Monotype Composition Caster

The Mono­type machine to cast pages of con­tinu­ous text from a punched paper tape

Mono­type described this as a machine which “…auto­mat­ic­ally casts and deliv­ers lines of per­fectly-spaced lines of hard, new, deep-cut single types, being con­trolled by the per­for­ated paper rib­bon pro­duced on the keyboard”.

The key thing that marks the com­pos­i­tion caster as dif­fer­ent from their oth­er casters is that this machine was designed to pro­duce long pas­sages of text-sized type: any­thing up to 14pt.  For big­ger types an attach­ment was needed but the Mono­type Super Caster was preferable.

This machine, too, deman­ded some essen­tial, but inter­change­able, parts –

  • Mould: this defines both the body size and the height of the type (usu­ally 0.918″ in Britain)
  • Mat­rix Case: this is a case con­tain­ing the brass moulds (or matrices) that are injec­ted with mol­ten met­al to form the indi­vidu­al types.  The case holds more than one alpha­bet in a 15 x 15 or 15 x 17 lay­out.  The pos­i­tion of each char­ac­ter with­in the case is dic­tated by the width of that character
  • Nor­mal Wedge: this is a met­al wedge that defines the width of each char­ac­ter in the mat­rix case


Weight 1466 lb
Work­ing Area 7′ x 7′
Gas con­sump­tion (for gas-heated machines) 20 cu. ft./hr
Elec­tri­city consumption 2 units/hour
Air Pres­sure 15 lbs/sq. in.
Speeds 140 — 180 rpm (depend­ing on type size)
Driv­ing pulley 14″
Motor ½ horsepower
Elec­tric Heating Fun­d­it­or or Rototherm
Pot capa­city 85 lbs
Stand­ard Meas­ure (or line length) 4¼pt. to 14pt up to 60ems pica


Because this machine was pressed in to ser­vice to do all kinds of work, Mono­type pro­duced many attach­ments including –

  • Dis­play: this is use to cast types of up to 36pt, but a speed reg­u­lat­or is also needed to get the caster to run at the cor­rect speed
  • Duplex Mould, and Dual Type attach­ments used for cast­ing exot­ic types
  • Ingot Feed­er: to keep the mol­ten met­al in the machine con­stantly topped up
  • Large Type Com­pos­i­tion: used to extend the size of the type that can be cast with auto­mat­ic spa­cing and sequen­cing.  This extends the range of the machine to 24 point from 14 point
  • Lead and Rule: allowed for the cre­ation of rules and leads from 1½pt to 12pt to any length from 6picas to 25 inches
  • Lead­ing: allows for pre-cast rules to be inser­ted between lines as they are com­posed by the machine
  • Light­ing: which included a mag­ni­fy­ing glass to inspect the types as they were produced
  • Quad­ding and Cen­ter­ing: to help with cast­ing space in centred or ranged-right or left lines
  • Reverse Deliv­ery: to accom­mod­ate right-to-left-read­ing languages
  • Speed Reg­u­lat­ors: to get the machine to work at the best speeds for lar­ger types or rules and leads