Alpha-Blox are back! Our first casting (2016) was a big hit and has been sold out for quite some time. The current owner of the original American Type Founders matrices once again entrusted them to us, and we have produced a second casting of 90 fonts. Some of the tech on this project: depth-of-drive on these matrices is 0.0968″, which was proprietary to ATF. That depth plus the fixed body dimension of the mold must equal 0.9186″ for the type to be standard height. Our Thompson casters are not engineered for this drive; on the first casting our only option was to cast the type over-height and mill the foot of each piece, which we did. (Very tedious and laborious.) This time we went to the extraordinary measure of having one of our spare molds irreversibly altered by a machine shop so that it matched the ATF drive. This was successful and the type was produced to standard height, no milling required. Alpha-Blox were designed with a partially kerned beard on all four sides, to be automatically trimmed flush after casting by ATF’s Barth casters. Thompson casters will trim the top and bottom edges of the type as it is ejected from the mold, but not the sides. Thus manual dressing was required left and right. This was done on every one of the types—of which there were 20,784 (that’s 1,107 lbs). Yes, we are dedicated to our craft.
The second photo above is a proof of all the Alpha-Blox elements printed together in two-color combination. The third is the American Type Founders specimen sheet from 1944. (Elements are displayed individually at the bottom of that specimen, but please note that the quantities shown per font are not applicable to the Skyline set.)