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Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 3

Recent Specimens

page 61

It is our object, in this department, to critically note every new and original design in types, borders, combination ornaments, and initials. Without specimens, however, such an article is little more than a catalogue of names. New faces can only be described by comparison with previously-existing patterns—it being impossible to convey by description an idea of the essential characteristic of any given design, that being precisely the quality in which it differs from all others. Type-founders are invited to send us specimen letters or lines of original faces, which can be readily and cheaply done by parcel post. (Types from the continent of Europe should be to English height.) We insert such free, finding our recompense in the additional interest this column would possess to our readers. Many of the beautiful styles we describe from month to month would be irresistible to colonial buyers if once seen, and those we criticise unfavorably might commend themselves strongly to printers whose tastes differ from our own.

Recent Specimens.

From Messrs Marder, Luse, & Co., of Chicago Foundry, we have a copy of their quarto abridged Specimen Book, containing a classified price-list of materials, and a large selection of plain and ornamental types, all manufactured by the firm. The specimens begin with body-founts, modern and old-style, followed by extended, condensed, and heavy romans latins, &c. There is a great variety of ornamental styles, but nearly all have been noted in our pages. « Spinner » script is new—a backslope, thickened at the bottom—a legible and durable face, in five sizes. Several more styles of the « Contour » or outline founts are shown. They appear to correspond in face with solid letters produced by the same house; but this is not stated. The latest novelty (loose specimen enclosed in the book) is a beautiful ornamented eccentric with lower-case in three sizes, entitled « Heidelberg. »

Messrs James Conner's Sons show « Wayside, » a French old-style titling, into which a new eccentricity is introduced—most of the vowels being in a small lower-case ( « Cosmopolitan » ) cast near the top of the letter. OuR ReaDeRS WiLL aGRee WiTH uS THaT THiS iS a BaRBaRouS NoTioN. The word-ornaments, in the larger sizes especially, are monstrously out of proportion, being much larger and heavier than the letters. « Volunteer, » in four sizes, is strikingly like the « Rococo » of the Central Typefoundry. By a curious whim, in the smallest size only, the M is cast backwards, the thick and thin lines being reversed. « Pilgrim, » caps only, is a heavy-faced ornamental, modelled generally on the forms of the caps of the « Harper » series. Two sizes are shown of a very neat and quaintly shaped sanserif called « Goth » —other sizes in preparation. This letter should become a favorite. A third series of « Utility » ornaments (28 characters) has the same faults as most of the original ornaments of this house. There is a thickness and heaviness in the lines which is not pleasing, and the artist fills his space too full, so much so that in nearly every piece the rectangular form of the type on which it is cast is painfully apparent. « Dotlet » ornaments (three series) are similar to Marder Luse & Co's « nicnacs, » especially the second series, but the idea is extended. They consist of squares, triangles, &c., cast on the centre of the em, for regular repetition. Series one and three are the same figures in outline. Altogether 57 characters. The « Snowflake » border (12-point) is on the same principle. There are 8 characters, in silhouette, six-pointed, like snow-crystals.

Barnhart Bros. & Spindler show « Spencer, » an irregular expanded, caps only, roughly cut, and with the defects of the old-style in an exaggerated form.

The Lindsay Typefoundry, New York, show five sizes of « Katherine, » a very light latin, somewhat « cranky » in some of the sorts, particularly M, N, and W.

The Keystone Foundry, Philadelphia, show « Keystone Pen Writer, » a quaint upright Italian style, in four sizes, 9- to 24-point; suitable for circulars.

The Union Typefoundry, Chicago, send us a neat little book showing « famous faces, » most of which we have already described. The « Aztec, » a decidedly original style, which does not commend itself to us, has now a lower-case added. « Atlantic » is a sausage-shaped style with lower-case, somewhat resembling the « Dado » shown on page 60 of this issue. « Ridgewood » and « Omaha » are founts with lower-case, belonging to the same class as Conner's « Cosmopolitan. » « Walker » ornaments, 14 characters, are variations on a treble-fine irregularly-waved rule, including end-, corner-, and centre-pieces. « Turner » ornaments, 15 characters, heavy and light, are uniformly flat on one side, « for dashes and underscores.

The Cincinnati Foundry shows seven sizes of « Old-style Antique, » a clean-cut and bold latin, caps only. Also, further developments of their specialty, nonpareil running borders, several « bands » of which, showing various styles in combination, have a very pretty effect.

Messrs Gould & Reeves, London, send us half-a-dozen large specimen-sheets of their wooden letters. This firm supplies any modern face in wood, any size required, at moderate rates.

Messrs Schelter & Giesecke show in eight sizes a very thin heavy-faced elongated skeleton antique. The serifs are perfectly square-angled, and the style is a reversion to a plain face in favor before the introduction of the modern latins and latin antiques.

The well-known house of Woellmer, Berlin, has brought out, in six sizes, a new bold ornamental italic, of original design. Its general effect is very good, and the ornamentation of the caps is graceful and in good taste.

Messrs Lespinasse & Ollière send us specimens of the complete series of their beautifully-cut « Initiales Vieux Style Penchées » (already noted in Typo), and the body-founts to correspond, from 72-point to 6-point.