Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 3
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. Typefounders 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.
Anticipating their regular Circular, Messrs Caslon & Co. have sent us a four-page specimen, beautifully printed in colors, of their combination border No. 17 (175 characters). This is identical with the « Roman » border of Otto Weisert, described below, and is capable of fine effects. As the number of characters is very great, Messrs Caslon have divided it into four sections for the convenience of buyers. We have also from the same house a large roll of specimens. A double sheet contains 35 head-pieces and other book-vignettes, all from old models, varying greatly in style. Some of these are very pretty indeed. With most of the types, the Circular has made us familiar. In Series 11 of Line Ornaments, we note that Weisert's good example has been followed, and a corner (numbered 18a) has been added to match No. 18
From the old treasures of the foundry they have brought out some of the dear « old-fashioned borders » dating probably from the time of the first Caslon. These have a special charm to our eyes—as we knew them in the old specimen-book which is associated with our earliest recollections. Messrs Caslon also send us a beautiful card, in five workings, exhibiting the « Roman » border.
Messrs Baber and Rawlings send us specimens of some novelties by Charles Reed & Sons. « Genevan » is a hybrid style with lowercase, in three sizes. It is neither roman nor old english. « Mediæval Antique » is a useful heavy-faced old-style. We note a second series of the « Artistic » ornaments—21 characters. Five are juvenile subjects; the others are chiefly sea, river, and mountain scenery. They are really charming little vignettes. Two of the smallest—16 and 31—representing respectively a wild duck and a kingfisher, are very lifelike, and are worthy of special note. We prefer this set to any of the American vignettes. « Art Designs, » 29 characters, are pretty, but not so generally available. They include pierced blocks, corners and centres, with conventionalized vases and foliage, and the same designs are repeated with slight modifications.
« Athenian » is the name of a new and original style by Stephenson, Blake, & Co.—a very light latin, caps only, the serifs so small that the fount looks at first sight like a sanserif. It is in three sizes, each with small caps—making it practically six. It is sharply-cut and well-balanced, and the word-ornaments with which it is furnished are graceful, and properly subordinated.
Messrs Müller & Hölemann, Dresden, whose names have already appeared in this column, have sent us a beautifully-printed large octavo specimen-book of over 150 pages. Each page is enclosed in a red double-rule border, with ornamental corners. As regards type-founding excellence, the Saxon capital will compare with any of the German cities. There is a fine selection of body-founts in the four classes of German, Schwabacher, and Modern and Old-style Roman, and the usual great variety of heavy-faced titlings in all these styles. In fact the strong point of the book is in its plain faces. There are also beautiful scripts and rondes, and several sizes of the new fashionable « Kanzlei » initials—a revival of a very antiquated style. A large poster border of black devils clinging, monkey-fashion, to each others' tails, is decidedly original, but in very bad taste. In contrast to this, we have to note the beautiful « Draperie » combination, referred to by us only last month as a curtain design, adorning the British Printer. This beautiful series—which was originated by Messrs M. & H., and is in fact the only combination in the book before us—far exceeds in grace and delicacy any previous attempt of the kind, and we anticipate for it a world-wide popularity. It contains 49 characters, varying from half-nonpareil to a pair of large corners about eleven by four ems pica. It is capable of great variety, nineteen different borders being shown in the specimen-sheet, without counting the large designs made by combining three and four. No other curtain or drapery combination can like this be doubled or trebled to make a wide border. We would like to see the « large specimen-sheet in six colors » referred to. In an enclosed card, the border is beautifully displayed in five. The smallest complete fount weighs about sixteen pounds.
Herr Otto Weisert, Stuttgart, has sent us a pretty little octavo volume, showing a few choice selections from his great variety of types and borders; also a richly-printed card in four colors, displaying the « Roman » border, and a two-color fount. Among the original designs we note the « German Shield » border, 54 characters. We think we have met with some reference to this combination years ago, but it is new to us. In general design it bears some resemblance to Bruce's combination (No. 58); but is more comprehensive, much larger, bolder, and coarser in design and execution, yet withal exceedingly artistic and effective. There is not a weak line or curve in the whole design, which is in the best mediæval style. The « Roman » border, a silhouette combination, in five sections, containing altogether 202 characters, is one of the best of its class. The small border surrounding Hr. Weisert's little advertisement in recent issues of Typo, and the vase and flower at the side, belong to this series. A series of « Spitzen » or pointed borders, 37 characters, is also shown, harmonizing beautifully with the « Roman. » « Roman Ornaments » (124 characters), consist of classic figures, loops, festoons, fabulous beasts, &c., and are in a style peculiar to this house—neither silhouette, outline, nor shaded, but in a half-tone, produced by parallel horizontal white lines. This idea is extensively carried out by Hr. Weisert in his ornamental head-pieces, initials, and vignettes, in which the half-tone produces a three-color effect in one working, very tasteful and characteristic. The « Roman » ornaments should only be handled by an artist. The average comp's handiwork with material like this would be appropriate only to a « Representation of Chaos. » A new « Gothic » border, 89 characters, is characterized by the striking and beautiful effects in black, white, and half-tint, already noted, and there is also a handsome border (22 characters), for tri-color work. A series of 33 new tailpieces is very attractive. We expect to be able to show some of Hr. Weisert's novelties in a supplement at an early date.
« Building Blocks » is the name of a new style of wood combination, specially devised for posters, by Mr E. Huggins, block-cutter, Leeds. In the specimen before us, twelve characters are shown—bricks, &c., by which a whole house-front may be set up. Founts of letters to correspond are supplied. The design may be had in many sizes, and is capable of good effects.
The Central Foundry shows « Quaint Gothic, » a heavy distorted sans, with a marked distinction between the thick and thin lines. There is a novel effect in this style which many printers will like, but the M and N are inelegantly sprawled, and the cross-lines of the E and H are much too high up.
The sacredness of the mails has been developed almost into a superstition in the colonies, and we are glad to see signs that, as in America, it is now becoming recognized that the mail was made for the people. The postal authorities of Melbourne have seized between two and three thousand copies of an infamous Sydney publication which it is unnecessary to name, and the Customs authorities have been instructed to prohibit its introduction across the border.—In the New Zealand parliament, Mr Newman has moved to have the correspondence addressed to Australian « sweep » swindlers intercepted.page 104