Wood Type


March 2012: John Hancock

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

The wood-type for this month is called John Hancock. According to Mac McGrew’s book on American typefaces the John Hancock typeface was first introduced in metal by the Keystone Type Foundry in 1903. It was patented in 1906 with the patent assigned to Charles W. Smith, presumably the designer. It was named after John Hancock, one of our founding fathers, who was president of the Continental Congress and was also the first signer of the Declaration of Independence. This typeface was copied as wood-type soon enough to appear in the 1906 Hamilton specimen book.

McGrew described Hancock as a modern, no-frills, hard working typeface. The serifs are modest in size, and the brackets have diagonal strokes most easily seen on the uppercase E, F and T. The lower case letters are tall with short ascenders and decenders. Our wood-type sample “SAFETY” is an 8 line condensed version of John Hancock manufactured by Hamilton. We did not find a current use of this typeface, so we have included a copy of page 157 (shown below) from the 1906 Keystone specimen book.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


January 2012: Grecian

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

We begin this year 2012 with a wood-type for January that is called Grecian. It is believed that this typeface originated as wood-type and was designed by Wells and Webb in the 1840s. It first appeared in 1846 in a wood-type specimen book prepared by Wells for the L. Johnson Foundry. It was the practice back then for wood-type manufacturers to distribute some of their product for sale through the metal type foundries. It was a win-win situation with increased sales for both companies. Wells showed the type in their own catalog in 1849. The initial showing included condensed and extra condensed versions. It was soon copied by all of the wood-type manufacturers. Some added full face and other variations of Grecian. The lower case however did not appear until the 1870s.

The distinctive feature of the Grecian typeface is the absence of any curved edges on the letters. Rather the curves are replaced by straight-line approximations to a curve. The letter “O” for example has an external boundary consisting of an elongated octagon, and an interior boundary of a smaller and narrower elongated octagon. The serifs from antique type are retained. The resulting letter shapes convey an image of strength.

Although the Grecian typeface enjoyed popularity in the 1800s, it is not used much today. Accordingly, our example of Grecian type is shown below in the Civil War recruitment poster for a Union rifle regiment. Various typeface are present, but note that line 7 “REGIMENT” and line10 “PAY COMMENCES AT ONCE” both use Grecian extra condensed type. Our sample “TROOPS” is a 16 line condensed version of Grecian manufactured by Cooley sometime between 1859 and 1868.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

November 2011: Caslon

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

Caslon is the first original English typeface. Designed and cut in metal by William Caslon, the first few sizes were issued in 1722. This new typeface quickly replaced many of the Dutch typefaces used previously. Its popularity in England led to its being exported throughout the British Empire including the American colonies. It was a favorite type for Ben Franklin who had met Caslon in London, and he recommended its use to other printers as well. When the Declaration of Independence was written, it was printed using Caslon’s type (see below) so that King George would have no trouble reading the text.

By 1800 this typeface had fallen out of favor. In 1860 Lawrence Johnson arranged to reissue Caslon’s type under the name of Old Style since naming type after the designer was not yet in vogue. The reissue was successful, and in 1878 Old Style first appeared as wood-type No.119 in a specimen book by Page. Out sample “Liberty” is a 5 line version of Old Style Bold (now Caslon Bold) by Hamilton.

Since 1900 there have been many re-cuts and additional variations so that the McGrew book on metal typefaces shows over 50 versions of Caslon. Those that are true to their origin are still in use today. One of these has been used for “United States of America” on the fuselage of Air Force One (see below).

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

October 2011: Mystery

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

The ingredients of a wood-type column seem simple enough; an interesting wood-type font, its identity, a bit of its history, and some current use of that typeface. But the current use is often the most difficult part to find. My approach is to start with an interesting typeface, check to see if we have a wood-type version in our collection, and if we do then identify it, and write about its history.

A few years of proofing wood-type and writing columns does wonders for one’s typeface awareness, and interesting typefaces show up anywhere in daily life. This month’s column began one day about a year ago at lunch at “Chicago for Ribs” where their intriguing logo (shown below at end) was displayed on their menus and their take-out bags. The three lines of type beginning with RIBS with the thick/thin lettering just looked like it should be in wood-type. So I took a take-out bag as a sample, and found a match in the Hamilton 1906 Catalog (No. 658 below right). I began looking through our wood-type proofs and found that we had a 10-line version in the widest (No. 657 below left) of the four varieties shown in the Hamilton Catalog. These four entries were identified only as Hamilton Nos. 657 through 660. However, no typeface name was provided, hence no information on its origin. Google searches did not provide anything useful, so the information was put in the “future columns file”.

