Early mould at Plantin Moretus

 

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Copy of the Plantin Moretus GI 48 type mould

The world renowned collection of printing artefacts at the Plantin Moretus museum in Antwerp includes some sixty two complete type moulds ranging in date from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. The mould listed as GI 48 is particularly interesting. It is simple in form but beautifully made and appears to be the oldest in the collection and perhaps the oldest in the world. It is made in brass and follows the German or Flemish pattern but with an unusual funnel shaped jet. It still has what seem to be its original woods which call to mind the moulds pictured by Jost Ammon in his 1568 Book of trades. In 1997 I made measurements and drawings of the GI 48 mould in order to make the copy above. It works very satisfactorily.

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In Ammons woodcut several moulds can be seen on the shelf at top right with pyramidal shaped woods reminiscent of GI 48 but without the spring for holding the matrix in place. However, this image is suspect in other respects.  Would anyone risk pouring molten type metal from an overlarge ladle over his or her lap?

Next – The Fust and Schöffer Psalter initials