The Typographic Hub

The ‘Unicast’

23rd June 2013

The ‘Unicast’ hand-lever type caster

The 'Unicast’ was a hand typecasting machine made in the 1950s by Ufina Ltd, London. It could reproduce existing types and blocks regardless of size and language and offered wide possibilities to printers throughout the world. The machine comprised a variable casting mould that could be altered in size from 0 x 0 inch to 1.25 x 1.25 inch. To reproduce type or blocks, the original was placed in the mould and locked in to position then molten metal was poured in to the top of the mould. On opening the mould the matrix and original could be removed and the matrix replaced in the mould leaving a cavity below. A funnel-shaped pouring vent was placed over the cavity and molten metal was introduced until the cavity was full and excess metal built up in the neck and vent. A shearing lever trimmed off the excess from the bottom of the reproduction. Widening the mould allowed the matrix and the reproduction to fall our separately and for further replicas, the same matrix was replaced and the procedure was repeated. Heat insulation between the faces of the original and the matrix, and the matrix and the reproduction was by means of a fine layer of soot that had been applied to the faces by holding them briefly at the edge of a smoky flame.