At Monotype, the Type Drawing Office was responsible for adapting a designer's original artwork to the requirements of the Monotype system. The various tasks undertaken by the drawing clerks usually involved:
• enlarging the letterforms to a standard size of ‘10-inch’, and producing reverse-reading drawings, in pencil outline, which were suitable for pattern and matrix production;
• expanding the character set to include punctuation, symbols, accented characters, etc.;
• extending the design to extra styles such as bold and italic;
• adapting the letter drawings from their originally intended point size to produce larger and smaller sizes (a process known as ‘optical scaling’);
• making wax patterns, which were used to produce copper patterns from which punches could be engraved.
Hence, the work undertaken by the TDO was vital to the quality of the typefaces distributed by Monotype. The company’s entire machine and type-making process, which was devised early in the twentieth century, was a fine example of engineering accomplishment, and the drawings produced by its TDO were central to the high standards of its typographical output.
Monotype employee Dora Laing drawing an Arabic character, in reverse, at a size of 10-inch. The photograph was most likely taken in the late 1950s. Courtesy Richard Cooper.
Handwritten record by Fritz Max Steltzer of character drawings produced in the Monotype TDO. © Monotype archives
Monotype employee Jennie Harris operating a pantograph to make a wax pattern from a 10-inch drawing. © Monotype archives
A TDO employee working on a wax pattern, which would later be used to produce a copper pattern. © Monotype archives
A Monotype employee checking the accuracy of a copper pattern under a microscope. © Monotype archives
A so-called 'pink card' listing all the tasks undertaken by TDO staff in the production of Times New Roman. © Monotype archives, photograph Laura Bennetto