       

Recently I found another sample of this typeface, a more condensed version (No. 659 below left) that the museum had acquired. Both of our samples RIBS RIBS (shown above) are the Hamilton10-line variety. Last week I did yet another Google search on these Hamilton type numbers and finally found a bonanza of information.

       

Someone with this same woodtype had asked for help identifying it on Briar Press, a useful website for the letterpress community. One knowledgeable person responded that the typeface is McCullagh (named after a St Louis newspaper editor) and was issued by AFT (American Type Founders) in 1898. When Hamilton did the wood-type version they increased the range to include four variations (expanded No. 657 through extra condensed No. 660). Also on the Briar Press dialog thread, David Shields from the University of Texas added that Hamilton first showed this type in 1899, and that it was later produced by Tubbs Wood-Type Co. In fact checking the information on McCullagh in various printing references, I also learned that the designer of the McCullagh typeface was Gustav F. Schroeder. That last fact completes the story, and that is pretty much how a typical wood-type column comes together.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

September 2011: Gothic Round

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

Gothic Round in a variation of the standard Gothic typeface. According to the Rob Roy Kelly Wood-type Website, the origin of the Gothic typeface dates back to the late 1700s in England when san-serif letters were used on inscriptions and sign boards. These letters had equal stroke weights but no serifs. By 1816 this san-serif typeface was being cast in metal in England. Over time it became known as Egyptian or Grotesque. When it was introduced in the US it became known as Gothic.

The Gothic typeface first appeared as wood-type in Nesbitt’s 1838 catalog of Edwin Allan’s wood-type. The catalog featured several variations of Gothic including Gothic Round. This typeface is the same as standard Gothic except that the external corners are all rounded. The other wood-type manufacturers quickly copied it. Our sample “DRIVE THRU” is a 6 line wood-type manufactured by the Page Company. Today you can find stylized versions of Gothic Round on the logos of some fast food companies. Three popular favorites are shown below.

          

 

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

August 2011: Corbitt

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

The wood-type for August is called Corbitt. It was designed by Nicholas J. Werner and issued as a metal typeface by the Inland Foundry in 1900. It was initially issued in standard and condensed sizes. According to Mac McGrew’s book on Metal Typefaces, Corbitt typeface is characterized by a blend of thick and thin strokes with very small serifs. It served as a transition from the ornate typefaces of the gilded age to the more modern type of the early 20th century.

In a few years Corbitt had been copied in wood-type, and appeared in the 1906 Hamilton specimen book under the slightly modified name of Corbett. It was also manufactured as wood-type by at least two other companies: Empire and Tubbs. Our sample “TRAVEL” is a 6 line version by Tubbs. Current use of Corbitt (or Corbett) have been difficult to find, so we present a sample ad shown in the 1912 edition of Typefaces by American Type Founders (ATF).

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

July 2011: Antique Tuscan

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

 

The wood-type for July is called Antique Tuscan. According to the Rob Roy Kelly Wood-Type Collection website, it has the distinction of being one of those wood-types that was cut first in wood and copied in metal later. Antique Tuscan was designed by Wells and Webb and was first shown in 1849. Five years later this same company added lower case type as well as condensed, extra condensed, and extended versions of Antique Tuscan. In the 1800s the wood-type manufacturers flagrantly copied type designs from each other even to the point of using the same typeface name as the original designer. So in 1859 the next variations of Antique Tuscan were developed not by Wells, but by the Page Wood-Type Company when they introduced Antique Tuscan Expanded and Antique Tuscan XX Condensed.

The key design feature of Antique Tuscan was to substitute concave curved lines for straight lines. The junction of two adjacent lines then resulted in sharply pointed corners to achieve the desired Tuscan look. All variations of Antique Tuscan shared this design feature and achieved wide popularity for the remainder of the 1800s in both wood and metal formats. Our sample “HOLSTER” is a 12 line Antique Tuscan XX Condensed wood-type made in the late 1800s by Vanderburgh and Wells, a later version of the original Wells company. Today Antique Tuscan shows up occasionally. One notable example was the use of the XX Condensed version for the title poster for the 2005 film “WALK THE LINE” about the early years of Johnny Cash and June Carter.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

