Arabic Movable Metal Letters

Movable Metal Letters are just amazing. [Especially for type lovers like me ;)]

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I have recently bought Arabic and Latin movable metal type. They were for an old Arabic printing press in the Shouf area in Mount Lebanon. The owner of the movable letters wanted to sale them as trash, and I was lucky to find out about them and save the valuable metal letters from being melted done or simply trashed.

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9 Arabic fonts and 6 Latin fonts was what I got. Along with one Composing Stick.
What is amazing is that the Arabic mattress is twice as big as the Latin one.

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For the Arabic, I got one Arabic Naskh typeface in 8pt, 12pt, 24pt Regular and Bold.
For the Latin I have Helvetica Italic in 48 pts, one Serif type named Romine and one Sans Serif type named Europe. Each of Romine and Europe are in 12 pt and 18pt.

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I made a wooden closet for the Latin mattresses based on the traditional closet shape for the drawers…
 As for the Arabic mattresses, I am still thinking what is the best way to store or display them. I am thinking of a metallic shelves system to put the Arabic huge mattresses in since the wood will not be strong enough the hold them.

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I am now in the process of cleaning them from dust, so this is taking me hell of a time. Whenever I have some time off or need to take a brake from work, I clean some letters.

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My next step is to find and buy the traditional printing press, but this will take more time for me to put aside the price amount of it…


Then maybe open a small press for educational use where students can come and typeset type. And for sure I can use I to make some prints with it…

I would also like to know the names of the Arabic fonts and know their origins. When and where they were casted? Where were they before they got to the Shouf press?…

71 thoughts on “Arabic Movable Metal Letters

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  1. Wow… just wow.
    I can’t tell you how much even looking at those pictures excites me – I can’t believe that guy was gonna throw it away — if I had it my way I’d frame all of them and put them up on my wall.

  2. u were LUCKY ur two GOOD students found the print place…:P
    and u bought them withought even tellin them … !! youuuuuu …. TYPO FREAK :P !!!
    have fun cleanin …….:D

  3. Hi Pascal, this is great. You may have rescued important historical evidence. I m looking forward to see details. I would also love to join you in analyzing the structure of these fonts.

    Regards,

    t

  4. I work with a traditional typesetter in France. We are trying to find a set of movable Arabic letters for a bilingual French/Arabic publication (for 2009).

    Do you know how/where we might be able to get hold of a set?

  5. Hello Olivier

    well the set i got was by chance. there was an old arabic typesetting printing house that need to close and are getting rid of all the matrices. so i took them….
    there is still some traditional arabic typesetting printing houses in he Middle East, but you really have to go and find them… write me an email and then we can discuss detailed info.
    cheers

  6. Hi Pascal,

    this is exactly what i’m looking for. Just sent you an email. I’m in Dubai and will be travelling to egypt and syria in a few weeks. Please let me know if you know of any old letterpress printers in alex, cairo, or damashq.

    thanks,
    jake

    incredible blog

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