Born 1706–Died 1775, English type designer and printer.
He and Caslon were the two great type designers of the 18th century in England.
He began his work as printer and publisher in 1757 and in 1758 became printer to the University of Cambridge.
Baskerville’s first volume was a quarto edition of Vergil. His type faces introduced the modern, pseudoclassical style, with level serifs and with emphasis on the contrast of light and heavy lines.
This style influenced designers in France and that of Bodoni in Italy.
Books printed by Baskerville are typically large, with wide margins, made with excellent paper and ink. His masterpiece was a folio Bible, published in 1763.
After his death his wife operated the press until 1777.
Then most of his types were purchased by Beaumarchais and were used in his 70-volume edition of Voltaire.
The matrices, long lost, were rediscovered and in 1953 were presented to Cambridge University Press.
Among Baskerville’s publications in the British Museum are Aesop’s Fables (1761), the Bible (1763), and the works of Horace (1770).
The Monotype Operators and Casting Attendants pictured really loved having their old style Christmas Piss-Ups at King William Road.
Sitting (L to R): Bill Wallace, Burk Stone, Bert Tinkler, John Bryant.
Standing (L to R): Ralph Hannant, Kevin McBride, Peter Reeve, Ted Burkett, Graham Braybrook, Alex Crawford, Neil Cross, Cecil Dodd, Hector Korsten.
Hidden: David Copley (drummer but always working overtime).
But one person on the day, and that’s a young John ‘Mooster’ Bryant looks very sour and unhappy.
If you look closely at the back wall there is a poster hanging there that you would not see today.
A big thank you to Steve Palmer for putting names to the faces and to Dave Copley for suggesting an accurate year change.
Photo Courtesy of the Korff Family.
If Neotype is what I think (a Soviet copy of Linotype / Intertype), then it’s still pretty popular in former Eastern Bloc countries.
The Book Art Museum in Poland has one (model N114 if I remember correctly) and an operating manual as well.
They were made in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg).
Peter the Great, who established the city, originally named it Sankt-Peterburg.
On 1 September 1914, after the outbreak of World War I, the Imperial government renamed the city Petrograd meaning “Peter’s city”, in order to expunge the German words Sankt and Burg.
On 26 January 1924, shortly after the death of Vladimir Lenin, it was renamed to Leningrad meaning “Lenin’s City”.
On 6 September 1991, the original name, Sankt-Peterburg, was returned.
Today, in English the city is known as “Saint Petersburg”.
The factory also made lead and rule casters and headliners, and possibly type casters for old-school founders’ mats.
There was even some work to copy the Monotype system, but the precision required to make the casting machine/mould was so high that the Russians couldn’t do it.
Rumour has it that they managed to make a keyboard (typesetting machine), but I’ve yet to know the details.
The Year was 1968. I was completing my composing apprenticeship with the Griffin Press, Marion Road, Netley.
My foreman was Alf Freeman, a bald Englishman who had come from England to originally work at the Government Printing Office.
Alf had left after a couple of years for the Griffin.
There I met Nick Penn, Colin Rawlings, Rod Baker, Ted Powell, Ken Simpson, Doug Long and Norm Morcombe all who went on to work at the Old Guv from the 1970s onwards.
However, the point of this tale is to get you to look at the above typecasting machine, the Nebitype.
It was made by the Nebiolo Company of Italy. The Nebitype was a line casting typesetter that spewed a single lead printing slug around 40 picas in length.
It was vaguely similar to the Ludlow Typesetter.
But there the similarity ended, unlike the Nebitype the Ludlow was a very reliable American typesetting machine.
But there was a problem with the Nebitype during its casting cycle and I suspected there was something up when the tradesmen refused to work it.
It was left up to the apprentices, especially the new ones, like me!
The Nebitype had a mind of its own and would often spray molten lead into the air.
Luckily, there was a comp. called Ken Costello (a ballroom dancing champion) who showed me the Nebitype survival plan.
You would place the setting stick in the jaws of the machine and then everyone would scatter.
Ken Costello had a rope tied to the casting handle and the other apprentices would hide behind a typesetting frame for safety.