June 2011: Neuland

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

The wood-type for June is called Neuland. It was designed in 1923 by Rudolph Koch for the Kingspor Type Foundry in Germany. Neuland was originally cut in metal and came in two varieties Neuland (std) and Neuland Inline. The inline variety provides a white stripe running the length of each stroke. Both are shown in the sample above. It is thought that Koch was striving for a modern version of blackletter type when he designed Neuland. He retained the heavy stroke of blackletter but eliminated all serifs to achieve the streamlined look desired in the Art Deco 1920s. Koch intended the Neuland typeface to be the modern replacement for blackletter in use on important documents. However, when the Neuland typeface arrived in the US, its distributor, the Continental Typefounder’s Assoc promoted the heavy stroked Neuland as an eye catching advertising typeface. It was successful in this application and was later copied in wood-type. Our sample “PAGO PAGO” is a 6 line type from the American Woodtype Co. In the more recent decades, the Neuland typeface has become associated with a wild or exotic theme. This is exemplified with the logos showing Neuland (std) for the Broadway musical Lion King, and Neuland Inline for the movie Jurassic Park.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

May 2011: Ballon

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

The wood-type for May is called Balloon. It was designed in metal in 1939 by Max R. Kaufmann for the American Type Founders (ATF) for use in the dialog balloons of comic strips; hence the name Balloon. It was intended as competition for a typeface named Cartoon designed by Howard Trafton in 1936 for the Bauer Foundry for the same application. Max R. Kaufmann is shown working on his typeface in the photo below. The Balloon typeface was designed in three Italic versions: light, bold, and extra bold. All three versions provide capital letters only, and have a plain yet casual appearance consistent with its intended use. Balloon also found use in display and signage applications, and within a few years it was copied into wood-type. Our sample “COMICS” is a 10 line extra bold version from an unidentified manufacturer. The Balloon extra bold version found some fame from 1984 to 2007 when it was used in the logos of Nickelodeon (the children’s daytime cable channel) and Nick at Nite (the companion evening channel). Both logos are shown below.

 

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

April 2011: De Vinne

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

The wood-type for April is called De Vinne. It was initially a metal typeface named after Theodore De Vinne who was a major printer in the late 1800s. According to the book “American Metal Typefaces of the Twentieth Century” by Mac McGrew, De Vinne began a two year correspondence in 1888 with the Central Foundry to promote the need for a simpler display typeface to replace the heavily ornamented typefaces in fashion at the time. The result of the design work by Nicholas Werner and Gustav Schroeder was issued circa 1891 and quickly became a successful and popular display typeface. Unlike many typefaces named after their designer, this one was named De Vinne for the man who saw its need. McGrew also shows another typeface named De Vinne (roman-like) that was produced by Linotype in 1902 and it should not be confused with the earlier display typeface.

Within a few years De Vinne (display typeface) was copied by other metal type foundries and by 1895 it was copied in wood-type and featured Hamilton’s 1995 catalog. Our sample “GLAMOUR” is an 8-line wood-type by Hamilton. The sample word was selected to showcase some of the more distinctive letters from this typeface. Today it is difficult to find current examples of the De Vinne typeface, so the recent book (from 2003) on inflation shown below is supplemented by three examples from the 1890s. These are the 1893 Chicago Fair souvenir and the two ads for fishing tackle and a Jell-O-like product.

If any reader knows of additional current examples

please forward those to me at mail@printmuseum.org.

 

 

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

March 2011: Goudy Bold

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

 

The wood-type for March is called Goudy Bold. It was designed in metal in 1916 by Morris Fuller Benton of the American Type Foundry (ATF). It was named for Frederic Goudy who had designed Goudy Old Style for the ATF just a year earlier, and Benton was tasked by ATF to design the bold version. Goudy had sold that design to them for $1500 and it became the basis for ATF’s “Goudy Family” of typefaces. Unfortunately, he did not profit further from their success.

Frederic Goudy was born in 1865. He spent many years of his early life as a bookkeeper while he taught himself printing and type design. In 1895 he opened Camelot Press in Chicago. By the time he designed Goudy Bold for ATF he had designed 24 other typefaces. Goudy would go on to do well over 100 well-regarded typefaces in his career.

Goudy Bold became a popular display type with its visual strength and easy readability. By the 1920s it was included in wood-type catalogs. Our sample “ICE” is a 10 line Goudy Bold Condensed wood-type from an unidentified manufacturer. By the late 1960s Goudy Bold was the favorite typeface of the alcoholic beverage industry. This continues today but to a lesser degree. Two current samples from the liquor industry are shown below. Hollywood has also made good use of Goudy Bold in titles of such films as The Blues Brothers, Blade Runner, Batman, and Trading Places (shown below).

