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You are here: Home / Conferences / Antwerp 2018 / Programme

Wood type in Brazil

When Thu 13 Sep 0950
Where Arenberg Theater
Who Rafael Dietzsch
This presentation reports on the outcomes of a project on the characterisation of wood type by a network of three Brazilian universities and the Brazilian Forestry Service. We started with the intention of producing new wood typefaces for use in contemporary letterpress practice. However, species such as maple, oak, and pine are exotic to South America, leading us to hypothesise that local species were used for wood type throughout the 20th century. No wood type factories survive, and little has been written about the topic, so we turned our attention to primary sources. With the help of enthusiasts around the country, we collected examples of Brazilian wood types, and examined them with the help of the Forest Products Laboratory. Tests included microscopic images, prototyping and printing tests, and testing for resistance, torsion, and flexibility. The laboratory analysis confirmed our hypothesis: microscopic images and anatomic comparison showed that six native and a couple of exotic species were used to make type in the region. This analysis allowed the identification of alternative native species with similar properties for the making of our prototypes, and obtaining printed tests from these materials. Our methodology and findings can support letterpress research and practice worldwide.

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