For most of the twentieth century the Type Drawing Office of the Monotype Corporation was part of the Monotype Works, a large industrial plant based in Salfords, Surrey (UK). Its role was to make all the letter-drawings used in the production of hot-metal typefaces for the Monotype composing system. As such, it sat alongside a number of other departments such as the matrix factory and the machine-making department, and played an essential role in supplying typefaces for the Monotype system.
Monotype started outputting typefaces in the late 1890s, and its Type Drawing Office was formally setup in 1910. Until the late 1930s, TDO staff essentially worked under the guidance of Frank Hinman Pierpont, Manager of the Monotype Works, and Fritz Max Steltzer who headed the TDO. Both men were decisive in establishing the working methods used by the TDO for most of the twentieth century, as well as the department’s culture.
By 1950 the Monotype TDO was divided into four sections: the order & matrix-case-arrangement section, the drawing section, the charting section, and the wax-cutting section. Each of these were responsible for handling specific tasks related to the production of Monotype faces, from receiving customer orders to cutting the wax patterns used for producing letter punches. All four ‘Heads of section’ were long-standing TDO female staff: Beryl Morris, Dora Laing, Emily MacMurray (née Payne) and Winifred Pooley.
Aerial view of the Monotype Works in Salfords, Surrey (UK), c. 1973. © Monotype Archives
The punchcutting room of the Monotype Works, probably 1928. © Monotype archives
A view of the Monotype Type Drawing Office in Salfords, UK, c. 1928. © Monotype archives
View of the Monotype TDO, c. 1950. Courtesy Richard Cooper
Ann Burt, married Whitmore, devising matrix-case arrangements in the Monotype TDO. © Monotype Archives
Valery Pengelli and Jenny Harris cutting wax patterns from 10-inch drawings using a pantograph, c. 1956. © Monotype archives
Monotype employees checking the copper patterns used for cutting punches, c. 1956. © Monotype archives