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

February 2011: Kaufmann

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

The wood-type for February is called Kaufmann, named after Max R. Kaufmann who designed the typeface for the ATF (American Type Foundry). It was released in 1936 as a metal typeface in standard and bold versions. Kaufmann is a script typeface with lower case letters that fit closely to form a cursive style that has an informal look and is very readable. The even weight of the stroke made Kaufmann a popular choice for script neon signs, in addition to its many print uses. Within two years of its release Kaufmann was included in the Hamilton Wood Type catalog for 1938 and was soon featured by other wood type manufactures. Our sample “American” is a 10 line type from the Acme Wood Type Co. of New York.

The Kaufmann typeface has enjoyed much use in advertising and the entertainment world. In the 1970s the bold version was used for the players’ names on Topps baseball cards (see below). Today it is used in the Logo for the Late Show with David Letterman (also below). However it is more widely seen by the large number of people who watch American Idol where it is featured in the shows logo (see below) which is almost always on screen. It does resemble a neon sign and they did modify the A to include the swish stroke heading for the dot of the “i”. Although American viewers think of this show as there own, it is really a spin off of the British TV show Pop Idol. But the American version is not the only spin off. Today there are about 42 Idol shows scattered across the world including Australian Idol, Asian Idol, Macedonian Idol (see below), and Ethiopian Idol to name a few. So the Idol shows are pervasive, and they are also very pervasive in the use of Kaufmann Bold as the typeface for those many of the 42 logos that use the English alphabet.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

January 2011: Brush Script

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

The wood-type for January is called Brush Script. This name was covered in an earlier column where Brush Script was treated as a category of wood-type. This time it is the name of a specific typeface. Brush Script was designed as a metal typeface in 1942 by Robert E. Smith for the ATF (American Type Foundry). It was designed as a more modern script to replace older designs. Although made of separate letters, it has the appearance of joined letters suggesting a casual cursive handwriting. It was widely used for advertising and other commercial purposes in the post WWII era. Its popularity led to overuse, which was later, followed by a period of avoidance. Accordingly, it is not in wide used today. Some examples of Brush Script advertising are shown in the photos below for Florida State Parks, Famous Dave’s BBQ Sauce (text in red oval), and a recent ESPN home run derby.

This typeface later found use as sign type. This type has grooves on the backside, which allow easy placement of the type on bars of a showcard press. These presses were typically used by large department stores for in-house advertising and other interior signs. Some of these presses provided very large print areas, up to 40 by 60 in. for posters or other large jobs. See photos of grooved and showcard press below. “Happy 2011” is an 8-line type by an unknown manufacturer.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Modern

November 2010: Kabel

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

 

The wood-type for November is Kabel, and was named in honor of a transatlantic telephone cable completed in 1926.The typeface was designed by German designer Rudolph Koch and released in 1927 as a metal typeface by the Klingspor foundry in Germany. Kabel is a geometric sans-serif design which appears to have been part of a design trend in Germany at the time that had already yielded one other geometric sans-serif design named Erbar and others, Futura and Berythold Grotesque, were in development. It was a successful metal type design and by 1932 Kabel and Kabel Bold were both shown in Hamilton’s wood-type catalog. Out sample “Modern” is an 8-line type Kabel Bold from Hamilton.

In addition to its geometric origin Kabel is characterized by some classical and even calligraphic influences that combine to yield a unique and less rigid look than some of the other geometric typefaces. Kabel retains the 30 degree rotated lower case “e” from an earlier era and most linear strokes end in an eight degree slant to perpendicular. These features plus others give Kabel its special look. It has enjoyed much popularity over the years where millions of people have seen it every day. People of all ages should recognize it from two widely seen applications; the NBC logo that appears on your TV station and the name in the middle of the Monopoly board (both below in bold). Kabel has also been used on TV shows, movie titles, and names of products and stores. Leggs and Piggly Wiggly are two examples (also shown below).

