American Type Founders Inventory

When the once great ATF declared bankruptcy in 1993, the end came to the largest type foundry the world has known. Owned by Kingsley, a manufacturer of hot foil equipment, the parent company located in California went down also. Kingsley had purchased ATF to insure that their source of zinc type would continue as zinc type could withstand the hotter temperatures of foil stamping.

Down to a handful of employees, the demise of ATF is well documented by Theo Rehak in his book, "The Rise and Fall of ATF." The liquidation auction of ATF was a chaotic and mismanaged affair. NA Graphic's owners at the time, Hal Stern and Tom Bell, attended and were able to beat the scrappers to acquire the inventory of completed type. For another $10, they got the thin space cutting machine and metal inventory that went with it which we now use. The majority of ATF ended up being scrapped but some important pieces were saved with the Smithsonian Institution being one of the major players.

We have not advertised the ATF type over the years an much of it remains, some seven or eight thousand packages just as the women who did the work left it. It is all sitting nicely shelved about 15 feet from our office area. We now face the reality of needing to sell the type to gain space. The prices are the same as Hal and Tom listed them back in 1993, and those prices are substantially less than what ATF had been selling the type for in the 1980s and 90s. What we have is anything from a single package of one size of a face to multiple complete fonts of another face. Sizes range from 6 point to 120 point. While most of the type was cast on the Barth caster, a fair amount was cast on pivotal casters. The faces represented are those shown in the 1979 ATF catalog, their last one. Besides type faces in their respective families, we have some extras such as monograms, accented characters for many faces, handi fonts, special characters such as braces, fractions, quads and spacing in a few sizes, and other stray fonts. This is an excellent time to add to existing type in your collection filling out your cases. Hal and Tom also bought the remaining inventories of several of the regional distributors of ATF type.

Most, though not all, ATF type has the series number cast on the shoulder of the cap H or the lowercase m. Some of the identical designs have been cast on Monotype casters and the type will not align properly with ATF type, so do not mix the types. Check for discussions on how to tell ATF foundry type from all the others. If all we have is a complete font of caps, lowercase, and figures (numbers to some of you), of a particular size, then we won't break the font. And you should realize what the word font really means in the letterpress, pre-computerized digital age.

Please send inquiries for type in an e-mail to, no phone calls or text messages. Our last inventory was made in 1996, so we will check actual stock with corresponding prices. Posted June, 2021.