Typo: A Monthly Newspaper and Literary Review, Volume 6
Readers of Typo are familiar with the name of the Actien-Gesellschaft für Schrift-giesserei und Maschinenbau, the enterprising company that carries on the business formerly conducted by Messrs J. M. Huck & Co., Offenbach on the Main. Scarcely a month passes without bringing us specimen-sheets from this establishment, and some of their designs have attained deserved popularity. We are able this month to show their series of Verzierte Keilschrift, an appropriately-named letter. Keil-schrift may be translated Wedge-face or Quoin-type; and the ingenious designer may claim to have introduced a new feature in fancy type, and one which will hear examination. In slightly widening the lower part of the body-marks, he has adopted a principle generally recognized in art, and which so far has affected the forms of letters in one way only—that is to say, the lower portions of such theoretically symmetrical forms as 0, S, X, Z, and 8, are invariably made larger than the upper portion, otherwise the letter would seem top-heavy. So far as we know, this principle has never been extended to the capital I, though it holds good equally well in the case of vertical forms, as the architectural column, or its magnificent prototype, the straight shaft of a tall forest tree. The following scheme of the font will show how this principle is for the first time carried out in detail in ornamental type. What we particularly admire in this graceful style, is its moderation. Its characteristic feature is not treated with the exaggeration which would almost certainly have been its fate had the letter originated in the United States. The artist knew just how far to go, and has given the world a beautiful letter, when a slight excess of its distinguishing feature would have resulted in an ugly one. The sizes range from 12· to 72·.
The figures are slightly smaller than the caps, and the & is the size of the lowercase characters. We think that the series would be improved by the addition of duplicate forms of B, D, P, and R, un-kerned, for lines of caps. At present, a hair-space is required before these letters except when A precedes, The specimen-line « Made in Germany » will illustrate our meaning. We naturally went for German spaces to justify the lines, but found that the types were cast to English point system. The principal German houses now find it worth while to cast on special bodies for the English market.
The 16· (Didot) is on 18· English; the larger sizes are cast to English instead of German picas, the few descending letters being kerned to the extent of one-twelfth of the body. For English customers the German accents are omitted, and the £ (a peculiar form) included.
The same house sends us a whole aviary of Swallows, on German bodies. Some of these beautiful birds of passage are at the head of this article, the remainder we show above. There are 22 characters in the font, which is made up in sets of 33 and 56 pieces.
From the old-established foundry of Flinsch, Frankfurt (whose large book we acknowledged in a former volume), we have a copy of their nineteenth specimen-book, dated 1892. It opens with beautifully-cut faces of German, plain and ornamental, followed by sanserif, ornamental styles, and scripts. After several pages of vignettes, mortised for type, &c., we come to a smaller page, occupied by two very artistic series of vignettes. A page in several tints, shows new corners and two-color borders. Miscellaneous borders in great variety follow, succeeded by numerous headpieces and art ornaments, and the whole is closed by a sheet of grotesque carnival-vignettes. Among the many original job-faces in this book, we would specially note the Modern Midolline, the Germania Gothic, and the Narrow Mediæval Clarendon. Some of the original scripts are also admirable examples of the punch-cutter's art.