NBCmonopolyLEGGS 2piggly wiggly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Bodoni sample #2

October 2010: Bodoni

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

 

 

 

 

Bodoni refers to a series of type faces originally designed in 1798 by Giambattista Bodoni (1743 – 1813). After working at a Catholic press in Rome, Bodoni was invited at the age of 28 to set up and run the official press of the Duke of Parma. He spent the rest of his long career there. His goal in type design was to achieve to a more modern style for that era. Bodoni modified his design over his career and resulted in a style that featured 1) contrast via the use of narrow and wide strokes, 2) thin serifs matching the narrow strokes in thinness, and 3) little or no brackets where the serifs join the vertical strokes. The result is a design that survived over 200 years and has influenced other type designers over these years.

 

In the early 1900s ATF (American Type Foundry) issued several variations of Bodoni typefaces. These became popular and other variations followed in time. By the 1930s Bodoni was being cut in wood-type by Hamilton and other minor producers. Our sample “NEWS HOUR” is a 10 line Bodoni Bold sign type manufactured and sold with department store sign machines. Note the variation in the “W” between the Bold sample and the standard Bodoni shown below.

 

The Bodoni typeface continues to be widely used today. Some examples shown below include the title of the “News Hour” with Jim Lehrer, the CK logo for Calvin Klein, and “NIRVANA” as it appears on the album covers of the rock band of the same name. Other uses include movie titles for Mama Mia and the Black Dahlia, as well as companies including Giorgio Armani, Elizabeth Arden, Hilton Hotels and IBM.

Jim Lehrer NewsHourCalvin Kleinnirvana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Gaga Proof Type

September 2010: Franklin Gothic

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

 

 

The wood-type for September is called Franklin Gothic and was named in honor of America’s most famous printer Benjamin Franklin. It was designed by Morris Fuller Benton in 1902, and issued by the ATF (American Type Foundry) in 1903. Later issues provided variations including condensed, italic, and shaded. The Franklin Gothic typeface achieves a bold look with a combination of heavy and medium stroke widths resulting in this typeface being one of ATF’s most popular designs. In the early 1900s Franklin Gothic was also being produced in wood-type. Our sample “Gaga” is a 6-line version in sign type by an unidentified manufacturer.

This typeface has been widely used in newspapers, advertising, museums, universities, as well as the music and film industries. Memorable applications, shown below, include the film title of the Dark Night, the second album of Lady Gaga, and various tax forms for the IRS.

Dark Knightlady gaga album #2

IRS form

 

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Horse Type Sample001

August 2010: Clarendon

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

 

 

The wood-type for August is called Clarendon. It was created as a metal typeface in England by Robert Besley in 1845 for the Fann Street Foundry. The typeface was named after the prestigious Clarendon Press in Oxford that was home of the King James Version of the bible, the Oxford English Dictionary and other major publications. The Clarendon typeface is a compromise in weight between the heavier Antique/Egyptian and the lighter Roman. This change in weight plus the use of brackets (rounded fillets) result in a simple yet elegant design. After a three-year period of patent protection, Clarendon was widely copied and became very popular. Several variations of the typeface were generated and are with us still.

By the 1850s Clarendon and its variations were being produced in wood-type in the US by Bill, Stark & Co. and Wells & Webb. It was quickly adopted by all of the wood-type manufacturers and found applications in newspaper headlines and various types of posters including the legendary wanted posters of the old west. Our sample “HORSES” is a 15-line version made by the Hamilton Co.  It is evident that the wood-type version of Clarendon is a much heavier typeface than its metal counterpart. According to the R. R. Kelly classic book on wood-type, the Clarendon wood-type resembled the metal type only after 1850 when the Light Face and Extended styles were introduced. Today we can find the Clarendon typeface in use in many applications including Sony, the National Park Service, and Wells Fargo (all shown below).

sony-logo #2figure-1-hawaii-volcanoes-national-park #2wells-fargo-logo #2

 

 

 

 

 

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Tootsie Scan #2

July 2010: Cooper Black

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

The wood-type for July is called Cooper Black. As one might suspect, it was designed by a gentleman named Cooper, in particular, Oswald Bruce Cooper who designed it in 1921.  It was released as a metal type by the Barnhart Brothers and Spindler Foundry in 1922 just before being acquired by (ATF) American Type Foundry. It is a heavy thick-stroked typeface with rounded serifs. The absence of sharp corners made it very well suited to wood-type. It was quickly adopted by the Hamilton Company and was used for the cover of their Wood-Type Catalog No.18 (See below). Our sample “Tootsie” is a 12-line cut by Hamilton. Cooper Black initially enjoyed about 20 years of popularity in both the metal and wood applications.

