Calrose Typesetters

15 Moseley Street
Doornfontein North
2094 South Africa
+27 (76) 029-6493

sub Leading
sub Decorative rules
sub Intertype fonts
sub Ludlow fonts
sub Monotype fonts
Industry links
About Calrose
Contact us

Supplier of leading and metal type

We are one of the few if not the only remaining commercial supplier of metal type slugs and cast leading in South Africa. We supply to the Hot-foil stampers, Letterpress printers, vulcanised rubber-stamp makers, (corrugated) cardboard box printers, leather-goods stampers, bookbinders as well as some other allied industries. There is also a growing number of, artists, fine-art and hobby Letterpress users of all sorts that make use of our services.


We supply fresh leading cast on a Monotype Supercaster in 24 inch lengths in widths of 2pt, 3pt, 6pt and 12pt normally from stock. Other widths or lengths can be made on special order.

We also stock a strictly limited selection of plain and decorative lead rules and some and new old stock of Monotype fonts.

Intertype Slugs

We used to cast type on our Intertype C4 for the smaller type with some sorts. We offer 6pt, 8pt, 10pt and 12pt available in Intertype Permanent as standard. Should you want font magazine changes there is a minimum charge. The lines are cast to a length of 30 picas (5 inches, 127 mm). We trim the slugs to 10 picas for short lines or to text width as standard. Should you require us to trim to an alternate length please advise.

Ludlow slugs

We cast from handset matrixes on our Ludlow Typograph from 8pt to 48pt (a few at 60 and 72 pt) in a good limited selection of faces. We use a 22.5 pica (3.75", 95.25 mm) long 12pt wide mould as standard and trim close. For fonts larger than 12pt the face overhangs top and bottom and needs to be backed by suitable support slugs. The lines can be accurately centered (or justified manually to selected measure) as required and Italic type can also be set.

Monotype fonts for hand setting

We have a strictly limited (now decimated) number of new old stock fonts of Monotype fontsavailable from stock, if you think you may one day need some then it is time to get them now before there is no longer any chance to select. Included are select smaller fonts that are suitable for letterpress use and of little interest to the Hot Foiling users.

Type metal recycling

We recycle type metal. All of the metals used in the printing trade are suitable for recycling. We directly recycle all the lead alloys that are used in the leading strips, the cast lines of type as well as the loose Monotype and foundry type. They are all different alloys of lead. They have tin added to make the end product more durable and antimony added to increase the quality by preventing shrinkage in the mould. We accept all printers metals of known origin and offer fair value, at times our customers use their recyclables as part payment for regular work and this gives us a regular supply of type metal. Please call us first if you have some before sending it to a regular metal processor who only pays for the scrap lead value and it gets turned into low grade car wheel weights, we offer more than the going rate at a scrap yard and it all gets put to a good use.

We can also recycle your print shop brass, copper, zinc and magnesium, but more as a curtesy service to our good customers, we consolidate the small amounts that do come in and send it away for recycling. Please try to keep the various metals separate, as contamination (especially of the lead casting alloys) with a small amount of some other metals can spoil a whole pot.


In the hey day of metal type there were tens of type casters in Johannesburg alone, each major newspaper had their own shop and there were many to service the independent printers. Now as the last of the breed in a small market we have limited demand. As a means to keep prices reasonable we are only open for typecasting two days a week. This arrangement serves both us and our customers. We make sure we are available at the allotted times and are not idle due to limited work for much of the week. We operate our type casting shop in Doornfontein North in Johannesburg, not far from the Ellis Park Rugby stadium. We are open for collections and walk in orders from 11:00 to 15:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Optionally we can leave completed work at our pick-up points (Doornfontein North and Parkview) for the convenience of our suburban customers to be collected during regular office hours. We also ship via the post office for the out of town customers via parcel post, rush orders are sent via Speed Services.

All orders have to be delivered by hand or faxed in, email orders need to be confirmed by phone the day before as we do not have eMail at the shop and the order must be printed out, faxed orders need to be confirmed by phone.

We try to complete all work the day the orders are received however it depends on the time we receive the order and work in progress. The nature of this trade is noticeably seasonal and same day service is not always possible in the summer months unless you specify a rush order. We take all care to provide accurate work as per customer specifications, we pull a proof and fax if to the customer before we pack your order for collection of shipping. We cannot be held liable for consequential damages as you are responsible for checking our faxed proof and the typeset matter on receipt of your order and advising us of any mistakes immediately. We usually post the next day if you have not indicated a pick-up option, any damage due to shipping needs to be addressed with the Post Office.

