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Movable metal types from Funtimod: contributions to the Brazilian typographic history

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Isabella Ribeiro Aragão
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo (FAU/SBI)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Priscila Lena Farias; Marcos da Costa Braga; Catherine Rachel Dixon; Marcos Corrêa de Mello Felisette; Edna Lúcia Oliveira da Cunha Lima
Advisor: Priscila Lena Farias

Type founding was one of the most important activities for the graphic arts since its beginning in the fifteenth century until the middle of twentieth century. However, the first type foundries were only installed in Brazil in the beginning of 1800s a few years after the Portuguese Court allowed printing in Brazilian lands, and when the technique was still performed with manual methods. Technical innovations developed in the nineteenth century, mainly, typecasting machines and pantograph punchcutting machines, which transformed type foundries into industries. Within this industrial context, Funtimod, the subject of this doctoral research and the largest Brazilian type foundry, operated during almost the entire twentieth century. Funtimod was founded in 1932 in São Paulo by a collaboration of two Germans (Karl H. Klingspor and Josef Tscherkassky), the German-Brazilian company Sociedade Técnica Bremensis, and the Swiss type foundry Haas. With branches in Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Recife e Rio de Janeiro, Funtimod supplied the graphic industry across the four corners of the country, selling all kinds of typographic materials as well as machines. Although the movable metal types cast by the company were the focus of this investigation, the case study of Funtimod also explored its historic development and the factory, through data gathered from multiple sources: specimens, documents, interviews, non-participant observations, and physical artefacts. Thereby, the evidence suggests Funtimod\'s reliance on German companies for its business development in respect to the products manufactured in Brazil. Seeing that Funtimod was equipped, like European foundries, to manufacture types from the design until the casting phases, definitely, the originality of the typeface\'s design was not considered valuable by the factory. The majority of faces, which were found in nine specimens with different typographic collections, were identified as being German, especially from D. Stempel and Klingspor foundries. Moreover, although some of the faces have not been identified in other foundries, evidence was not found that Funtimod had released in Brazil any face cast with an original design. Funtimod type collection, on the other hand, is composed with representative faces from the beginning of the twentieth century, such as Futura, Kabel, Memphis, Mondial, as well as revivals of Bodoni and Garamond. Comparative analysis of movable metal types from Funtimod revealed that singular practices were performed at the Brazilian type foundry. Among internationally well-known faces, for instance, some characters, especially the ones joined with the tilde and cedilla diacritics, presented variations in form, position, weight and size. The findings of this investigation contribute to the Brazilian typographic history in a particular way, in a intrinsic relationship with Germany, that, above all, led me to question how Brazilian Funtimod really was. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 12/01806-6 - Movable metal type from Funtimod: contributions to the Brazilian typographic history
Grantee:Isabella Ribeiro Aragão
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate