An Old Type Foundry Price List

Well, not so old, really, dating to the end of the era of large commercial type foundries. This is the June 1973 pricing pages for the Moore Type Foundry, 431 King Street West in Toronto. I found their catalogue amongst some books I was sorting through at the Mackenzie Printery Museum.It isn’t clear how large “a font” is for them, but for instance, the first entry for 6 to 9 points states that a font of caps or lowercase is about 3 pounds and costs $12.00. This would imply that their font schemes vary by point size so all fonts are about the same weight. This makes some sense as it means you need about the same number of fonts to fill a typecase regardless of the size.

Looking at other prices it seems the general price is about $4 per pound overall. Prices are a bit higher for smaller sizes (under 10pt), I guess to cover the fiddly nature of smaller type.

For some strange reason, condensed, script, and in particular Univers cost more.

The only thing substantially cheaper is strip material which, except for 1-point, costs $0.56 per pound. Of course, 1-point leading is very fussy to cast, so costs about twice as much.

It is clear from the remainder of the catalog that this foundry casts from Lanston Monotype matrices; you can tell from the series numbers used to identify the faces.

The second pricing page refers to “imported type” which I assume was not cast in Toronto, but imported from elsewhere (like the USA). Most of the faces named were not produced by English Monotype Corporation, so they are probably from American Type Founders (ATF, which was still in business at the time) from their own matrices. The Eurostile face is likely imported from Italy, since Nebiolo (I assume they also made the Nebitype type-casting machine) was the company that produced it.

Inflation in Canada since 1973 has increased prices pretty much seven-fold (reference here but beware the site has obnoxious ads) and based on that I think my current pricing for cast type (somewhere in the range of $15/pound) is quite a bargain, about half the $28-ish per pound that inflation would suggest.

Right now I cast type using one of four fixed schemes, and perhaps I should instead be trying to make packages of fixed weight. This would make it easier for me to have a more specific price list, but that would be replaced by the equivalent problem of describing a different font scheme for each size and face.

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