Movable type and the typographer's last words

Sigfrid Lundberg's Stuff 2015-01-14

Bookmark and Share

A as in Ariella
A as in Ariella

Capital A in the font Ariella 36p. Ariella was used for printing flyers and stuff.

Waldermar Lundberg, my father, was born 1915. He was a printer and typographer and established a small workshop around 1947. The images here show some of the equipment he kept after his retirement 1975. He continued to work with printing and bookbinding until his death 2007.

Berling Antikva. Semi-bold.
Berling Antikva. Semi-bold.

The top case contains Garamond 10p, the rest is Berling 12p up to 24p in step of four.

All types were stored in rack cabinets like this. My father had a fairly complete set of Berling Antiqua, designed by Karl-Erik Forsberg (1914-1995) in the 1950s and produced by Berling type foundry here in Lund until 1980, when the company ended its more than 170 years in the graphical industry. The Berling Type Foundry was established in Copenhagen 1750 and continued its business there until 1783. It was then reestablished in Lund 1837.

Hand composing is significantly more complicated than typing touch on a computer or type writer. It is more like it than you would expect, though. You have to know where the types are, and they are not in alphabetical order. Think of a QWERTY keyboard, but you have a large number of different space keys. Width equal to the width of l, n and m is just a start. There were spaces thin as paper. Think of the work to compose whole books having justified margins!

I worked several summers mid 1960s decomposing matrixes in the composing room, and I even did some smaller composing jobs. I think I could do it again.

Movable type
Movable type

Type pieces for large print were stored in cases like this, standing in rows between wooden ribs. This case could be well be the home for Ariella 36p.

Printing presses
Printing presses

Prior to his retirement, my father had ten to 15 employees and an at times flourishing business. During a period in the mid 1960s he was the second largest Swedish printer of time cards, and he had also a not insignificant portion of the Norwegian market.

After his retirement he worked in this basement workshop for about thirty years. He had various printing presses, including a fairly large modern offset press during a brief period. He kept these two old vintage tabletop printing presses until his death. He inherited one from a colleague and the other had been in his possession since the 1940s.

My brother, Torsten, and I donated one of them and a rack cabinet to a local museum. The rest of the equipment went to a young talented graphical designer Markus Sjöborg who has a small business in Malmö. He makes good use of this and other equipment he finds out there.

The Typographer's Last     Words
The Typographer's Last Words

This matrix is for printing a text on a book spine in one of the printing presses. They are the last words typeset by my father.


Subscribe to Stuff from Sigfrid LundbergSubscribe to my stuff

stuff by category || year


My name is Sigfrid Lundberg. The stuff I publish here may, or may not, be of interest for anyone else.

On this site there is material on photography, music, literature and other stuff I enjoy in life. However, most of it is related to my profession as an Internet programmer and software developer within the area of digital libraries. I have been that at the Royal Danish Library, Copenhagen (Denmark) and, before that, Lund university library (Sweden).

The content here does not reflect the views of my employers. They are now all past employers, since I retired 1 May 2023.

Creative Commons License
This entry (Movable type and the typographer's last words) within Sigfrid Lundberg's Stuff, by Sigfrid Lundberg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.