Melbourne Museum of Printing
Monotype [Compo] Mats in Our Collection
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Monotype Composition Matrices

Monotype Composition Matrices

We have quite a few hundred founts [sets] of Monotype matrices for the composition caster, of which many are duplicates.

[In the Monotype system, matrices (each carrying the cavity to cast one character) are carried, within the machine, in a matrix case. Typical cases carry 15 rows of 17 mats (255) which is enough for up to seven alphabets all selectable from the keyboard. In its operation, the machine moves the matrix case so that the required matrix is positioned over the cavity of the mould, at the same time adjusting the width of the cavity to suit the width of the letter.]

Despite the sheer volume of mats, there are very definite `holes' in our collection. We have very few of the specialised book faces one sees in the (British) master index of Monotype Faces. We do have some Greek and Cyrillic mats but some of these are not quite complete.

We do have a good range of accented characters in several faces, and many oraments, borders and mathematical founts.

We have no examples, and precious little information, about the American Monotype system and its matrices.

You may wish to consult our List of Mono Compo mats, but at the time of writing it is only an outline.

Information Sought

As with every aspect of printing, we would always be glad to receive information about any aspect of Monotype matrices.

In particular, we have no information on the specific processes used in the manufacture of mats. How do they start off? How many steps, and what are those steps?

How many factories ever made Monotype mats? How many still do so?

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