In the 1960s Cooper Black was used on album covers for both the Beatles (below) and the Beach Boys, which launched a second wave of popularity for casual or informal use. It was used for TV program titles including M*A*S*H, The Odd Couple, and Different Strokes, as well as lighthearted publications like Archie comics, Garfield, and National Lampoon. Cooper Black has been used for company logos for Easy Jet, Apple Computer (below), Payless Shoes and others. Despite its perceived quirky appearance by some, it has been ATF’s all-time second best-selling typeface. You can find it today on many storefronts and an old standby: the wrapper on your next Tootsie Roll (see below).

1 Ham Cat #18 #2 2 The Beatles #2 3 apple comp #24 tootsie roll #2

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

MURDER Scan #2

June 2010: Art Gothic

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

The wood-type for June is called Art Gothic. It is an unconventional typeface designed in the mid 1880s by Gustav Schroeder. As a young metal engraver in Germany he was approached by two German Americans who convinced him to move to St Louis and work for them at the Central Type Foundry. He had a long and successful career resulting in dozens of metal typeface designs.

When Art Gothic was introduced in 1887 it caused quite a stir, becoming both highly praised and severely criticized simultaneously. Those who praised it won out and Art Gothic became quite popular in its era. It was later copied into wood-type. Our sample “MURDER” is a 10-line version from a wood-type with no manufacturer’s stamp. The design however is very similar to that of Morgans & Wilcox.

In recent years Art Gothic has regained some modest popularity. It was used in the title of the 1980s TV show “Murder, She Wrote” starring Angela Lansbury and also can be found on a poster subtitle (“sail with the tide”) as part of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” attraction in Disneyland, both of which are shown below.

Murder She WroteDisneyland

 

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

MANKIND scan #2May 2010: Futura

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

 

The wood-type for May is called Futura. It is a sans serif typeface designed in the mid 1920s in Germany by Paul Renner. He was an admirer of the Bauhaus movement that advocated functional design simplicity with a complete absence of non-essential elements. Accordingly, Renner’s Futura design achieves a clean elegant simplicity with letter shapes based on the geometric forms of the square, circle and triangle.

Futura made its commercial debut as a metal type in 1927, when it was issued by the Bauer type foundry in Germany. It achieved an early popularity among typographers and was quickly licensed or copied in other countries. Within a decade Hamilton was selling a wood-type version of Futura. Our sample “MANKIND” is a 6-line version made later by the Acme Wood-Type Co.

Over the years Futura has retained its popularity. One notable application was its use on the lunar landing plaque (see below) that was part of the landing craft known as Eagle and later Tranquility Base, used by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin for the first moon landing. Today Futura is used for several corporate names including Red Bull, Domino’s Pizza, Costco and Louis Vuitton.

 

 

Apollo 11 Plaque

 

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

12-8 line Bradley type sample

April 2010: Bradley

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

 

 

The wood-type for April is called Bradley. It was named after William Bradley who is generally regarded as the most prominent American graphics designer of the 1890s. The typeface was based on a medieval black-letter text designed by Bradley in 1894 for a cover of journal called the Inland Printer (see below).

 

 

bradley30Inland Printer Type Sample

 

 

 

The American Type Foundry was sufficiently impressed to license the design from Bradley, and issued the typeface with the Bradley name. The Hamilton Co. later issued the design in wood-type with permission from the ATF.

Other type foundries soon copied this design. It was issued by the Inland Foundry as “St John”, and by the A. D. Farmer & Son Type Founding Co. as “Abbey Text”. Later the Morgans & Wilcox Manufacturing Co. added “Abbey Text” to its wood-type product line. In 1898 this company was sold to the Hamilton Co. and the 1906 Hamilton specimen book shows both typefaces with the Abbey Text version being a bit heavier. We are fortunate to have both versions: “Abbey Text” and “Bradley” wood-types in our collection. Both are shown in the type sample above; reading left to right the 12 line “Bradley” by Hamilton  and then the  8 line “Abbey Text” by Morgans & Wilcox.

In the early 1900s the Firestone Tire Co. chose a version of Abbey Text for its logo (below left). The text, like the tires have gotten thicker over the years (below right).

Firestone 1919-2010

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

WT Scan Germany

March 2010: Duerer

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

 

The wood-type for March is called Duerer (pronounced dyre). It was originally issued as a metal typeface in 1890 by the Boston Type Foundry, and later manufactured as wood-type by the Hamilton Co. The typeface was named after Albrecht Duerer, Germany’s sixteenth century Renaissance artist, art theorist and author who had a geometric approach to letter design. One of his woodcuts is used as a clue in the latest Dan Brown novel “The Lost Symbol”.

