Wood Type

De Vinne

Wood Type - De Vinne | International Printing Museumby 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.