Wood Type


Antique-type-300x65by 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.