According to Nicolette Gray in her book on ornamented typefaces, the Duerer typeface is characterized by almost square spaces within normally curved letters, some diagonal strokes midway up some letters, and strong vertical strokes with modest serifs that are highly inclined on some letters such that they descend below the baseline. All these features can be seen on our 10-line sample “GERMANY” by Hamilton. You can also see the Duerer typeface currently featured in various promotional materials for Del Taco (see example below).

03-10 Del Taco coupon

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Brush Script

 

February 2010: Brush Script

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

 

The wood-type for February is called Brush Script. This type was donated to the museum earlier this year by Mr. Milton Birnbaum, a long-time museum friend. He rescued the type for safekeeping at the closing of his father’s print shop in Florida. After some years, he decided that the museum would be a good home for it and we are most grateful.

The Rob Roy Kelly Wood Type website reports that the brush script dates back to 1859 when it was first shown by J. G. Cooley, a wood-type manufacturer. Script type in general achieved a modest degree of popularity later in the 1800s. The typeface resembles cursive handwriting, as perhaps executed with a brush, but some versions like ours departs from true script since the letters do not connect. Our sample “Type Gift” is an 8-line version manufactured by Page. Sadly, the name they chose for this beautiful type is # 226.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Mikado Wood Type

January 2010: Mikado

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

The wood-type for this month is Mikado and was apparently inspired by Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera of the same name. The show opened in London in March of 1885 and in New York later that same year. According to Nicolete Gray in her classic book on ornamented typefaces, the English foundry of Sir Charles Reed and Son introduced a metal type called “Japanese” also in 1885. She characterized this typeface and other oriental based typefaces as superficial in their foreign influence. Nonetheless it appears that it was later copied by several of the American Wood-type companies. The 1906 Hamilton wood-type specimen catalog shows four versions of this design; one by Hamilton and three by acquired companies. The versions by Wells, and Morgans & Wilcox are called Mikado. The Hamilton and Page versions use model numbers 204 and 156 respectively. It is difficult to determine the specific dates when this particular wood-type was introduced, but the earliest wood-type catalog I could find showing Mikado is the 1888 Page catalog. Our sample “WINTER” is a 15 line unstamped type most similar to the Hamilton version. Incidentally, another English foundry, Miller and Richard introduced a metal typeface in 1887, also named Mikado. That typeface is totally different than the one presented here.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

joyous

December 2009: Gothic No. 5

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

The wood-type for October was Hobo and it featured all curved edges. This month we go in the opposite direction with a wood-type called Gothic No. 5. It features all exterior straight edges, even for the curved letters. Any interior curves edges remain curved. As can be seen in our example “JOYOUS” the corners of the normally curved portions are all angled, and the expected curves are approximated with a series of straight lines. According to wood-type historian Rob Roy Kelly, the use of angled corners was first done in the 1830s by Leavenworth (a wood-type pioneer). The angled corner typeface did not become popular until much later when Page introduced his version (No.173) in 1879. Shortly thereafter it was produced by several manufacturers in several sizes and variations including lightface, condensed, and expanded. Our sample is a 12 line condensed version from an unidentified manufacturer.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

hobotype

October 2009: Hobo

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

The wood-type for October is called Hobo. It was designed in 1910 as a metal typeface by a prolific typeface designer named Morris Fuller Benton, who designed over fifty typefaces during his career. The Hobo typeface was later manufactured in wood-type by the Hamilton Company.  Hobo has two interesting design features. First, all the letters are all composed of curved lines thus eliminating all of those pesky rigid straight lines. Secondly, none of the letters use descenders. Letters that normally have a descender are resized and moved up to fit in the allotted space for a letter with no descender. These features give Hobo a casual look that suggests informal applications such as invitations and advertising for fun events. Our sample “HOBO type” is an 8-line version that shows both upper and lower case to illustrate the design features. In preparation for the 100-year anniversary of Hobo next year, there are a few websites that are soliciting Hobo sightings (photos showing use of Hobo typeface). Check it out on Google.

