Origin of mechanical slant

Wikipedia mentions Linn Loyd Benton’s pantograph invention could derive slanted forms from an upright drawing. I wonder if someone have more details about how it worked? Were there other (mechanical) methods to produce slanted variants? What is the origin of digital slanting as we know it?

Comments

  • I always imagined this as being done by a drunk compositor with a few drawers of lead sorts, a blowtorch and some pliers and clamps. But this is not echoed in any proper sources, which is a shame, because it sounds very exciting to me.
  • Maxim ZhukovMaxim Zhukov Posts: 33
    edited December 2015
    According to Spirov, one of the methods of generating oblique and italic versions of typefaces, used in the USSR in 1920s–1950s was photographic transformation of the upright/roman master styles (Nikolai Spirov. Proektirovanie i proizvodstvo tipografskikh shriftov. Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1959; pp. 149–150).


  • George ThomasGeorge Thomas Posts: 346
    edited December 2015
    What is mentioned in the Wiki article is probably Benton's Engraver. I believe it is covered by US Patent 809,548, January 9, 1906. Google Patents should have a PDF copy of that if you want to read it. It has a lengthy description as to how it works although not in easily understandable terms. Today everything it did can be done using software.

    According to Theo Rehak's book, Benton did build a small number of pantograph engraving machines which utilized the same cutting tools as his Engraver but I doubt he ever patented it since the pantograph already existed.
  • Isn't it possible that the Pantograph could draw oblique copies just by adjusting the angles?
  • Yes, it can produce obliques.
  • Linn Boyd Benton. Wikipedia is wrong. Thanks for the insight.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,010
    Pantographs were used to make wood type in the mid-19th century—it would have thus been possible to produce slanted letters in this manner—perhaps champfered style with all straight lines?
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,010
    edited December 2015
    I would imagine that several block-shaped phototypositor-era italic typefaces were produced by mechanical slanting, with minimal clean-up. For instance, Inverserif, Russell Square, Serpentine.
  • Nick, I thought Typositor slants were done photographically? I remember ordering headlines in the 70s that came back sloped instead of italic and being pissed.  They said they did not have the italic and it was easier to slope the upright than find the font.
  • Pantographs were used to make wood type in the mid-19th century—it would have thus been possible to produce slanted letters in this manner—perhaps champfered style with all straight lines?

    It’s not necessarily a wood type thing. Pantographs could also have been used to save time drawing oblique forms just as we do now-use the pantograph to do half the drawing work, and the remaining half is cleanup. I just pulled some specimen books from MS&J and Cincinatti of the shelf and they both had some nasty backslanted gothics that might have been done mechanically.

  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,010
    Nick, I thought Typositor slants were done photographically?

    Chris, I consider phototypositor mods to be mechanical, as per Maxim’s diagrams. One distinction: digital vs. mechanical (a.k.a analog), as opposed to a tripartate system of metal/photo/digital.

     
  • Linn Boyd Benton. Wikipedia is wrong. Thanks for the insight.
    Wikipedia had it right, just an error by the person citing Wikipedia.  :smile: 
  • Oy with the poodles already! (I guess it’s high time for a break.)
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