Wood Type


12-8-line-Bradley-type-sample-300x93by 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).

bradley30-150x150 Inland-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).