A wonderful example of HOBO is shown below in the title and cast names of a prominent movie from 1969.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Eureka Woodtype Sample

September 2009: Eureka

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

The wood type selected for September 2009 is called Eureka. This typeface was introduced by Wells & Company in 1877. It featured small split terminations at the ends of the vertical and horizontal strokes much like the divergent strokes on a capital Y. It was thought that to be a variation of a Page design from 1859 known as Antique Tuscan No 9 that had barely discernible split terminations. In addition according to R.R. Kelly, some European type of a similar design was being imported into the US in this time period. Independent of its origin, it was a popular typeface, and was often the basis for even more decorative types. It was soon copied by Page & Company, as was the custom of the day. Our sample “ICED TEA” is a 10-line version of Eureka made by Hamilton after that company acquired both the Wells and Page companies in the early 1990s.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

08-09-WT-Aldine

August 2009: Aldine

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

The wood type of the month for August is called Aldine. It is a derivative of the antique type style but it includes the bracketed serifs of the Clarendon style. This means that the junction of the serif and a stroke has a rounded fillet that provides a smoother transition instead of an abrupt 90-degree angle. According to R. R. Kelly, the Aldine wood-type was first introduced by William H. Page in 1870, and was widely used for posters for the next 30 years. Ultimately the Aldine typeface was cast in metal for other applications. Our RUSTIC sample is a 10-line wood-type manufactured by the Hamilton Co.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

07-09-Painters'-Roman

July 2009: Painters Roman

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

The wood type for July is called Painters Roman. Like June’s Aetna, this type was also produced as a sturdier replacement for the somewhat fragile thin strokes of the Roman wood-type. As such it was in competition with Aetna. Painters Roman is concave lettering made up of thick and thin strokes like its Roman predecessor, but the thin strokes are a little thicker and the thin serifs are totally eliminated.

It was first produced by Vanderburgh and Wells in the late 1870s with the formal name of Painters Roman Condensed No. 2. In 1880, the Wm. Page Wood Type Co. issued a very similar typeface called Page No. 111. Wells followed this by issuing Painters Roman Condensed No. 1 which was very similar to Page’s Aetna condensed. This continued, resulting in a range of variations for both typefaces produced by both companies.

Our sample is in the Wells 5 line variety of Painters Roman Condensed No. 2.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

06-09-Aetna

June 2009: Aetna

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

Our wood type for June is known as Aetna. This type is derived from the Roman typeface, one of the three major categories of wood type. As we recall, the Roman typeface consists of very thin and very thick strokes. According to R. R. Kelly, Roman type was losing popularity with printers because of a perceived fragility, particularly of the thin strokes. The Aetna typeface was designed to remedy this problem and therefore was born out of need rather than copied from metal type as were so many other wood typefaces. Aetna features thicker thin strokes as well as thicker serifs. It first appeared in 1870, offered by Wm. H. Page. It remained a popular typeface for poster work for the rest of the 1800′s. It is likely that Mr. Page named the type after the thriving insurance company founded in 1850 in a neighboring community. He had named other typefaces after local sites and people. Our sample for June is a 10 line Aetna with the word chosen to feature some of the more distinctive letters of this typeface.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Antique type

May 2009: Aetna

By Jim Thompson, IPM Board of Trustees

Our third major wood-type category, once again according to Rob Roy Kelly, is Antique. It is characterized by the presence of slab serifs, which are nearly equal in width to the major strokes of the letter A.  The serifs are unbracketed which means that the serifs attach to the strokes with an abrupt right angle transition (without any triangular or curved fillets in the corners).

This typeface first appeared in metal type in 1815 in Figgins’ Type Foundry in England. Wood-type Antique was first produced in 1828 in the U.S. by Darius Wells when he began mass-producing wood-type. As the industry matured two parallel developments occurred. Several variations in Antique type style were created such as italics, tilting, outline, shaded, light face, condensed, and expanded type to various degrees. In addition, several derivative typefaces of Antique came to be created, including Clarendon, Antique Tuscan, Grecian, Latin, French Clarendon, Egyptian, Aldine, Columbia, and Ionic. Today Antique typeface is used in the names of companies seeking the trust of their customers. These include many banks, investment houses, and insurance companies. Our sample is a 10 line wood-type from an as-yet-unknown manufacturer.

    2 Responses to “Wood Type”

    1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Clare Carpenter, KeeganMeegan & Co.. KeeganMeegan & Co. said: great articles on wood type faces http://www.printmuseum.org/museum/wood-type-2/ [...]

    2. [...] the ACME Wood Type & Manufacturing Co in the spring of 2010 through email correspondence with Jim Thompson of the International Printing Museum in California. The museum houses a range of Gothic faces, in [...]