When ordering cast slugs we need to know a few things so we can proceed with the order right away. If there are missing details we will have to call you back to get them and this may delay processing. We need clear copy of the text to be set, the text should be at least 12 point and is a plain face. You need to indicate the font name and weight, as well as the alignment on the slug: centered, justified (indicating the measure in Pica em's or mm), flush left or flush right. Also mention if you want CAPS only or UPPER/lower unless this is clear, especially usefull if the copy is handwritten.


When we are busy we can still expedite your order for an additional fee. If you have a deadline we will work to fit you in. If you place an order before 12:00 we can usually rush it through by 15:00 the same day for collection at our shop before 15:30 or after 16:30 from one of our pick-up points or we can ship it Speed-Services counter to counter the same day, the shipping costs can be high for large orders due to the weight. We trim close in these cases as standard.

Latest News


Closing down

11 February 2010:

We have looked hard and wide for a institution that would be interested in taking over the collection of vintage machinery and letterpress typesetting equipment and stock to turn it into a (working) museum.
A Facebook Page has been created to let people know what is happening and if you have any ideas you can communicate then there or use the contact details on this site.
Check out Letterpress South Africa portal sitefor other cool information.
I am still open to any suggestions from interested parties out there to try and preserve whatever remains of this heritage as a collection while I am selling parts of it to other crafts peole and enthusiasts.


Museum Grand Plan or Down sizing

6 July 2010:

After returning back from the Easter break we were greeted with the results of burglaries at Calrose. Subsequently there were a number of further burglaries until two of the perpetrators were apprehended in the act. The result is that 75% of our Ludlow and 90% of our Intertype matrixes have been lost or crippled and many of the Monotype fonts are gone. Given that much of the slug casting capacity has been compromised the nature of the business may have to change as it cannot easily cover the expenses at this time.
Now for the Grand Plan, my goal when I started as a volunteer apprentice 4+ years ago at Calrose was to see the machinery preserved for future generations. When Bert Retired and I purchased the business this was a key factor in my decision to invest, my personal letterpress needs are much more modest and I do not need a complete typesetting business just for my own use. I have a vision of a Working Museum where I would share the space with a hand paper maker, a letterpress typesetter, a letterpress printer and a hand book binder, perhaps with a small book cloth weaving operation. The idea would be to have all the trades required to make books without computers all under one roof. There would be a central display area with historical artefacts and ephemera and then glass separating the visitors from the various stages of book production that they could observe. A small shop could sell hand made paper, postcards, greeting cards and take orders for book binding and small print jobs. A non-lending reference library would be used to preserve the older less common books relating to the matter at hand. I have people who are interested in working there as bookbinders and can likely source a printer and hand made paper maker. I can likely add in a number of older (some working) vintage presses for displays and over time source a large collection of historical value.
I was happy to keep the business running at the low capacity while searching for the correct location and possible partner/sponsor to become available, however it is no longer operating at break even and I have to try and speed up my future plans. Either I must become active to preserve the whole of the business or wind it down elegantly and sadly have the collection of vintage hot metal and photo typesetting equipment dispersed or destroyed.
I am open to any suggestions from interested parties out there to try and preserve this heritage.


Letterpress on exhibition

13 July 2010:

My friend Mark and I have placed 91 Letterpress prints from 90 different printers around the world on exhibit at the William Cullen Library at Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa.
You can see details of the exhibition at the following link.
It runs until 23 July, dont miss it.


Soccer Fever and other closures

9 May 2010:

We have determined the dates of the Soccer World Cup 2010 matches that will be played at Ellis Park Stadium close to our shop which are likely to cause traffic disruptions and parking problems.
It turns out that the matches are being distributed in the Gauteng region between three stadiums and only on alternate days so there are not all that many clashes. On June 15 Brazil will play Korea and on June 24 Slovakia will play Italy. Access to our shop on other days should be as normal with perhaps slightly elevated traffic congestion.
We plan to be open but cannot be sure just yet, try and arrange collections or visits outside these two days to avoid dissapointment.
We will be closing early on 13 May before 12:00 but should come in a bit earlier.


A time to remember

13 April 2010:
There will be a memorial service for Bert (born 1 October 1938 died 11 April 2010) at the St. Mungo's United church on Friday 16 April at 3pm. All are invited. St. Mungo's is situated on the corner of Grosvenor Road and William Nicol Drive in Bryanston.



News Archive