
1.3 Consolidation and the First World War
1.4 The 1920s: depression, departures and developments
1.5 The golden age: Monotype in the 1930s
1.6 From keyboards and casters to guns and munitions: 1939–45
1.7 Reconstruction and growth: 1945–54
1.8 Before the storm: ‘a more agreeable stride’; 1955–71
1.9 The problems of the 1970s: attracting ‘the take-over boys’
1.10 The long road to survival and recovery
1.11 The Corporation’s last decade: 1982–92
1.12 Endings and beginnings: the legacy of the Monotype Corporation

2 Typeface design for the Monotype Corporation Sebastian Carter
2.1 Designing and making type before Monotype
2.2 Establishment of the Monotype Type Drawing Office, and the first typeface designs
2.3 Imprint, Plantin, and Caslon
2.4 The early Morison years
2.5 Display types, and Americans abroad
2.6 A ‘typographical reformation’
2.7 The Second World War: intermezzo
2.8 Jan van Krimpen and Giovanni Mardersteig
2.9 John Dreyfus, type adaptation, and the first fonts for the film era
2.10 Into the digital era

3 Technical history of Monotype composing machines Richard Southall
3.1 Background
3.2 Lanston and Bancroft: the caster from prototype to production
3.3 Keyboarding
3.4 Pierpont and punchcutting
3.5 Photocomposition
3.6 The Monophoto 600 filmsetter
3.7 The Monotype Lasercomp

Epilogue: the continuing legacy Andrew Boag and Sue Shaw
Appendix: list of directors of the Monotype Corporation, 1897–1990
References & bibliography

Monotype is a trademark of Monotype Imaging Inc. registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office and may be registered in certain other jurisdictions.

Monotype Imaging Holdings Inc. was not involved in the authoring of this book.

10 thoughts on “The book

  1. I operate the only running Monotype Super Caster in New Zealand and going by our export to Australia I no doubt extend this to include Australia.
    I look forward to reading an important part of the Monotype history that is unknown to me.

    1. Michael, the Super Caster is a beautiful machine, going by Monotype’s Order Book records, a total of thirty Super Casters were originally sold to New Zealand and 112 to Australia; sadly almost all are now gone.


  2. Michael great to hear from you in New Zealand. Of course since the formation of the Corporation in 1897, Monotype saw Australia and New Zealand as two of their most important overseas markets. You should indeed find the book an interesting read.

  3. We’ve just confirmed the book’s dust jacket is set and printed in Monotype Castellar (Series 600) and Monotype Bulmer (Series 469). Phil Abel and Nick Gill at Hand & Eye Letterpress, are setting and printing the jackets. Hand & Eye have a small amount of 24 point Castellar. Andrew Dolinski and Paul Nash, Printing Historical Society committee members, have very kindly loaned some of their 48 point and 36 point respectively, allowing us, as you can see from the image above, to set most (but not quite all) of the book title in this elegant face. Castellar was designed by John Peters in 1957 (and illustrated in chapter 2.8 of the book), and I was keen to use it if at all possible.

  4. In our printing office are still three type setting machines, three casting machines and two super caster in operation. When Monotype closed their office in Frankfurt we could take over many sets of display faces including a lot of Fraktur letters. Our printing office is located in Dresden. Have a look to the website mentioned below.

  5. I have just ordered the book after reading a review in Parenthesis. I still operate three composition casters and a Supercaster. Everything about the Monotype Corporation continues to fascinate me.

    1. Hi Reynolds, yes it is still available. On the book web page just click the button that says ‘click here for delivery outside the UK’ and that send the order through after you complete the order form. Sorry the amazon link is broken as they’ve delisted the book incorrectly.

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