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electrocopying matrices from type

Started by John Cornelisse, July 27, 2015, 01:08:35 PM

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John Cornelisse

In former days new matrices were made from type, by depositing copper on the type in a bath with copper sulphate and electricity.

Is there anybody on this forum with some o(r more) experience with this technique ?

I would like to start making matrices for the use on the Monotype supercaster. There are lots of interesting fonts, that cannot be cast anymore...

In former days Lanston Monotype copied supercaster mats on this way. These matrices can be fitted on the normal holder of the English made Supercaster, but they are just lined in a way... That makes it difficult to cast tem at all.


There was once a special attachment for these matrices on the super caster... images were in the books of parts, however, I've never seen it. Would there be any of them surfiving at some place ?

There were some matrix-holders for them to be used on the large comp-casters, but these are hard to find. And can only be used up to 24 pt.

The ATF newsletter no. 27 (2002) should have some information in it, about this technique. I'm looking for a copy of it, but would be pleased with a scan of it too. Is there anybody who can help me with this ?


This URL will download the document you are looking. Sometimes you have to be a little patient with tis site as down loads seem to stall. It seems to down load in the back ground and you see nothing until it is complete.
George Finn (Mechanic)
Gold Coast

John Cornelisse

This very publictaion, I was already familiar with it.

The book of Rehak that is also in my collection. But here the immense scale
of the operation decribed, does not invite at all.

There is another thing: I once tried to cast America Monotype electroplated mats on the supercaster. The lining
of these matrices is done in such a way, that the character in the matrix-holder in the first part of this line,
was only to be cast on 36pt.

There have been special attachments for the supercaster for casting American mats, but of this I have only seen
the pictures in the books of parts. Never I did encounter it physically.

Mike Anderon gives some detailed info about lining the matrices, but this is all about American matrices.

Another question: how are the English supercaster matrices lined ?

When I would like to copy, it is because I will use them on a supercaster English style.

Buiding a power-supply for electrotyping

Here some pictures of the powersupply we built for this operation. The old Amp-meter needs still to be connected.
The cheap regulator was meant for dimming ordinary 230 V lamps, but works fine, the voltage can be adjusted between
0 and 2.75 VDC.

The next step is to built the tank, to prepare the "soup", and making a tableau of the matrices. And put it to the test. 10 kilo's of CuSO4 has been boght quite a while before, and concentrated H2SO4 also.

Besides this I will need some euippement for grinding and adjusing the matrices...

Dividing the world:

By the way: Lanston Monotype in America and the British Monotype Ltd. had divided the world in two parts:

Lanston had the monopoly in all America and Canada, London had the rest of the world. Eventually it proofed, that the rest of th world was a lot bigger, than the America's together....

But the dept inside matrices of both brands was different,, subsequently there is a .015" (three monotype papers!)
difference in the height of the crossblocks.

Casting an English mat on an American made mould just does not produce type .918"high. The same applies for
the other possible combination.

Dan Jones

John, have you made any progress with the electrotyping?

I would be interested to try this myself.


John Cornelisse

Up to this moment, I've not been able to start with it. Did however read a lot about it,

I'm not sure about the metal as a source for the electro-deposition. This should be natural
copper, making a mixture with different metals to mimic natural ore... is another thing, but this
is not something you do fast.

On the other thing, I would like to make them inside supercaster matrices, for smaller sizes
even 4 matrices could be situated in on square.

than however these mats need to be made yourself... A lot of new equipment needed.


Busy enough with other projects. Earning money is another...

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