The Type Archive holds the National Typefounding Collection, purchased with grants from the National Heritage Memorial Fund; broadly comprising 1. the typefounding materials of the Sheffield typefounders, Stephenson Blake; 2. the hot-metal archive and plant of the Monotype Corporation; and 3. the Woodletter pattern collection and plant of Robert DeLittle.


Cast metal type, lower case m


a pair of printer's cases


The type case holds one font, in one point size. It is colour coded here to highlight related groups.

In green: English vowels, with easy access; in yellow : punctuation, dashes, small brackets and ligatures; in red : Capital Letters; in mauve : small capitals; in purple : some signs and symbols; in buff : p, q, b, d, u, n, which are easily confused; in blue : spacing material between words and to fill short lines. It indicates how often different letters are used in English typesetting, notably ‘e’; lower case ‘i’ frequency is misleading because the letter is so thin. Capital letters J & U came late to typesetting and were tagged on after Z.

While modern typefoundries are entirely digital ( the Type Archive's collection spans the nearly 600 year period when the foundry cut letters in steel, drove them into brass blanks, and cast lead type from them in molten lead.



Type Archive Elephant